So, I pulled the trigger and have purchased a subscription for 56 meals of Soylent to try as a replacement for either skipping breakfast/lunch or the really bad meals I often eat for both (noodle cups, frozen taquitos, frozen pizzas, etc). It will not be 100% replacement, though. I love food way too much for that. I'm not the only one. When I asked a friend on Facebook who had tried it, his comment was a little less than reassuring:
This response really made sense to me since I had been researching Soylent before deciding to try it. Many of the articles on it had to do with weekly or 30 day challenges. I was not so interested in that as I was in simple replacement for some meals. One of the key things that kept coming up in the articles was how the writers missed meal interactions. That makes sense. We're social beasts, and even the most introverted of us sometimes like interactions, albeit with people we are comfortable with and trust. That, for me, was also not a concern since the two main meals that I'm replacing are breakfast and lunch.
When I wake up, I take the puppies out to go to the bathroom and then feed them. Then I usually check the interwebs for interesting things I missed since turning out my light the night before or playing a short session of whatever game I'm playing at the time*. Usually I forgo breakfast, but in the past have made protein shakes. Making Soylent the night before seemed like a pretty good idea.
Then for lunches, I head over to the Nursing department and have lunch with with my wife. Usually there are several different people there, and they are on all sorts of different nutrition plans. There's also usually a ton of sweets (cakes, cookies, cupcakes, homemade candies, etc). So drinking a shake for lunch was not so weird in that environment. And if I really needed something, I could have another goodie. Plus, I could be social, too.
If you haven't heard or read about Soylent, it is a basic meal replacement shake. Unlike some shakes that replace meals with a specific target in mind (Muscle Milk for a post-workout protein push, etc), Soylent just wants to be a general purpose meal replacement shake with all of the nutrients that a normal person needs. From what I had read, it supposedly tasted a bit chalky but slightly sweet. Since it's a vegan product, I worried that it would taste like the other absolutely awful vegan shakes on the market. The companies that make those shakes must hate vegans and want to murder them starting with their taste buds. Seriously, that shit is rank. Like gargling a colostomy fluid rank.
I'm "eating" Soylent 1.5, the powdered form, since the pre-mixed 2.0 is way outside of my budget--1.5 was a ways out as well, but I'll try it and see how it goes. But the marketing for 2.0 seemed a little off to me.
So instead of bottles, I have bags. Nothing says "amazing meal" like sterile white bags full of powder with nutritional information on the front. Oh, and software version numbers--really, they started with 1.0 and are now on 1.5 for the powders and just released 2.0 for the bottled release. They even have Soylent "release notes." Github this shit now.
At least I won't have to try to mix in the oil blend as well. Now it uses powdered oils for its fat content. Before reading about Soylent, I had no idea that oils could be powdered. It seems like anything can be powdered now!
Here is what you'll receive with 2 weeks worth of Soylent:
Anyway, the recommendations that I've seen mention putting it in a blender with some ice for a better texture and letting it chill overnight in the refrigerator to break down any further clumps and thicken a little. The official manual only talks about using room-temperature water to help texture and then to add ice (or pour over ice). I actually used the water cooler that we have and a large shaker cup to mix up a meal this morning and it worked very well. It did not clump at all. I also added ice, but I don't think I needed it. If I hadn't had the shaker ball, I probably would have needed it to mix it better.
Since I'm familiar with other vegan protein shakes and the hellishly evil stench and flavor concoctions that masochist food scientists come up with, I was surprised that Soylent had very little smell. It was similar to a chalk bag that athletes use to avoid slipping. There was really not much scent at all. Which was great in my book. That said, there was also not much flavor, which is the point. They wanted to make it as neutral as possible and they did. When people say that it tastes like cardboard, they're not kidding. I didn't really taste the sweet that others mention...or the salt. Just a strange, bland, liquid. There is an almost almondy aftertaste. It reminded me of almond flour or garbanzo bean flour (though to be honest garbanzo bean flour has more flavor). Not unpleasant, but not the kind of thing that keeps you coming back for more. I thought this image from Soylent Green was pretty accurate for the flavor.
* I wish I had a gif of players running up to me in Destiny to request joining my fireteam...and me teleporting up to my ship because I hate people. Back to reading.