Soylent 2

Read my original report on Soylent.

78 days have passed since my initial consumption of Soylent. In that time I have drank 25 day-packages of Soylent. I have half a pitcher (1/2 pack’s worth), 3 packs, and 4 boxes left. So I have a little over 31 packs still.

I did have a few stretches where I stopped Soylent completely, like when I returned to Minnesota and had my family’s delicious home cooked meals. I often eat a “real food” for dinner, or occasionally for lunch, depending on the social circumstances. I average between 1/2 and 2/3 of a pack a day.

I have now learned some strange quirks of Soylent, learned some Soylent hacks, and hit some rough patches.

Soylent can turn black as it oxidizes or rots, whatever it does. Often turns dark brown. Gets rather sludge like. I imagine microbes find it pretty nutritious. I definitely encourage caution when it comes to washing containers. One difficult to clean steel bottle has become a strange little ecosystem of microbes that can survive my freezer. I still have it in there as I would one day like to study it. Perhaps we can form beneficial relations with Soylent digesting microbes. I would not feel surprised to learn that they have taken up residence in my gut and helped my adaptation to the food. The initial gastro-intestinal gas has dramatically decreased since I began.

Once I went for a while (around a week) without washing the pitcher that I used to make Soylent. When I finally went to wash it I found that when cleaning the sides of the pitcher the water became very cloudy. Upon trying to drink that water I found it very mineral and water heavy and I did not react well to it. Seems like a certain amount of the mineral content gets lost (residue at the bottom of cups, on the sides of containers) but it may actually come as a blessing. Perhaps I don’t need quite so much potassium.

I’ve definitely learned to drink a lot more water after drinking Soylent. The water in Soylent itself does not suffice.

I received my second shipment of 4 boxes of Soylent, and I’ve tried 4 packs from one of the new boxes. The formula has changed since I received my first boxes, as announced on the Soylent blog. I think they changed how fine some of the ingredients like the oat grits get ground. As a result I’ve had to change my recipe for making Soylent, as the powder now clumps.

Old recipe:

  • Smoosh bag to break up clumps
  • Pour powder in pitcher
  • Add 1/3 of the pitcher of water
  • Shake vigorously
  • Add rest of water (fill to 4/5 of the pitcher)
  • Add oil blend
  • Shake vigorously

That recipe worked great. With the new batch of Soylent however this resulted in clumps of dry Soylent forming at the bottom of the pitcher, buffered by a hydrophilic wall of semi-dry Soylent. Very strange. My new recipe which avoids clumping follows.

New recipe:

  • Smoosh bag to break up clumps
  • Add 1/5 of the pitcher water
  • Pour powder in pitcher
  • Fill to 1/3 of the pitcher
  • Shake vigorously
  • Add rest of water (fill to 4/5 of the pitcher)
  • Add oil blend
  • Shake vigorously

Having a layer of water above and below the powder avoids clumping during the shaking process.

I’ve found that Soylent can taste drastically different depending on what I eat before hand. If I eat lots of salty foods I don’t taste the delicious saltiness of Soylent and other notes get highlighted. If I’ve had more than enough carbs then I don’t taste the sweetness but taste the saltiness. I find Soylent usually tastes good, because it always has some nutrient or another that I didn’t get enough of in a casual diet.

I find it very interesting to hear people’s differing reports of how Soylent tastes. I think it reveals some aspects of their diet.

I now have two pitchers, so I have left a pitcher at DBC and some packets there. I used to carry Soylent from my home to work, now I make it directly at work. I haven’t made it completely convenient or established a habit of making it at work yet, so I will have to see how that turns out.

Overall I feel really grateful for Soylent, although I would like to supplement my diet with fresh fruit and possibly substitute Clif Bars to eat at work, as the form factor of Clif Bars feels more convenient to me.

I would still recommend Soylent to people who feel like they want to get food cheaply and don’t want to cook and have an overall focus on saving our most precious resource: time.

I will say I do not find it perfect. I feel highly skeptical that the US Food & Drug Administration managed to perfectly calculate the dietary needs of my body. I like to supplement my Soylent with any “real” food that my body feels a craving for. I believe first and foremost in listening carefully to the body’s natural instincts for what to eat. Perhaps one day Soylent will release software that allows us to calibrate a Soylent blend for our individual bodies that optimizes our performance.