What if someone offered you the opportunity to get all of your daily nutrition from one simple drink? No more trying to decide what’s for dinner. No more worrying about cleaning your pots and pans. No more slaving over a hot stove. Would you be intrigued, I know I am.
It may sound like something out of a science fiction movie but finally it is real, I give you Soylent!
I first heard of Soylent years ago. There was an article/interview in one of the many science-y magazines I buy. Created by Robert Rhinehart in response to a need for “a simpler food source” the article made it sound like a miracle drink! “A food product (classified as a food, not a supplement, by the FDA) designed for use as a staple meal by all adults”. Each serving of Soylent provides maximum nutrition with minimum effort.
Never again would I have to worry about getting all of my nutrients, plus I would save a ton of time since I didn’t have to cook or clean any longer :)
I wanted this so badly.
My girlfriend thought it was weird. She said it would probably give me cancer. A lot of people have reacted to me the same way. I didn’t understand at first but after talking about it more and thinking it over I think most people’s aversion to Soylent is that it’s just so different. No one can imagine a life that is not centered around food. To not eat real food seems to fly in the face of what it means to be a human.
The act of finding, preparing, and eating food is a very social activity. Without that what would we do all day? How would we gather? What would we talk about if not the taste of a steak or a new recipe we discovered? What would we have to look forward to if not a nice greasy pizza or a juicy burger piled high with more beef patties than any person needs? Not worrying about food or finding new ways to prepare just seems too weird.
I was so excited when I discovered this amazing discovery but after talking to friends and family I felt like I have broken some social rule and quickly felt ashamed. So I let it go.
My interest was piqued again recently when Soylent 2.0 was released, promising to not only give you all of your nutrients but also provide a glowing feeling from helping the environment too. It’s vegan, so no animals are being slaughtered, and it’s made partially from sustainable algae! I wanted it even more!
Not only are its ingredients vegan, Soylent 2.0 reaches an unprecedented level of environmental sustainability with half of its fat energy coming from farm-free, algae sources. This next generation agricultural technology has the potential to reduce the ecological impact of food production by orders of magnitude, signifying a major step towards a future of abundance, a world where optimal nutrition is the new normal.
Then again when The Next Web published a think piece slamming Rhienhart for a recent post on his blog. The piece described Rhinehart as “someone so disconnected from reality that he might as well be hooked into an Oculus Rift 24/7, bathing in a bath of temperature controlled Soylent”. Harsh much?
Yeah Rhinehart might be a little kooky but he’s made Soylent his whole life! I worry though that I could go a little kooky too if I forego the pleasure and social aspects of food for the convenience of “grey goop”. I mean I understand the benefits but Rhinehart acts like preparing food is a task only suitable for people burning in the lower levels of hell.
I have not set foot in a grocery store. Nevermore will I bumble through endless confusing aisles like a pack-donkey searching for feed while the smell of rotting flesh fills my nostrils and fluorescent lights sear my eyeballs and sappy love songs torture my ears. Grocery shopping is a multi-sensory living nightmare. There are services that will make someone else do it for me but I cannot in good conscience force a fellow soul through this gauntlet.
It’s not that bad dude! I mean yeah sometimes Wal-Mart can be a bit annoying, especially on a Sunday afternoon, but a “multi-sensory living nightmare” it is not. I worry I will be buying a one-way trip to kooky town with this guy with my first shipment of Soylent. This is what keeps me from giving it a try.
That and the fear of losing a basic part of what it means to be human. Food is a form of expression. The foods we like and dislike, way we procure food, the way we store it, prepare it, and even the way we talk about it is both unique and quite common. It’s one of the ways we connect with those around us. It is one of those basic things that reminds us all that we are more alike than we think.
So for now I choose eating my food the the old fashioned, inconvenient way.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Red Pill, Blue Pill.”