In a surprise move to exactly no-one, my blog once again fell silent for several months. It was the usual combination of life, the universe, and everything else that got in the way of blogging. Or more accurately, an overzealous attempt to pump out meaningful, meaty posts 4 times a week. My blogging streak came to a predictable end.
Rather than posting the blogging equivalent of tweets or Facebook updates, I decided it was better to take a break until I had the energy to devote to formal blogging again. I’ll still throw my better judgement to the wind and try to get back into that prolific posting habit again. But I fully expect to slow down again at some point.
Getting to something of actual interest, I wanted to provide a bit of a follow-up on my Soylent experiences. When we last left our Soylent story, I had recently completed a two-month self-imposed Soylent challenge. The form of Soylent I was consuming was the powder version, mixed with water and flavoring of my own choosing into a simple-tasting slurry of nutrition.
But while a dedicated and disciplined Soylent regimen worked out just fine (besides a hankering for even the most mundane forms of actual food), I found that mixing Soylent with other forms of food proved incredibly difficult to maintain. Point in fact: since those two months of 100% Soylent, I haven’t gone more than a day or two at most of pure Soylent consumption. In most cases my Soylent intake has been sporadic at best.
So it was with great interest that I have been considering (and in some cases already tried) some new forms of Soylent. The first of these was Soylent Drink. Introduced several months ago, it is essentially just the powder in pre-mixed bottles. I didn’t really consider it a worthwhile investment since it wasn’t really a different product but just pre-mixed (in 400 calorie increments) for people too lazy to mix their own. I eventually learned that it is a different product, since it has none of the grainy-ness of the powder that puts off most people. And the propensity for laziness shouldn’t be ignored – after all, Soylent was designed for people too lazy to cook.
The next version unveiled a couple weeks ago is Coffiest: essentially the Soylent Drink (also 400 calories) but with coffee added “to provide a natural source of caffeine and flavor.” It’s about the same amount of caffeine as a standard cup of joe. But in addition, they added l-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea. The goal being to reduce the “jitters” associated with copious amounts of caffeine consumption.
I was intrigued. One of the toughest post-Soylent challenges I had to adjust to was the consuming of coffee non-stop at work (since I had gone cold turkey on coffee during my two months of Soylent). I enjoy drinking coffee, but I tend to do so without balancing it out with eating/snacking throughout the day. A caffeine high followed by a caffeine crash are inevitable outcomes of that coffee binging behavior. So the idea of a liquid form of nutrition that could be ingested at the same time as my coffee-sipping habit seemed like a win-win scenario.
In large part, consuming Coffiest has been a very positive experience. The taste is almost indistinguishable from that of a Starbucks double-shot (based on memory – I haven’t had a double-shot in a while). But Coffiest comes without the jolt of extra caffeine from a double-shot, and has none of the jitters thanks to the l-theanine (I found this to be the case in my own personal experience). I like it so much, however, that I need to avoid letting it become my main or sole source of nutrition throughout the day. That’s 5-cups of coffee’s worth of caffeine per day – not crazy, but probably not a healthy template for consuming that much caffeine every single day.
Finally, the most recent addition to the Soylent product stack is the Soylent Bar. It’s an even smaller portion of your daily nutrition intake (250 calories, standard for a nutrition bar), but is more ideal for fitting in between larger meals. I along with many others online have been pining for a solid form of Soylent since the beginning, so this new product is enticing especially due to its portability (doesn’t need to be chilled like any of the liquid-based versions to taste good).
So with a selection of sci-fi Soylent food within reach, could I meet a daily’s nutritional intake through a combination of Soylent Bars, Soylent Drink, and Coffiest, skipping the powder altogether?
Not quite. Unless price is no objection, the big downside to the alternative forms of Soylent (besides the powder) is how expensive they are. Convenience has a real cost. While it’s roughly the same among the alternative forms, they are all about double the cost of the powder when viewed from a cost-per-day of purely Soylent-based nutrition. That Coffiest sure is delicious, as well as being cheaper and more nutritious than a Starbucks latte. But when considering it as a regular part of a day’s Soylent-based diet (2,000 calories), it becomes pricey:
So where does that leave my Soylent plans? I’ve already demonstrated that mixing the powder form with other food isn’t practical: once mixed with water, the powder-based Soylent needs to be refrigerated and consumed within about a day (in my experience) before it starts to thicken and go bad. Let me tell you, there’s nothing less appealing than a pitcher of Soylent that has turned. (But maybe Soylent beer/vodka/whiskey has a future?)
Given the price of the alternative forms of Soylent, I can’t justify the cost purely by those means (28 days of alternative Soylent would be $432). The Soylent Bar gives me hope, though. If I can find a way to form a bar of dried Soylent powder (adhered together somehow), I could have the cost-effective benefit of the powder with the convenience of the bar. It’s basically the holy grail of the Soylent experience, but is largely an experimental realm for the DIY crowd for the time being.
Who knows, maybe with some tinkering I can find a way to reach that final goal of a cheap Soylent bar. At the very least, I can use up some of those remaining bags of Soylent powder sitting in the kitchen pantry in my quest for the holy grail …