A couple of years back, the company Soylent started with a blog post.
Rob Rhinehart posted that he had mixed his own cocktail of stuff, by which he meant everything the body needed (including vitamins, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and whatever is required). Instead of making food, he could store this as a type of powder and eat it.
This has since transformed into quite a big company, with a lot of VC funding. They sell mixed powder, which just needs to be mixed with water and then you get a meal. Yummy!
Long-term, their plan is to make the food extremely cheap (currently it’s around 2 USD per meal), so we can give everyone on the planet a daily healthy intake to solve hunger and starvation. It’s a big vision.
Why on earth would you use Soylent?
Because it’s made in Silicon Valley, duh!
The concept is smart for some meals. Everyone has crap meals: when they’re busy, when they’re travelling or when they’re dead lazy. Those meals are not enjoyable, they are expensive and unhealthy. While Soylent’s marketing started out being full meal replacement, my impression is the general consensus that it’s mostly for all those meals which are usually crap (and in many people’s lives, that includes at least 1-2 meals daily).
It takes 2 minutes to make. It has everything the body needs. It tastes good. It’s transportable.
To me, that concept makes sense. Easy food, when it’s relevant to the situation.
I got to be honest. When I first heard about the product, I was SUPER excited. I loved the concept. Being able to skip making breakfast, or skip the shit 15 USD dry-bread-sandwiches in the airport makes me excited.
So before I tried it: I WANTED to like it. I WANTED to love it. The concept is genius.
What is Joylent?
The challenge with Soylent is that they don’t ship outside North America (Aug, 2015). So as a European, getting Soylent is very difficult.
Because of that, many alternatives have been created. As Soylent makes their recipe open source, it’s easy to copy for other companies.
One of those companies is Joylent, which besides having made a very similar product, nearly stole their name. However, Joylent, DOES ship to Europe (hurray!).
My experiences with Joylent
When I found Joylent, I decided to order right away. I had to try it!
When the package first came, I was excited. There were four different flavours (strawberry, chocolate, vanilla and banana).
I took it out, and mixed my first shake (with banana) right away.
I got to be honest: it looked disgusting. Imagine a banana milkshake, but without the fresh smell and look and with some powder in it. I did shake it a bit more, and it started to look more and more like a banana milkshake.
And then… I had to taste it.
It was positive! It tasted good and I actually felt quite full.
It was a good experience. I kept using it for days, and then bought my second package. I started using it on travels, for breakfast and even a few dinners where I was busy.
However, now, after I’ve used it for a month (probably a meal a day on average), I’ve learned quite a lot:
It tastes great, and doesn’t get boring after a while
It tastes even better if you get it really cold in the fridge (or freezer)
You can get it through airport security without problems (just don’t tell security personel it’s cocaine 😉 )
However, there is ONE side effect, which is very problematic: I get hungry fast after – and I get a craving for sweets.
Normally I eat very healthy and am inspired by the “slow carb diet” (a version of the low carb high fat diet) which makes me keep a stable weight. However, after starting on Joylent I experienced a lot of hunger. When I used it for breakfast (~730am), I would start to feel very hungry again at ~930am.
Even worse, on days I used Joylent, I started to get even more hungry later. That meant I started to do some snacking and eat even bigger meals for lunch and dinner.
So while it is extremely easy food, the taste is good and it’s very convenient – I’ve gained around 3kg since I started using it. 3kg might not sound like a lot, but I am at the highest weight I’ve been in some years. I am very sure it’s because of all the snacking + extra portions.
Is that caused by Joylent? I am quite sure. I’ve tried to not eat powder for a while, and those days I could easily control my intake.
So … while it’s a genius product I would love to use, the side effect is simply too problematic. Gaining weight and feeling hungry is not worth it. Maybe Soylent is different, I don’t know – I guess I’ll find out when it comes to Europe.