Two Weeks on Soylent

I just completed my two week Soylent experiment.  I loved it!

For the past 15 days I had Soylent for breakfast and lunch, with the exception of one day each weekend.  It was fast, easy, filling, and I felt great.  I often skimp or skip breakfast altogether, and lunch is either a barrage of snacks, a frozen burrito, or $12 spent on Pho.  The former are too time-consuming with little payoff in the way of pleasure, and the latter is too expensive to do every day.

Soylent provides a great alternative, and far better than just protein shakes or other supplements.  It doesn’t supplement a meal, it is a meal.  I found that within minutes of drinking a 500 calorie serving, I was full.  And it lasted.  I would be full for 3-4 hours and not even think of food.  For lunch I sometimes needed more like a 600 calorie serving to last longer than 3 hours.

Every other morning I’d pour a 2000 calorie packet into the pitcher they provided free with my order, half full of water.  Seal, shake vigorously, add a bit more water, shake again, pour a glass, and put in the fridge.  Each container would give me two breakfasts and two lunches.  Many people say they wait until it’s chilled to drink it, but I don’t mind it at room temp.

The taste is vaguely nutty and slightly vanilla, but mostly just inoffensive bland cream with some sandy grit.  My wife hated it, my son didn’t like it at first but then liked it, and I honestly enjoy it quite a bit.  I did add a splash of almond milk a few times, which has a natural sweetness.  That definitely made it better, but again, I don’t mind it as is and never got sick of it as I have some flavored protein shakes.

I found in general that I feel slightly better than normal when doing Soylent for both meals.  Nothing amazing, but to just consistently have a decent sized breakfast and lunch helped me feel more energy, and it definitely reduced distraction.  I especially like that it doesn’t get your hands (and hence you laptop, phone, etc.) greasy or get crumbs all over the desk or floor.  I typically eat in the office, so this dramatically improved that experience.

It also made me like dinner more.  You notice taste, smell, and texture more and enjoy them more fully when you save them for the really good stuff that you have time to experience.  Filling up on chips during the day makes taco salad for dinner less exciting, etc.  Soylent is so basic and utilitarian that it allows you to really enjoy the full meal experience when you have time for it.

A few small annoyances include the fact that the pitcher they sent doesn’t always seal, so sometimes when shaking it some would spurt out.  The design of the packets also make it a little hard to get all the powdered contents out with some missing the pitcher, but that’s very minor.  The fact that you can’t keep it in the fridge more than a few days after it’s been mixed is also annoying, but they sent a scoop to make single servings too, so again, a minor inconvenience.

I’d still like to see the price come down.  At around $3/meal it’s not bad, but more than breakfast and some lunches might come out to if you buy largish quantities of lunch meat or frozen meals.

Oh, one final word: if you do Soylent you need to make sure to drink lots of water.  I tend to drink at least 10 full glasses a day anyway, but if you don’t, you’ll want to or you’ll feel a little odd, especially after the first meal or two while you’re adjusting.  I also found that adding more than the recommended amount of water per serving to the mix was not helpful, as it just made the texture less enjoyable and increased the volume you needed to consume.

I wish they were on the shelves of the grocery store, which would make it easier to work in to the grocery rotation.  Still, I plan to keep a supply around and use them somewhat regularly for breakfast and lunch during the week.  It’s great to have a fallback that gets the job done so nicely.

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