When I heard about soylent, I was cautiously optimistic. But after Ars Technica did a week long review of the stuff (and generally liked it), I wanted some. The thinking was, “I go through 3 boxes of frozen pizza every week, odds are I don’t have the best nutrition profile. Soylent can fix this!”. So I ordered a week to try it out – see if it had any obvious positive or negative side effects. Well, last Friday it arrived – and, while the week isn’t quite done yet – a friend of mine wanted to know the verdict.
So… it tastes like crap. It’s okay for the first meal. Me: “it’s not so bad… I’d be willing to eat it again”. But by the end of the day, I’m starting to think about flavoring it. Mabye that’d be better. A few more days, and a bunch of vanilla, peanut butter, and maple syrup later (as well as experimenting with consistency – I prefer it thicker than they recommend), I’m thinking “A. This does not flavor well B. I HATE SOYLENT”.
It gets a little better the next day (in part because I’m hungry), so I keep going with it, until I fall asleep the next night thinking “I can’t do this. I just can’t.” That brings us from Saturday morning to Tuesday night – at which point I realized it’s not a food – it’s a beverage. Different flavoring problem. Turns out 2Tsp root beer extract per bag makes it quite edible! (And no, you can’t blame the alcohol content – it’s like drinking 1/4 beer a day). Anyway, it turns out that if you hate eating something, you try not to – which is why I have only consumed 5 bags in 6 days and am now hungry all the time.
Interestingly, Soylent doesn’t contain enough sodium to meet your dietary needs (it’s about a 1/4tsp short). 1/4tsp doesn’t seem like a lot if you mix it into _anything except soylent_. Ok, so that’s an exaggeration. But still… Also, don’t try to eat salt straight – you will regret this. Anyway, the point is that the little booklet that comes with the soylent says that not getting enough sodium can cause tiredness and headaches. Turns out, so can not eating enough *or* not drinking enough (I’m good at getting dehydrated). So, I have a headache right now – why? I think it’s because I’m dehydrated, but it might be because I’m still hungry. Or because I forgot to eat salt this morning… I’m pretty sure the afternoon tiredness I’ve had the last few days is hunger though. Oh and yes, I have lost weight – which anyone who knows me will tell you is a bad thing.
So, what’s the verdict? Some of my objections are my own fault for not eating enough, so keep that in mind; But the short answer is “would not buy again”. The slightly longer one is “I’d consider using it for backpacking or for short periods of time, but I don’t plan on consuming it on any regular basis”. I’m over it now, but you have no idea how badly I wanted pizza last Tuesday…