The Convenience of Soylent and What it Means to be Human

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 :)

Soylent.com Free your body

Soylent.com Soylent Powder 1.5 details

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.

soylent-food

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.

soylent-berries

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.

You can learn more about Soylent at soylent.com and check out Rhinehart’s blog at blog.soylent.com.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Red Pill, Blue Pill.”

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Published by

Lisa

Hello! My name is Lisa. I find the human condition fascinating and I often write stuff about that. I blog at zenandpi.com but you can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, and if you like what I do, consider signing up for my newsletter. Thanks :)

13 thoughts on “The Convenience of Soylent and What it Means to be Human”

  1. Well, great article but I beg to differ. If you eat only Soylent, your teeth will fall because mastication is a part of dental health. For now Soylent repels me, it seems cold, not generous and depressing. I’d love a food substitute that provide me with as much fun as a good meal does.

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    1. I looked into the teeth/chewing issue while writing this and chose not to include it because I got contradictory information. From what I can tell it is possible your jaw would deteriorate over time from lack of chewing BUT this could be prevented by chewing a sugar free gum a couple of times a day.

      I do agree that Soylent sounds a little depressing, like the extreme minimalists that encourage people to wear the same clothes everyday, but you can’t deny the convenience and the time saving benefit. I think it is something to consider but I wonder if there could be a middle road between “grey goop” and the stress of day-to-day meal preparation?

      Thanks for reading :)

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      1. I think it’s cultural. I love to cook and I do not feel any stress because of it. It does indeed take time but it is also a matter of transmitting knowledge to my kid and spending time with her. Substitutes likes Soylent take all this away. That’s why they feel cold to be. Who organizes a get together were people only drink out of a bottle without the effect of actual drinks. No one. In my imagination Soylent is a solution for a young urban over booked professional, whose focus is on career and nothing else. When you have a little more time or other interests, food and cooking seem the perfect glue to conversation, social events, conviviality in general.

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        1. I think people who enjoy cooking can’t understand how much of a chore it is for people who don’t like cooking. I dread having to cook, it feels similar to having to do dishes or laundry. My girlfriend loves to cook so I am lucky but if I were single this would be very appealing for me.

          I do enjoy eating food though. I like going out to dinner and going to friends houses and eating their cooking when the occasion arises so I would hate to give up the social aspects of food.

          I do think that Soylent for breakfast or lunch would be fine though. Those are the meals I don’t have much time for and I find myself eating foods that aren’t all that good for me to save time. Sometimes I eat nothing at all until dinner. Soylent has to be better then that.

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          1. Sure if it’s your only solution. Many people already chose this king of solution and I can’t help but think it’s a bit sad.
            I do understand that if cooking is lived as a chore someone would try to get rid of it. That’s logical.

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            1. To each his own I guess. For some of us a simple, nutritional solution isn’t sad, it’s a relief. I’d still want to attend barbecues and birthday parties and potlucks of course though, and I would have to indulge in a nice juicy steak here and there too :)

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    1. I’m not sure if you mean my post or the product :/ I assure you my post is serious and Soylent is quite real.

      According to Wikipedia:

      “The product’s name is based on Harry Harrison’s 1966 science fiction novel Make Room! Make Room!</em in which the food product derives from soya and lentils. The term is, however, commonly associated with its 1973 film adaptation Soylent Green, in which the eponymous food supplement is made from human remains."

      I happen to think naming it after Soylent Green sounds way cooler lol

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      1. I thought perhaps the product was bogus..Do you remember that Soylent Green was made out of ground up human bodies? What an association..Truth is stranger than fiction! Wonder if anyone ever said that before? Ha.

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        1. Lol yes I do remember that, I like creepy stuff like that though so the Soylent Green association doesn’t really turn me off the stuff. I find it funny.

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  2. I love to cook and eat but I’m really picky so I don’t eat a lot of veggies. I think it would be great to eat something that would give you all the nutrients you need per day. (Although, I guess you have vitamins for that.) I bet we can all send this to starving people around the world though. That would be beneficial for everyone!

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    1. I believe that is Rhinehart’s goal. He wants Soylent to eventually be available to everyone so that we never have to worry about starvation or malnutrition again. I can definitely get behind that!

      Liked by 1 person

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