Going Soylent: Plan and Statistics

Stats

Daily Caloric Intake: 1,200 calories.

Height: 4’10

Weight: 75 lbs

BMI: 15.67 (standard BMI), 16.79 (new calculation)

Plan

Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday: Use 4 scoops of Soylent daily (1000 calories), and one snack (200 calories)

Tuesday: 1 scoop Soylent or snack + <1000 calories from buffet.

Friday: 1 scoop Soylent or snack + 1 meal.

Rounding up, this is 22 scoops for me and 29 scoops for my brother every week. Snacks may include: fruit, cereal, crackers, or anything cheap.

Financial Tracking

Current Monthly Food Cost: $550

Soylent ships 7 bags per box, each with 8 scoops. This is a total 56 scoops per box. At 51 scoops a week, this means we will need about box per week.

Estimated New Monthly Food Cost: $216 (4 boxes Soylent) + $80 restaurant + $50 for snacks/meals = $346

Actual New Monthly Food Cost: TBD

Considerations

  1. Soylent’s effect on our weight.
  2. How much Soylent we will actually go through on a monthly basis (will determine subscription cost).
  3. Whether we will up the Soylent or dial it back.

Going Soylent: Reasoning

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.

 

Side Dish: Vegan Tartar Sauce

60 calories

The United States’ favorite condiment is: mayonnaise. In fact, the population consumes two billion dollars worth of the stuff a year. Go to any Walmart in small town America and you’ll see aisles full of mayo jars, squirt bottles, and gallon-sized jugs. There’s so much for sale that the product often spills out onto the end-aisle displays and standalone refrigerated units.

I’ve always hated it. The color is a horrible, yellowish off-white, and it’s basically just fat in a jar.

If I need mayo for a recipe, I usually use the vegan substitute made by Follow Your Heart. It works well enough. I don’t, however, think their vegan tartar sauce is quite right. If I need tartar sauce I make it myself, using normal Vegenaise as a base. It’s great on soy-based seafood such as Gardien’s Fishless Fillets.

Also, I just recently noticed that Vegenaise is spelled with an “e.” Weird.

Preparation time approximately five minutes.

Approximately 60 calories per serving (about 2 Tbsp).

Materials

  • Cutting Board, Knife, bowl
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Mayonnaise
    + Follow Your Heart Reduced Fat Vegenaise: 50 calories per Tbsp.
  • 3-4 Tbsp Dill Relish
    + Great Value Dill Relish: <5 calories per tbsp.
  • 3 Tbsp Diced Onion
    + White Onion: 4 calories per tbsp.
  • 2-3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
    + Fresh Lemon Juice: 4 calories per tbsp.

Preparation

Step 1. Dice onion finely.

Step 2. Add vegan mayonnaise to a bowl.

Step 3. Add the relish, onion, and lemon juice to the mayonnaise.

Step 4. Stir sauce and taste. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you get the perfect sour taste.

Step 5. Apply sauce to fake fish sandwiches or other “seafood.”

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A food accessory post should feature rifle accessories.

Light Meals: Meatball Sub Sandwich

480 calories

Serves 1. Preparation time approximately five minutes.

Approximately 480 calories per sandwich.

Materials

  • 1 Steak Roll
    + Morabito Steak Roll: 170 calories each.
  • 1/3 Cup Pasta Sauce
    + Ragu Chunky Tomato, Garlic, and Onion: 60 calories for 1/3 cup.
  • Vegetarian Meatballs
    + Gardein Classic Meatless Meatballs: 250 calories for 5.

Preparation

Step 1. Cut a hoagie roll lengthwise, without cutting all the way through.

Step 2. Microwave the pasta sauce and meatballs.

Step 3. Place the meatball/sauce mixture in the roll.

Step 4. Serve as-is, or with hot sauce and vegan parmesan cheese.

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Heavy Meals: Cast Iron Sausage and Green Peppers

675 calories

Serves one. Preparation time approximately fifteen minutes.

Approximately 675 calories per serving.

Materials

  • Cutting Board, Knife, Skillet, Spatula, Stove
  • 2 Vegan Sausages
    + Tofurkey Italian Sausages: 280 calories each.
  • Green Bell Peppers
    + 1 Green Bell Pepper: 20 calories.
  • Onion
    + Yellow Onion: 20 calories for 50g.
  • Teriyaki Sauce
    + La Choy Teriyaki Sauce: 10 calories per tbsp.
  • 1/2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
    + Canola Oil: 120 calories per tbsp.
  • Spices
    + Black Pepper.

Preparation

Step 1. Cut the vegan sausages into chunks about 1 inch in length.

Step 2. Pour canola oil and some teriyaki sauce into a cast iron skillet. Add the sausages and cook at medium heat.

Step 3. Chop vegetables into medium-sized pieces.

Step 4. Remove the sausages from the pan when they’ve charred and plate them.

Step 5. Add the vegetables, a tiny bit more teriyaki, and a sprinkling of black pepper.

Step 6. Plate the vegetables after they’ve softened.

Step 7. Serve with Sriracha and/or salt substitute.

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The sausages are Italian. So is the gun.

Note: A similar, lower-calorie recipe that does not include soy meat can be found here.

The Psyllium Experiments: Part 2

95 calories

I’m not sure what made me go on with the experiment. Perhaps it was my adversary, the Psyllium, whispering seductive lies into my ear. Perhaps it was simple desperation that drove me forward. Maybe it was hubris. I don’t know. Was this not the same unchecked pride that tamed the western frontier? Was it not the perseverance of man that allowed the species to survive multiple world wars and potential nuclear annihilation? Would I survive the next attempt, or would I succumb to the web of deception that brought me to this point in the first place?

The Final Attempt

By now, I had learned not to trust the internet. I knew that the collective knowledge of mankind would no longer provide answers. Not in this matter. I had to take a different approach. I had to listen to my heart.

I know it sounds radical. It makes me seem like some kind of romantic sentimentalist. But, some muse had awakened within me a flash of inspiration, and I was powerless against it. My body no longer listened to reason. And thus, out came the mixing bowl, and into that humble, plastic cookware went the frustration of millions—the millions betrayed by a broken promise concerning recommended amounts dietary fiber.

Soylid Cookies

Nine cookies in a batch. Approximately 95 calories each.

Preparation time about 45 minutes.

Additional Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
Carbs 15g, Fat 3g, Protein 3g, Sodium 42g, Sugar 6g

Materials

  • Official Soylent Scoop, Small Mixing Bowl, Spoon, Baking Tray, Oven
  • 2 Scoops Soylent Powder (500 calories)
    (Soylent is basically just rice flour, vitamins, and a little oil, so I imagine you could just substitute rice flour if you really wanted to for some reason.)
  • 1 Scoop Oatmeal
    Great Value Oatmeal: 169 calories for 45g.
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
    Generic sugar: 48 calories per tbsp. If you want cookies that are sweet, rather than simply functional, you can add more.
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon Powder (6 calories)
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract (10 calories)
  • 1/4 Cup Raisins
    Great Value raisins: 120 calories for 1/4 cup.
  • 1 Heaping Tbsp Psyllium Husk (No caloric effect)
  • 1 Scoop Water
  • Burning Hatred

Preparation

  1. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl. The measurements don’t have to be precise for this recipe, so don’t worry if you don’t have an official Soylent scoop. Just make sure the ratio of Soylent to oatmeal is about 2-1.
  2. Add a scoop of water (about 112 ml).
  3. Stir batter angrily until well-mixed.
  4. Roll the batter into equally-sized globs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place onto a baking tray lined with wax paper. Flatten the globs slightly.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F until the edges are a dark brown and the cookies are somewhat firm. It took my batch about 20-30 minutes to cook properly.
  6. Allow the cookies to cool before eating.
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I made some sugar cookies, too.

Just like that, it was over. The kitchen was silent, except for the occasional crack from the cooling oven. Gazing at my creations, the exceptionally healthy (vegan) cookies I had birthed, I couldn’t help but feel some affection for them. Sure, they were sort of ugly and awkward, but maybe that didn’t matter. They offered the Devil Husk redemption. Such purity made these cookies beautiful in a spiritual sense.

I picked up a cookie and placed it to my lips, reassured by the fact I couldn’t detect the scent of psyllium. I bit into it and….

“Hey, not bad.”

Conclusion

Psyllium is pretty worthless. I guess it kinda works as an emulsifier for Soylent oatmeal raisin cookies. I’m still out $7.50 and it’s a rather limited application, but eventually I’ll get through the bag.

Eat the World: Monticello, Virginia

Just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia lies the former residence and experiment in architecture built by the third President of the United States. Twenty-five dollars will buy you basic entry ticket that includes a tour of the house, slave quarters, and gardens.

Thomas Jefferson kept meticulous notes about the crops grown on these lands, such as tobacco, flowers, and produce. Underneath the house are cellars which once stored wines and beers. Tourists visiting Jefferson’s plantation won’t actually be eating like he did back in the late 1700s, but there is a concession where you can purchase potato chips and soda, which is what modern Americans eat. You will, however, get an idea of what a working plantation was like, see some of Jefferson’s personal possessions (he had a lot of books about farming), and listen to a bunch of sweaty, grumbling tourists complain about how their boyfriends never take them anywhere: “You don’t even know what I like because you NEVER ASK.”

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a good place to bring visiting mothers who demand only the tamest forms of entertainment. They’ll especially appreciate the fact that there’s a gift shop at the end of the tour.