Not Soy, Not Green, Not People

I’m finishing off my second week of drinking Soylent instead of eating food — some of the time.  And since this is a topic of endless fascination for my coworkers, I thought it might be for the world.

A brief Soylent primer for the uninitiated:

  • It is essentially a meal-replacement shake.
  • It is the brainchild of a 20-something Silicon Valley guy who basically decided that he didn’t want to bother with eating normal meals unless they were really awesome meals.
  • It tries to be a complete nutrition solution (ie, to have everything you need in order to eat it exclusively for long periods of time in as healthy as possible a way).
  • It tries to be relatively low cost, aiming for sub $3 per meal.

I discovered nearly a decade ago that the way I can lose weight is to eat a very regimented diet every day.  My weight-gain problem is that I like food a lot and am happy to eat more than is good for me because, well, food tastes good.  My further weight-gain problem is that I have a difficult time judging portion control by feelings of satiety or visual gauging.

Ten years ago, I lost about 30 lbs mainly by eating at a particular sandwich place every day and at Chipotle every night.  I had the same meal all the time, and made sure that my calories in were less than my calories out, and, thus lost weight.

So ten years ago, not only was my eating very regimented, so was my schedule.  I finished work consistently at the same time, and I had no problem going to a Chipotle’s every night, and that worked pretty well.  Since then, my life has been improved and complicated by a job I like more and a wife I love spending time with (and who is not enthusiastic about going to the same restaurants over and over again and eating the same thing all the time — and why should she be?  She’s not overweight).

Enter Soylent.

Unlike many of the other people I’ve seen post about the topic, I’m not making any attempt to subsist for weeks on end purely on Soylent.  But Monday to Friday, unless my wife and I have date night or some other social event, the concept is that I’ll only drink Soylent.

Soylent has some advantages for weight-loss:  While its taste is not offensive (as long as it’s cold, it’s mostly bland, slightly sweet, slightly nutty), it’s not GOOD.  I don’t really feel a need to eat more Soylent than is necessary to reach satiety.  It’s, at least compared to a diet of nothing but Chipotle, reasonably healthful.  It’s fast and easy to prepare.

Thus far, I’ve lost about 10 lbs.  I expect the rate of weight loss to slow, but I’m quite pleased with 10 lbs in 2 weeks, and not even dieting on the weekends.

On the fringe benefits side of things:  I’m saving a fairly considerable amount of money on meals, probably at least $10 per day on average.  If you figure 250 week days during the year, and maybe a generous 30 days of being off-regimen for whatever reason, that’s a couple grand a year, which is nice.  And I do have considerably more time in a given day.

On the downsides:  As others have commented, I’m experiencing some digestion problems with Soylent.  Nothing painful or truly disgusting, but I could deal with slightly less frequent trips to the bathroom.  Warm Soylent tastes truly disgusting, so planning around making it early enough to get some refrigeration time is necessary, and somewhat complicates my life.

I miss food during the week but do not have enormous cravings.  Neither do I experience a transcendental moment of bliss when I eat real food during the weekends as has been described by other people using Soylent (perhaps I’m not going long enough between meals to really miss normal food).

I’ve ordered a second two-week supply of Soylent.  The first batch took months to reach me, but part of the promise of the Soylent manufacturers is that resupply comes much quicker, and indeed it’s true: I got the resupply in less than a week.

So far, it’s working for me.  I’ll do another post if and when that changes.

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