December 19, 2017

Soylent, Three Years Later

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For the past three years, I’ve replaced most of my meals with Soylent.

Three years is a great time to reflect on the state of Soylent — the com­pany and the mis­sion, as well as what Soy­lent has been like for me.

The Soylent Dream

Before I fell in love with Soy­lent, I fell in love with the idea of Soylent. The idea that we have the under­stand­ing and the tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate the per­fect food for our­selves. Food that is nutri­tionally per­fect (most of what we eat are not). Food that is efficient — effi­cient to man­u­fac­ture and effi­cient to transport.

Instead of ship­ping around per­ish­able solids, we can ship pow­der. Then, by just adding clean water, peo­ple can make the nutri­tion­ally perfect meal.

Moving Away from Powder

Rob Rhine­hart, who cre­ated Soy­lent and cham­pi­oned the idea of Pow­der, now stocks dozens of bot­tles of Soy­lent in his home and drinks them full-time.

The idea of ship­ping liq­uids around the coun­try is ridicu­lously inef­fi­cient. In fact, it’s anti­thet­i­cal to the Soylent Dream.

Sad­ly, that Dream has been put on hold. The com­pa­ny’s focus is now on snack­ing, which is where the con­sumer demand and the prof­its are. I don’t blame them. After all, Soy­lent is a profit-seeking company.

That means Pow­der is now neglect­ed, while Drinks are con­stantly being improved upon. My last Pow­der expe­ri­ence was ver­sion 1.5, which tasted dis­gust­ing and some­times caused indi­ges­tion. It was bad, and like Rhine­hart, I’ve moved away from Powder.

The Daily Experience

When I last wrote about Soylent, I had a very pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence. That is still the same.

Soy­lent fits per­fectly into my daily life. I’m going to uni­ver­sity and I also have a job. That means I’m either at work or in class. With Soy­lent, I can have lunch any­where with­out dis­rupt­ing whatever task I’m doing at the time.

My friends and co-­work­ers often see me with Soy­lent and I usu­ally get asked the same questions.

What does it taste like? Does it taste good? Do you actu­ally get full? Why don’t you like real food?

These are great ques­tions, and I’ll answer them here as well.

What does it taste like? Does it taste good?

My go-to answer for is that Soy­lent tastes like cereal milk, but thicker in tex­ture and not sweet.

Does it taste good? It’s dif­fi­cult to answer this one, not just because taste is sub­jec­tive, but because Soy­lent isn’t meant to be savored or tast­ed. Soy­lent is sup­posed to be a neu­tral sus­tenance; one that you can drink every day with­out tir­ing. It tastes pretty neu­tral and I don’t actively think about the taste when I drink. I just drink. Like how I drink water.

Do you actually get full?

Soy­lent does­n’t actu­ally get me full. Instead, it gets me to this in-­be­tween state, which is even bet­ter. When you think about it, get­ting full isn’t a good thing. It’s your body say­ing, “don’t even try to shove more food in here.” Get­ting to that point means you’ve already eaten more than you should’ve.

The in-­be­tween state I’m speak­ing of is dif­fer­ent. It’s the per­fect bal­ance between being hun­gry and full. There’s no urge to con­sume any­more, nor is there any fatigue or dis­com­fort from consum­ing too much. Just per­fect.

Now for the direct answer. The aver­age per­son needs 2000 calo­ries per day. A sin­gle Soy­lent drink has 400 calo­ries, so I drink five a day. Of course, some peo­ple need more, and oth­ers less. You can exper­i­ment and find the right amount for you.

Why don’t you like real food?

Ha. I do like real food.

Most food I have access to is bad—unhealthy, tastes bad, time-­con­sum­ing to eat, and expen­sive. I never say Soy­lent is for every­one, but it is per­fect for me.

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