In 2013 I was reading an article that baffled me. Well that happens quite a lot since one of my biggest passions is to read about outstanding and bold new man made creations. This one was about Soylent, a complete meal-in-a-bag concoction. Since then there’s a huge amount of written materials all over the internet and a whole new food industry flourished.
Soylent based cocktails come in powder or ready made, already prepared or not in 400 ml bottles or bags. Basically a portion of this shake claims to contain all the nutrients necessary for a human to function optimally (as claimed by most soylent producers) for the next 3-4 or even more hours, which is the exact amount of time between 2 daily meals. One portion or 1 meal costs between €1,99 and €5, depending on the label. And there are so many already, a simple Google search returned more than 10 different soylent products advertised – that is because I’m searching in the Netherlands – which leads me to make an educated guess of around at least 30 such soylents available worldwide.
While the public opinion is mostly positive about it, this eating method is far too new to support a reliable study. As if traditional eating was not complicated enough, with new findings and 180° scientific opinion switches almost every year! Believe me, I’m really into this kind of literature and trying to lead a healthy lifestyle but after reading so much about it, I seriously take everything with a grain of salt and stick to the “everything in moderation” approach.
Soylent, as a pioneer and good sport, made the composition and technique available for everyone, unleashing also its competition in doing so. In fact there is also a tutorial for DIY soylents here.
What the Angel from Quirk Heaven wants you to know:
The shakes come in all sorts of flavors and compositions to cater to all the real but mostly imaginary pre-conditions of our daily existence: lactose free, vegan, gluten free, caffeine free, sugar free, GMO free etc etc. Although approved by the Food and Drug Association, there are occasional episodes with faulty product batches (for example milk traces in lactose free shakes) which lead to the product being temporarily recalled from the market and there are lots of negative opinions as well (trolls or no trolls, everybody is free to have an opinion) out there which are worth to be at least noticed. It’s all part of educating your own opinions and making a conscious choice.
The human body is an extremely complex mechanism which is yet to be understood, and various studies concluded that not all calories are equal, just as popping vitamins from a jar doesn’t bring the benefits a ripe apple does. Our digestive system is especially designed to metabolize the food and break it down into the necessary particles, and it does that differently with every type of food ingested.
What the Angel from Quirk Heaven believes: I’m an honest food enthusiast: in my kitchen I find it painful when I have to use flavor enhancers, no matter how “clean” they are (such as the vegetable broth base). One of the shortcomings of living in the wonderful Netherlands (yes, there are a few) is that the vegetables have no taste, so this becomes a necessity. Food is important: it’s delicious, it smells amazing, it fills the spirit, provides a break from a busy activity (or it should at least) and brings people together. I could never give up on a fresh crunchy portion of fries. I could never give up the taste variation, texture and smell.
However I admit there are some situations in which soylent wins the game, and here are the first 10 I could think about:
- you’re an astronaut on a mission to discover planet B
- you’ve gone on top of the mountains (or on a deserted island) to discover yourself or something else
- you’ve been challenged to live in a tree for one month
- you visit Scandinavia on a budget
- you’ve just given birth to a perfect crying machine
- you have a broken arm and you live alone
- you go to Coachella and want to drink/smoke/sniff all your money
- (although not advisable) you have a serious deadline which makes you not stop working even in the toilet
- you want to save money for Burning Man while getting closer to your beach body
- you’re hiding from the government (or the zombie apocalypse)
BONUS: you’ve been binging on Netflix and now you’re severely tired, use those 2-3 extra hours to catch up on sleep
Just like with everything else in life, enjoy responsibly and you’ll be just fine!