I was fascinated with Soylent when I first heard about it. I missed the boat on the kickstarter, but was one of the first to preorder when they became available. I quickly grew frustrated as months went past, and every promised shipping date came and went due to more and more problems in refining their supply and manufacturing process. Eventually, I got fed up and decided I'd rather spend the ~$200 on actual food I could eat rather than vaporware-cuisine.
I found the DIY section of Soylent interesting, and though initially thought that it was too complicated and risky, I eventually decide do give it a try. I chose Spencer Chow, as it seemed to be a) Chocolate and B) Ketogenic/low sugar. I'm not diabetic nor do I actually want to enter Ketosis, but I do know I tend to feel better when I'm not consuming tons of carbs. My initial batches were undrinkable. They were too thick and tasted awful. In my second batch, I added added more water and cocoa powder, eventually finding a mix that worked.
I only had two bottles (48 oz) a day, which worked out to about 2/3 of my daily calories. This seemed to be the magic ratio, as I also had solid/warm food cravings that never really went away. However, after about three months of off and on Spencer Fuel, I never felt like it was the complete solution I had been searching for.
Soylent eventually got things under control about another year later. When they were finally able to meet a 2 week ship time for new customers, around version 1.5, I placed an order. I mixed it up the day I got the box per the instructions, and promptly threw the entire first batch out. It was awful. Horrible. Like drinking saw dust and shredded cardboard. I did find out that there is a think as powdered peanut butter. This made it slightly more palatable, along with some cocoa powder, but I was under no impression that I would ever continually drink it.
I did find that Soylent made the best tasting brownies I ever had. But it wasn't worth $80 a week.
DIY Attempt #2
I found a second DIY recipe called Keto Chow that seemed like it would be better tasting. It used many of the ingredients that I already had, so the investment was minimal. This batch tastes way better and is way more drinkable (plus no chia seeds getting caught in my gums). However, as it uses heavy cream, it's not the most transportable thing ever, needing to be refrigerated and not having a shelf life out of the fridge beyond about 3-4 hours.
I read about someone replacing their heavy cream with coconut oil and bought some then and there. I did a 1:1 replacement of coconut oil for heavy cream (I mean, their fat profile was similar, so it made sense). This was a colossal mistake, and I spent that Monday with my stomach in knots. I quickly found various stupid "coconut oil kills toxins" articles, but ultimately discovered that it's highly alkaline, so you want to introduce it slowly into your diet, not 10 Tablespoons at a a time.
I've got it to a 50/50 coconut oil/heavy cream mixture.
Where I am now
So I spent about 2 hours last night attempting to make some Keto Chow brownies. What I ended up with was a rock hard, yet incredibly light and airy sponge that had almost no taste, despite adding extra cocoa and peanut butter. Today, as I'm trying to eat them, I had the realization that ultimately, this is not having the desired effect.
- I'm spending wayyyyyy too much time worring about if my meals have gone bad.
- My soylent(ish) meals leave me full, but not at all satisfied. I constantly want to eat actual food.
- Though I have lost weight (about 15 pounds in this last year), I can't help but feel that a simpler diet would have also worked.
- I didn't do a full workup on how much I've spent on this experiment, but one of my ideas was that it would save me money. I'm willing to bet that I didn't, both through having to throw meals out because of forgetting to refrigerate them and for eating out because I "wasn't up for" the drink that day.
During this time I've also been developing my cooking skills, and here's my new idea:
Simple, Repeating Meals
I'm going to come up with a bunch of easy to make meals that I can make in batches and bring with me as needed. My main cost savings will continue to be money not spent eating out.
I really, really, really wanted this experiment to work. I thought it would be faster, easier, cheaper, and ultimately make me healthier. In the end, really it was just a little bit faster and easier than cooking all the time. These minor pluses were not worth the major minuses of low energy, extra money, feeling bad for wasting things, and the general struggle to enjoy something that wasn't all that enjoyable.