Sustenance Paste: An Experiment with Liquid Food Replacement

A solid two thirds of my week is spent trading time for money or sleeping, or some combination of both. The last third is all that’s left to satisfy all other human needs, including my desire to work on personal projects. As a result I sometimes do silly things in the name of saving time.

bicycle desk

Exercising body and mind having completely forgotten about dinner burning in the oven.

So when a product comes along promising to reduce the time and money I spend doing frivolous things like feeding myself, it catches my attention.

Soylent is a nutritional drink, intended to cover all adult human nutritional requirements so that it may serve as the main source of food. The startup company making it raised $3.5 million in crowdfunding in 2013, and they started shipping Soylent last year. The product has three primary claims to fame:

*Time Saved – The creator of Soylent specifically said it was designed because of the time savings involved. He felt that shopping for and preparing meals was a waste of time. Since Soylent is delivered directly to your house as a powder that is ready to consume with the addition of water and oil, no one is arguing against this point. Soylent will save you time.

*Nutrition – The other big claim is that Soylent meals are balanced and can provide all of the essential nutrients required to fuel the human body. This is also a huge benefit for me because there are times when I eat a meal that I immediately regret as soon as the flavor leaves my mouth. I have to imagine that an engineered carefully measured nutrient balanced substance would fulfill my bodily needs much better than anything I can get delivered to my door in 20 minutes or less.

pass the ranch

*Money Saved – Surviving off of name brand Soylent will run you $10 per day if you buy the huge packages. Not bad, but to be fair you can live off much less than that if you are willing to cook. $50 worth of ramen and rice would sustain you for a few months if you had to. (If you really want to ‘go there’, a 50 lb bag of flour is only $12.)

*Portability –This feature is not being touted by Soylent, but I think it has been underplayed. Soylent would be great for camping or as a backup meal because it is non-perishable in its powdered form (when stored correctly) and preparation only requires the addition of water & oil. Thinking about it now I can’t imagine it would be difficult to make a Soylent bar, the homogeneous brick equivalent of an MRE.

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Of course foodies hate this stuff (my wife included). They can’t stand the idea of replacing their livelihood and passion with a nutrient rich paste. She says eating this shit is akin to trading fine wine for everclear because it gets the job done more efficiently. I can relate to that to some extent. Sometimes I enjoy cooking and sometimes only a hot meal will reinvigorate me. But I was still interested enough to want to give it a try.

Turns out there’s a 4-5 month wait to get some. Not to worry though, a website called DIYsoylent has a collection of user submitted recipes for creating the stuff at home. I liked the price & simplicity of the ‘Walmart only’ recipe , so I went out and picked some up at Kroger. Note that I went with chewable vitamins to be eaten separately because I didn’t want to find myself crushing up multi-vitamins with a razor on a mirror.

IMG_1108

Diy Sustenance Paste: Only $0.59 a meal!

The result:

IMG_1112

I feel like Oliver Twist staring down a bowl of gruel.

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Conclusion:

It’s actually not bad, it’s just not good either. The mixture is mostly corn flour and water, so it doesn’t have any strong flavors. It’s bland and a little gritty from the flaxseed meal. A little agave to sweeten it makes it better. It’s similar in texture to a normal protein shake. In fact, I bet a little milk would make it better.

Replacing 100% of food with this? I suppose you could but I really wouldn’t want to because I’d miss actually eating too much. I plan to primarily consume this after workouts but I’ll probably have it for lunch at work a few times and have it at home when I’m busy.

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Final note: Million dollar idea for you right here. Put some Soylent in a sealed container and attached it to one of those beer hats. Then pipe it directly into your throat and set a peristaltic pump to slowly feed you throughout the day. Now you can forget about your silly human needs altogether and get back to work! For that matter, why not hook yourself up to a catheter so you don’t have to waste time peeing either?

beer can hat

Actually…don’t do that.

Update 7-26-15: I got realllllly sick of this stuff and had to throw most of it away. You’re better off just keeping the protein powder and having healthy shakes for breakfast.

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4 comments

  1. Nothing, I repeat nothing, can replace home cooked food! Food is for savoring and enjoying, not to be gulped down! It is more enjoyable when cooked by yourself or by your loved ones!

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