The Hyperpessimist

The grandest failure.

First Impressions of Soylent

I’ve been following the hype of Soylent some time ago and even thought about making Soylent myself from one of the reverse-engineered recipes that were posted on the Internet (if only for the fact that ordering from the US is prohibitively expensive) but recently stumbled over it again and decided to give it a try. I have no stake in the whole Soylent story, don’t proclaim it as future of nourishment nor the end of “proper” food as we know it. Just a lazy person trying something new and seeing how it goes. As with writing this post I’ve somehow now become part of the hype train, despite not even wanting to do so.

Considering I didn’t want to mess it up with mixing it myself for my first venture in liquid foods, I went for ready-made Soylent (only add water!) from the Netherlands-based Joylent which offered free shipping to Germany and thanks to the EU, no customs.

What followed were surprising questions from smart people around me. One of the most common questions was: Don’t you like eating? Which struck me as a pretty strange thing to ask, since I’ve just ordered food. I do like food, I go out for lunch every workday and often on weekends. After rent that’s probably where most of my money goes (and whisky, heh). What I don’t enjoy is cooking, especially for only myself. I need to buy ingredients which spoil comparitively quickly and are often offered in quantities far larger than I could use up as a single person. This continues to a point where I feel really bad about throwing away food, so I usually end up overstuffing and feeling horrible. I share my kitchen with my flatmate which makes cooking even less enjoyable. Therefore most days I don’t eat much but lunch. Healthy? Probably not, but my sense of hunger balanced pretty well with it.

I do not plan to eat exclusively Soylent, so issues like deteriorating teeth are probably not going to affect me. In fact I am even surprised people were interested at all to hear my experiences, since I wouldn’t have imagined eating Soylent could be controversial in the first place. But if it is a topic people would like to read about, I’m happy to oblige since I am curious myself. Apparently folks care more about nourishment than I would’ve imagined, a surprising lesson to me.

What I also cannot imagine is that eating Soylent would be any less healthy than eating frozen pizza every day. Some of those 3-in-1 pizzas taste pretty much like the cardboard they are wrapped in and consist seemingly mostly of fat and the cheapest meat you can make Salami of. Yet nobody worries about frozen pizza. Puzzling.

So yeah, after I ordered on the 2nd of May, my package only shipped on the 17th of May, which is far longer than the ETA 5-6 business days that are written on the Joylent web site, shipping then took only 2 days. I guess they are either facing quite a run or are terrible at scaling their production. It didn’t help that instead of the 2 shakers I ordered (since it was a group order) only one arrived. Maybe I’ll try Queal the next time; despite having a funny web site I am currently a bit underwhelmed by Joylent-the-company.

The packs are designed prettily and have an expiration date 6 months in the future which is surprising since it is basically sealed, dry food that should last longer. Since I don’t plan to store it that long, I don’t mind. I like that the bags are resealable, since I’m not likely to use one bag at once, as it is basically three meals.

I ordered each of the flavours (banana, chocolate, strawberry, mango) and after trying mango and banana, I much prefer the mango. But I don’t like bananas to start with so no idea why I even ordered it. The first two tries (breakfast and after work yesterday) didn’t go so well, because I didn’t use enough powder so it tasted mostly like watery oatmeal, which considering that the main ingredient is oatmeal, kinda makes sense. As I don’t usually eat breakfast, it was alright to not starve till lunch. Today’s try as a much richer breakfast-lunch (since I couldn’t be bothered to leave the bed at times people usually associate with the term “breakfast”) with mango tasted much better up to a point where I would even call it enjoyable. The only downside is that I still feel hungry, which might have to have something to do with the consistency of the meal.

Talking about consistency: I still think that it is a bit too liquid and gritty, despite shaking like a maniac. People on the Internetâ„¢ say that storing it in the fridge helps, but we’re approaching cooking again, whereas I’d prefer the convenience of fast-food.

21st of May 2016: after eating 3 meals of Joylent, I am still alive. Stay tuned.