Sunday, March 22, 2015

Unscientific Soylent Test

I'm not a fan of the name, but I cannot knock
them on professional packaging.
Over spring break I decided to give Soylent a try. If you haven't heard of it check out this link to learn more. My original plan was to give it a solid scientific method-ing (could I be the first person to use "scientific method" as a verb?), but either because I'm busy, lazy, or a realist I opted for a simple approach.

Almost six months ago I ordered a week supply of Soylent. Version 1.4 is what arrived; which is nice because they ditched the little bottle of fish oil. Only powder from here on out. For the first batch I followed the instructions to the letter. Pour a whole package in the container they sent, added some water, shake the hell out of it, then added more water. By the second round of shaking I knew future batches were going in the blender. When I opened the bottle to check consistency it smelled horrible. Absolutely horrible. Had I wasted my money?

It is supposed to be refrigerated for at least two hours, but I let it sit over night. The most surprising thing, the next morningit had no smell. Maybe a faint difficult to describe "Soylent" smell, but not repulsive like before. It didn't have any taste, although a lifetime of spicy food brings my taste buds discernibility into question. I had heard people say it had a chalky texture--they're right. Imagine blending up sticks of sidewalk calk with water. A fine grit suspended in liquid.

I started using it regularly on Sunday and by Wednesday had figured out a pattern that didn't exclude real food. I make up half a bag with two bananas and an apple (estimate 1300 calories). Drink that through the day, then have a normal dinner. The drink is filling, some days I didn't eat much.

There is a chart of different additives I tried and short opinion of each. I've weighted myself at irregular intervals (see how unscientific this is going) and couldn't detect any significant gain or loss--less than 4 pounds difference. I can only guess my caloric intake and burn is unchanged. The only difference is I don't "eat" a lunch. Presumably this is healthy too.

Speaking of healthy, I had to admit the first few cups of Soylent were strange. One time I had a tightness in my chest and noticeable increase in heart beat. Another time I felt a little dizzy. I cannot say with absolute certainty these were caused by Soylent because I've felt these symptoms before. On the other hand they happened right after consumption. By the third day I felt great. My theory (or hope) is my body in shock from having healthy food for a change. My regular diet has an embarrassing Oreo ratio.

The downside to Soylent is I have a number of friends that like to cook and give me flack for my culinary laziness. Honestly, I kind of enjoy cooking the rare occasion I do it. I could potentially pursue that as a hobby if the world wasn't full of so many cool things to do. Soylent is a way to give me time to focus on other hobbies. Breakfast and lunch this week has been no more complicated than getting another cup of coffee. I lose about 10 minutes every evening making a new batch and washing the blender.

Soylent fills a need in the market for fast healthy food. Subway used to fill that spot, but they give so many options now healthy becomes opt-in. The worst part is I came up with a similar idea a long time ago (to be fair Futurama played a big role in that idea). The only difference is mine was more like cereal, and it had to taste good with water, milk, or beer.

Short list of things I tried to flavor Soylent with an opinion:

  • Two bananas per 1/3 of bag: very banana-y
  • Banana, apple, six frozen strawberries per 1/2 bag: not bad
  • Banana, apple, lots of frozen strawberries per 1/2 bag: not so good.
  • Two bananas, an apple per 1/2 bag: pretty awesome, apple adds a little texture
  • One banana, and two apples per 1/2 bag: too much texture
  • Two bananas, a pealed apple per 1/2 bag: not worth the effort
  • Four double stuffed Oreos per 1/6 bag: expectations where high but not bad (had to be tried--ridiculous amount of calories for the volume)