I’ve been drinking Soylent for a few months now, and I’ve been meaning to write about it because many of my friends have expressed curiosity about it. After the breakfast talk in last week’s post, I think this is a good time to post about my Soylent experience.
Let me start by saying that the first person to make a Charlton Heston “It’s made of people!” joke will get a swift kick to the shins. I’ve heard it before, and it wasn’t funny the first, third, or eighth times.
Soylent, for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, is a meal replacement product. It was created by software engineer Rob Rhinehart, because he hated how much time he was losing to the preparation and consumption of food. He decided to try to put all the nutrients the human body needs into a single liquid product, and when his initial trials worked out pretty well, he crowdfunded a larger run. That was back in 2013.
Much like a software release, Soylent has had versions, with the number incrementing as the formula changes. By the time I got into Soylent, it was at version 1.3. The instruction booklet that comes with your shipment is labeled “Release Notes,” which made me chuckle.
Some people use Soylent to replace most of their meals, but I simply use it to fill in for breakfast. Before this product, I almost never had breakfast. I’m not a morning person, and my tendency has always been to crawl out of bed, throw on the next outfit in line in the closet, and crawl into the office. Eating breakfast is something that takes time, and I will always choose more sleep over a full stomach. This is a terribly unhealthy way to go, so I was very happy to find a way to include a breakfast that I could do without losing more than a minute or so.
My first few shipments of Soylent came this way- a single pouch is supposed to be three servings. The little bottle of oil blend has to be mixed in to complete the nutrition profile- there are some things included which the body won’t absorb without oil added.
Inside the pouch, the Soylent is a very fine powder which gets everywhere if you’re not careful.
So the basic instructions, without getting into too much detail are that you mix water and powder, shake for a bit, add the oil, add more water, shake it a bit more, chill the whole shebang, and enjoy. This photo is halfway through the mixing, just before I added the oil.
The fully mixed thing looks pretty decent. It will separate a little bit over time, but shake it again before you drink it and it’s all good.
The flavor is very neutral, and the release notes even provide suggestions for ways to change up the flavor by mixing in peanut butter or Hershey’s chocolate syrup or bananas. Drinking a glass of this is the equivalent to a full meal, and it’s quite effective at squashing my hunger.
Some people find it a little bit gritty- version 1.3 tends to leave a little on the sides of the glass, as you can see here. It’s not unpleasant, and I’ve gotten used to it. You just have to remember to rinse your glass as soon as possible after you finish your drink.
The next iteration of Soylent, Soylent 1.4, was just announced. They have changed from the liquid oil to a powdered oil form, so there are no more oil bottles included. I haven’t had 1.4 yet, but those who have generally say that it’s a little bit sweeter, smoother, and more like a nutrition shake in consistency. One reviewer called the texture of 1.4 “velvety,” which is kind of intriguing. Apparently the 1.0 version tasted a little bit like cake batter. I’m kind of sorry I missed that one. Still, they strive for a neutral flavor profile, and I’m all for that. I think that any strong flavor would get old really fast.
There are critics of Soylent’s nutritional balance. I agree that it’s not necessarily the best nutrition out there. Soylent will never replace a meal out with friends or family. It’s better than going without breakfast, though, and that’s good enough for me right now.
Have you tried Soylent? Would you? What do you think about meal replacement drinks?