Soylent, my experience

More than a year ago, I discovered Soylent through the founder’s blog where he was sharing his progress in looking for a recipe for a complete meal replacement drink.

Soylent is basically a mash up of all the nutrients your body supposedly needs in a day.

Benefits

I am attracted to the concept of being confident that I am giving my body the nutrients it needs throughout the day, and rather than hoping that the food I eat has enough of everything, I believe I can achieve a superior result by measuring my intake.

Some people are attracted to Soylent because it is generally cheaper than normal food (a DIY recipe could be as cheap as $5 a day), and some are attracted to it because it saves them time (2 minutes preparation if you use the official Soylent product or 10 minutes for a DIY version).

For me, I am attracted to the health benefits. The fact it is cheap and quick to make removes resistance to do it.

Also, I don’t want to replace all my meals with Soylent so I took a hybrid approach: breakfasts and lunches are replaced with Soylent and dinners stay “normal”. I have been doing that for a few months now and I am ready to reorder a new batch of ingredients.

Soylent in Australia

Unfortunately I cannot buy Soylent easily from Australia, they still don’t deliver it down under so I started looking for alternatives. There is an online community of people who share recipes of Soylent alternatives using local ingredients: DIY Soylent. After some browsing, I found a recipe that suited my needs: Australian Soylent 1.0. (I found the recipe too sweet for my taste so I reduced the sugar)

I bought the ingredients online (three different shops) and 3 days later I had the ingredients I needed.

Ingredients used for DIY Soylent

It takes me 10 minutes in the morning to prepare my day worth of drinks.

The final product:

DIY Soylent in Australia

Results

How does it taste? For me it taste a bit like cake dough before baking it. I added cocoa and banana to vary the taste a bit.

How do I feel during a Soylent day? I don’t feel any different than other days. I don’t feel more alert like other people reported. I feel full until about 4pm. I have a fast metabolism and I generally am hungry at 10:30am.

How about bowels problems? People have reported having diarrhoea or smelly farts with Soylent. I don’t personally experience any major changes with this australian recipe.

Headaches: For a time, I bumped up the level of proteins to 180g a day but it was giving me headaches. Keeping it at 100g like in the recipe solved that problem.

Colorful urine: this is due to the excess vitamins from the multi-vitamins pills. Not really a problem but I decided to only take one of these pills instead of two.

Overall, I really enjoy having discovered Soylent and a way to have it here in Australia, I need to find more ways to vary the taste.

 

UPDATE: Make sure to read Marc’s comment too. Very insightful!

  • Marc

    I was really really astonished to see that “trend” going up only now –

    I am doing milk+oat shakes for years already, and for good reason. We have instant oatmeal here (dissolves completely in any liquid just by stirring it in) and when out hiking I always take milkpowder, instant oats and a few other ingredients with me. That I can put in.

    There are even emergency and disaster bars out there (F-100 milk) that are used for catastrophes, but also sold freely. They consist of milkpowder, all necessary vitamins and minerals and nutrients. The 500 grams pack has 2.700 kcal. You just put the bar in water, dissolve it and you get a very nice tasting milk.

    In medicine you get something that’s called “astronaut meals” – they’re just liquid meals with all nutrients, protein and nutrient drinks and stuff for almost 40 years. And our dietary doctors prescribe something that’s called “liver fasting” for overweight people, to replace one or two meals. That’s basically milk and oatmeal powder and a vitamin pill (but for EUR 45.- per can … silly thing).

    As for the farts: people, who have lactose intolerance will fart with milk and milkpowder – try goat milk instead. It’s healthier anyway than cow’s milk (but also a little more expensive). People who are on the border to getting diabetes, are serious overweight or often eat junk food, can get flatulence when eating raw grains sometimes. Same for people who have poor digestion.

    When you need some extra calories, take fat and not carbohydrates. Fat does not make you fat (that’s a myth, so they can feed you on sugar in ton weight – and that MAKES you fat). When you need more calories because it’s cold or you are working hard, take fat instead. I add a little butter and crushed nuts (high protein, high fat, no sugar) to my shakes then (e.g. when hiking). You can even get it as butter powder in outdoor stores. But don’t overdo with grains and carbohydrates then. And the more carbohydrates you have in, the earlier you’ll get hungry again. Oatmeal however, is okay because it digests very slowly (other than modern wheat and other grains).

    And don’t overdo with nutrients – milk, oatmeal and crushed nuts contains already most everything you need (apart from green leaves). Keep it simple – your body will appreciate that (I can tell you that from long years). And if you feeling like you should have more greens, just put some to the mixture in a smoothie blender (broccolie is good, but all leafy vegetables as well).

    That mixture is a good, quick and very healthy replacement of complicated diets, and you can control your intake much easier than with diets. However I would not recommend someone (apart from people with no teeth left 🙂 ) to only “eat liquid”. For your body it’s very important, to chew on something every day (that stimulates digestion) and besides your drinks you need enough water (still at least 1.5 – 2 liters).

    Just try slowly, how much your body demands – and don’t believe in any figures. Quite a lot of them (even if they are medically “approved” are pure bullshit). You can get along with 1.800 calories a day quite fine, believing in numbers instead of your own feeling can result in being unhealthy. You won’t starve – no fear.

    That’s also why ingredients should kept few – so your body (via your tongue) can analyze what’s in and what he gets – and demand for that what he don’t has yet. You don’t need a professor with a calculator, you just need to listen to your body. That was enough for at least 2 million years – so what? 🙂

    • Marc, that is an awesome comment. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us.

      I will look at the milk+oatmeal+nuts combo. Do you make any attempt to vary the taste? I have tried oatmeal in the past and I am not a big fan so I need to enhance the taste a bit.

      Any suggestion?

      • Marc

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      • Marc

        yep, oatmeal tastes a lot like oatmeaI… 🙂 and oatmeal in milk tastes a lot like porridge (or wallpaperpaste, how you look at it 🙂 )

        I sometimes add some vanilla sugar, which I like a lot indeed – but that’s, as far as I know, a little bit hard to get in the US (although some workaround is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanilla_sugar)… a bit of cinnamon helps, too tastes a little like Christmas then 🙂 – Indians say cinnamon makes calm and happy and balanced (not so wrong indeed)… but you only need very few of it, cinnamon powder tastes quite strong… both cover the oatmeal taste quite well and make it somehow “invisible”…. a little bit of cocoa (the instant one) can help, too…

        If you are into Indian tastes you could try to use ayurvedic spice combinations…. Spiced milk, (sometimes even with grains) is a very old (at least some 3.000 – 5.000 years old) ayurvedic balancing and healing tool… different spices have different effects, also on your mood and wellbeing and to prevent certain diseases… age-old ayurvedic medicine is astonishingly modern and very detailed also with nutrition… I am in TCM (traditional chinese) for quite some years, but my “colleagues” of Ayurveda-med have very often surprising results … and often surprisingly simple prescriptions 🙂 … I am going to finish a book on a very simple ayurveda-based nutritional health scheme by end of this year – very, very cleverly structured indeed… 🙂 🙂
        as for the spices, you’ll find the basic ones here: http://www.beyondacupuncture.us/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=15&Itemid=28 together with their effects… you can combine them as you like, just small amounts of each… don’t be afraid to put a pinch of pepper into your milk – helps your body digest it and make nutrients better bio-available… and it don’t taste as weird as it sounds 🙂 … natural honey is also very much appreciated in ayurveda (can even seal and heal purulent wounds by simply putting it on them and is beneficial internally a lot) and ghee (clarified butter). Spiced milk tends to be warmed in Eastern countries, but room temperature or a little cool works just as well… as oatmeal is generally warming, and most nuts, too, you won’t need so much “stomach fire” to digest it… by the way, when it comes to “constitution” in ayurveda, just from the (earlier) pic and the way you write I would estimate that you’re quite likely a well balanced vata-pitta-type – creative but strong and persevering – and thus quite unproblematic for most combinations 🙂

        Some more options when you use one of these blenders or smoothie makers (you only have to read in the product comments if it tends to overheat the contents in it – cause then a lot of nutritional value might be gone already). Bananas can work quite well for the taste, berries, too… other fruits are not so good combinations with milk generally… as well as there applies the (very wise) “rule-of-three”: more than three ingredients (apart from spices) make it difficult for your body to recognize what’s in and thus slowing digestion and making it incomplete, and producing thus too much waste in your body…. so adviseable to use spices or flavours instead of more ingredients 🙂 …

        by the way, there’s another argument for soylents: generally Eastern medicine advises not to have any solid food after about 13:30 … but only liquid food (i.e. milk). That will be beneficial for body’s internal repair system and for the mind. 🙂 Most buddhist monks stick to that rule (“no eating solid foods after midday”) for thousands of years already, cause it proofs to work for them… soylent can be the thing to keep you going in the afternoon without feeling too much hungry… 🙂

        Hope I could help a little, and also help your tastebuds to drive around that oatmeal taste 🙂

  • Greg Malone

    Thanks for the info, Aymeric. I haven’t tried actual Soylent yet (I’m in U.S. so can get it), but will soon. The alternative DIY recipe looks easy to to do — but where is the “people” ingredient?! 🙂 If it occurs to you, post another update in a few months. I’ve been interested in hearing long term experiences. Of course, your hybrid approach (breakfast, lunch) solves lots of psychological issues centered around missing traditional ‘real food’.

    • Regarding the “people” ingredient: my breakfasts and lunches are often solitary for me 🙂

      > If it occurs to you, post another update in a few months

      I have been drinking it on and off for 3 to 4 months now. I think the hybrid approach solves a lot of the issues people have with Soylent (what if Soylent doesn’t have all nutrients? don’t you miss normal food? Won’t your digestive system get all messed up?)

  • EtienneJ

    Interesting. Thx.