One of my goals has always been efficiency. I’ve used food substitutes before: diet shakes, nutritional beverages, etc. They were all too expensive to stick with long-term. When Rob Rhineheart announced his Kickstarter for Soylent in 2013, my ears perked. The drink promised to be nutritionally-complete and economical. Unfortunately, I had to wait until version 1.4 to try out this particular meal replacement, as early versions included fish oil as an ingredient.
V1.4 wasn’t great. It was filling, but it tasted strange. The flavor wasn’t as bland and innocuous as I’d hoped. It also has a negative reputation amongst Soylent users owing to its “slimy” texture, and I’d have to agree with that assessment. Fortunately, by the time I got around to trying 1.4, 1.5 was almost out.
V1.5 fixed the texture and taste problems. It is a bit lacking in fiber and protein, and heavy in carbohydrates, but I can live with that trade-off. The biggest problem for me (Soylent seems to effect everyone differently) is the lack of satiety. I’ll eat a scoop and the shakes will go away for an hour, then come right back. This is a problem for someone limited to five scoops a day, and that’s if I don’t mind going over my calorie budget of 1,200.
So far, I’ve just been replacing the random meal with Soylent here and there. But, I don’t want to use Soylent as a supplement. I want to use it as intended. The benefits: a flat stomach (no bloating), time savings and, most important, the economic argument, are critical determining factors.
Being dirt poor, I have a budget of $500 a month that has to cover a $45 internet bill, $40 for utilities, and $40 for gas. Once a week my brother and I go to a cheap buffet (eating real food occasionally ensures you don’t kill off your gut biome). That’s another $80-$100, including tipping. That comes to $225. Add in non-food purchases such as soap or batteries, a $50 ecig smoking habit, and I have about $200 left for groceries (and nothing else). My actual grocery bill for last month was around $450 (for two people). Oops, I’m already $250 over budget. Mooom! Yeah, the extra expense is usually funded via windfalls like freelance work or, more often, an extra cash injection from the mother.
Then there’s the whole “vegetarian” thing. Vegetarian and vegan foods, especially if you’re occasionally eating frozen stuff like I’ve been, do not come cheap. I can’t afford this lifestyle.
Meanwhile, Soylent will feed you for a few dollars a day.
When I do the back of the napkin number crunching, I can see I’ve been irresponsible. My current grocery bill is unacceptable. So, I’m going to go 75-80% Soylent. I’m going to track this new diet and see how it goes.