Soylent’s New Flavors and My Weekend at a Con

This past weekend I made my yearly mecca to Arisia, the big SF / Fantasy convention in Boston. I’ve been going to Arisia for almost 25 years now, sometimes as a staff member, sometimes as a volunteer, but I haven’t missed an event since 1990, so it’s sort of ritual now.

Since making the decision to make Soylent a part of my diet, I’ve waxed and waned on how much I take in. Soylent regularly changes the ‘mix’ in it’s products, so that has impacted this as well.  The original version wasn’t particularly exciting, but did fill my belly.

A few weeks ago, Soylent announced 2 new flavors for their ‘2.0’ premixed drink. I’ve been enjoying the premix bottles for 6 months already, and the opportunity to have some new flavors for Arisia seemed like a great plan.  I’d tried the ‘coffiest’ flavor, but wasn’t impressed (I like my coffee super-sweet, and coffiest was bitterer than I like).

Soylent "ready to drink" food bottles, in all 4 flavors
Soylent “ready to drink” food bottles, in all 4 flavors

I ordered 2 case (one of Cacao and one of Nectar – 12 bottles each), and they arrived in time for the con. My plan was to cover half my food intake for the event just via Soylent.

Here’s my take on the new flavors. Note that nutritionally, these are no different than the stock 2.0 bottles. They’re just flavored.

  • Nectar – A subtle taste change. My partner thinks it tastes like rose water – a slightly sweet, flowery taste. Better than the stock 2.0 flavor (which is somewhat like a think vanilla shake), but not “MMMM, this is GREAT!”.
  • Cacao – This may turn into my new favorite drink. It has a rich chocolate taste – essentially a bottle of thick chocolate milk. I’m still trying to get past feeling guilty about chugging down a small chocolate milkshake, but this is one heck of a lot better for me than a Five Guys shake (and still only 400 calories).  The trick is thinking of these as ‘food’.  So not something I’m going to have WITH a burger, but INSTEAD of a burger.

Traditionally, keeping well fed at a convention is a challenge.  Hotel food tends to be expensive, and taking time out in the middle of an event to go get a meal can be frustrating.  It’s easy to fall back on cheetos and Dr Pepper, which does no one any good.  Having what amounts to the caloric equivalent of a Subway sandwich at hand, and requiring only the time it takes to chug down the bottle (I drink mine all at once) is pretty awesome.

I think the only thing we noticed is that you have to think of the Soylent bottles as food.  NOT drink.  Both of us found we needed lots of water or similar even though we had just downed 12oz of liquid.

Overall though, it was an excellent experience.  We stayed fed, it was tasty, and we didn’t need to spend major bucks on buying food, or making a mess mixing our own powders (like you do with Soylent 1.x). Highly recommended!

Soylent – An update.

It’s been a while since I posted an update in my experimentation with Soylent as a food substitute, so here’s what’s new.

The biggest change is that Soylent has released what they’ve dubbed “Soylent 2.0” – this is a premixed version that comes in 12oz-ish bottles. The mix has been revised to be smoother, creamier, and has lost much of the ‘grainy’ issues that were in previous versions.

Soylent 2.0
Soylent 2.0
I still have a box or two of 1.5, the last version of the powder form (which Soylent has said they will continue to produce). That’s handy when I know I’m going to do an entire weekend worth of work, and want to be able to top off at any time.

The new handheld bottles sure are convenient, and I’ve taken to tossing one in my backpack as my ‘snack food’ for when I’m out and about. The new mix doesnt’ have the strong need to be refrigerated that the powder did – in fact, it seems just fine at room temperature.

My usage goes in cycles. Some weeks I’ll do 10 meals purely on Soylent. Other times I’ll go an entire week without having any. It really depends on where I am and how busy things are. For example, I’ve been home sick the last 2 days, and having ready-to-consume food right at hand has been super-helpful.

It’s a little odd to toss away a plastic bottle after every use. Granted the bottles are as recyclable as they can get, but I somewhat enjoyed the “I’ve had 3 meals from this bag of powder, and I’m throwing away one small bag”. Yes, us americans have been hard wired to place ‘tossing out a plastic bottle’ in the same category as ‘stepping on kittens’. So it’s a hard feeling to shake.

Soylent – The great experiment begins

2014-09-01 11.23.306-8 months ago I participated in a kickstarter for Soylent – an artificial food mix that is compact, nutritionally complete and storeable. I received my 2 weeks of food on Friday. The cup in this picture contains an entire meal – all the nutrients a body needs to function well.

There are people who have switched to 100% soylent meals, 3 times a day. I probably won’t go that route, at least initially, but this morning’s breakfast consisted of blending the mix, pouring it over ice, and sitting down to write this post. The rest of the blend (I made half a batch) is in the fridge for lunch.

I’m attracted to a bunch of aspects of Soylent. I like that an entire weeks worth of food is $65. I like that it doesn’t go bad (2 year shelf life). I like that prep and cleanup time is almost non existent.

On a social scale, it’s making me look at the food and food delivery industry very closely. Thousands of gallons of fuel burned so I can have a head of lettuce in january? Huge resources burned so I can enjoy a cheeseburger? This seems silly. Is it possible to feed humanity without burning the planet in the process?

Lets find out.

Some notes:
The website for Soylent is http://soylent.me – note that the ‘recipe’ for soylent is open and documented, and there are hordes of people who have made their own soylent mix (DIY). (Best name I’ve heard – People Chow).

What does it taste like? Slightly gritty milk shake. Has a muffin-y smell to it.

Aren’t you going to miss the social / enjoyable experience of eating meals? Dunno. I like gaining another hour or three a day.

Are you going to stop eating ‘normal’ food? Not at all, I’ll enjoy grillings, dinners out, common meals, whatever. But that dosn’t mean I need to do that every day.

#soylent #food

Off to NAFPV 2015!

For the next 4 days I’ll be in Stephentown, New York at the North American FPV Meet flyin, racin, and campin. For the most part I’ll be livetweeting on the USDRA Drone Racing twitter feed (please follow!) which will also be posting to the USDRA facebook page (please like!).

This’ll be an interesting test of going camping using Soylent as my primary food source also. The campsite where the event is has no running water and no food services, so I’m bringing a cooler, 2 days worth of premixed Soylent, plus a few snacks. We’ll see how this goes. 🙂

My Vacation in Crawford Notch

Around mid-November of this year, my boss pulled me aside and said “Son… I’m kickin you outta here.” Okay, he really didn’t say that, but he did let me know if I didn’t take some vacation time by the end of the year, he was going to be cranky. Since my company only rolls over 2 weeks of time each year to the next, and I had something like 4 weeks stored up, I needed to skedaddle.

But what to do? I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but I also REALLY wanted to get away and have some time to myself.

The end result was a week on my own in the White Mountains in New Hampshire…

Continue reading “My Vacation in Crawford Notch”