Life Wellbeing I drank nothing but homemade Soylent for a month
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I drank nothing but homemade Soylent for a month

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Adam Farrow-Palmer gave up chewing for this flavourless meal substitute. Photo: Adam Farrow-Palmer
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Soylent has fascinated me since I first heard about it – mainly because I find everything to do with buying and preparing meals for myself boring.

Designed to negate the need to eat ‘real food’, the product Soylent was invented by software engineer Rob Rhineheart, before company Rosa Labs began packaging and selling it in 2014.

I was planning a trip away to an isolated rural property – 28 days, mostly alone. It seemed like the perfect time to conduct the experiment.

Using the website diy.soylent.com, I chose a recipe for a homemade version by user ‘brad2014’ – the main ingredients being oat flour, whey protein and milk powder.

Including shipping, I spent $225.87 on 30 days worth of meals, breaking down to $2.51 per meal.

For those considering a similar experiment, by far the most expensive ingredient was unflavoured whey protein isolate – $72.50 for 2 kilograms.0903soylent-80

I then began my journey into the world of flavourless liquid nutrition.

Day one

I had my last piece of solid food driving on the dirt road about 5km from the farm – leftover cold pork sausage. Not exactly ritualistic for a ‘last meal’.

By 6:30pm I was famished and blended 140 grams of my DIY mix with water. A quick zhush and I had a cream-coloured mixture with the consistency of a latte … but with some gritty bits.

The first sip was surprisingly enjoyable  – like milk. I made a video of it and was feeling pretty chuffed.

Day three

Like XXXX beer, the flavour of Soylent is intentionally bland so you don’t get sick of it.

But it’s winter, so why not hot chocolate for breakfast? I added cocoa powder, Nutella and honey to my mixture, then boiling water instead of cold.

It coagulated into a gelatinous clot that would offend an apprentice sewer worker.

Being stubborn and more than a little masochistic, I added more water and then some milo.

The Soylent power in all its glory.
The Soylent powder in all its glory.

In my late teens I played a drinking game and was made to drink a mixture of Ouzo, beer, milk and pickle juice. Within two minutes I was leaning over a toilet bowl.

That experience was far more enjoyable than finishing off the cocoa-glug.

I tried the band-aid removal philosophy, downing it swiftly, but at 750mL it was more like ripping off a band-aid that went from ankle to nipple, passing over the hairiest bits.

Day five

Mixing hot water with Soylent powder is a no-no.
Mixing hot water with Soylent powder is a no-no.

Do not mix hot water with Soylent.

Do not mix hot water with Soylent.

Do not mix hot water with Soylent.

After eating a litre of flavourless, gritty, Soylent dough with a spoon I will not forget this new rule. (A friend later tells me this is happens because of the psyllium husk powder).

Day eight

It’s been eight days since I last chewed.

Today I’ve been fixated on slow-cooked lamb, hand-cut chips battered with polenta and, for some reason, goulash.

The thoughts are distracting from my important work of reading, drinking coffee and listening to birds, so I dig up the only snack I can find: Light and Tangy chips, Chicken Crimpy Shapes and a whole bag of chocolate chip cookies. None of it lives up to my expectations.

Day 10

At one with nature: enjoying some Soylent in the bush.
At one with nature: enjoying some Soylent in the bush.

I’ve been drinking coffee, tea, beer, cordial, lemonade, port, vodka and hot chocolate to excite the ‘ole tastebuds. Partnered with the advice from brad2014 to drink two litres of water per day, I am getting a lot of fluid in.

It’s convenient that I’m on an isolated rural property, because the world is my toilet.

I have visited one eucalypt tree so many times it now leans away when I walk by.

Day 13

Adding Moccona Espresso granules to Soylent powder: One star.

Day 19

I started a timer before I started preparing dinner tonight. It took three and a half minutes to shake, drink and clean.

Day 23

The whole liquid diet thing is functioning, like my bowels, perfectly. There is a lot of fibre in this concoction and I doubt I will ever have movements of this quality again.

Day 28

The author enjoys some Soylent whilst on the farm.
The author downs some Soylent during his stay on a remote rural property.

There is no relish in my heart as I down my final shake. The thought of buying ingredients and preparing them and cleaning up afterwards feels like more of a burden than a privilege.

However, the thought of butter-poached barramundi, mussels, linguine and bottarga shared with a group of my favourite loved ones warms my heart.

Epilogue

While fact-checking this story, I discovered my dosage was 124 per cent of the recommendation. This probably explains why my weight stayed constant even though my exercise increased.

I finish the experiment enthused about the possibilities of Soylent and convinced I will eat it again.

N.B. Only a clown would drastically change their diet without discussing it with a professional healthcare practitioner. Naturopaths don’t count.

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