Soylent, the Food Alternative: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Soylent info

People are calling Soylent the ‘end of food’, which is a horrifying thought to someone who loves the culture of food. Although I spent much of my career as a food writer, I am interested in the invention of Soylent. In the same way that I advocate green smoothies for busy lifestyles, perhaps this food alternative can offer some solutions to modern life. The creator himself describes it as a “hassle-free, healthy, easy, cheap, staple meal.”

Here’s what you need to know about this total meal replacement.

1. What is Soylent?

Soylent Recipe

Soylent is a nutritional drink that is meant to be a complete alternative to food. It’s made of vitamins, minerals, protein, and carbohydrates. One can supposedly survive on Soylent without eating any additional food.

2. Who Created Soylent?

Soylent was developed by software engineer Rob Rhinehart. He developed the formula based on his own personal health and nutrition research. Watch the above video for an interview with Rhinehart, in which he talks about how the created Soylent.

The commercial version was financed by a crowdfunding campaign that raised over $3.5M. The first shipment of the packaged version began in May 2014.

Rhinehart describes how it all started on his blog:

In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming. I am pretty young, generally in good health, and remain physically and mentally active. I don’t want to lose weight. I want to maintain it and spend less energy getting energy.

I hypothesized that the body doesn’t need food itself, merely the chemicals and elements it contains.

So, I resolved to embark on an experiment. What if I consumed only the raw ingredients the body uses for energy? Would I be healthier or do we need all the other stuff that’s in traditional food? If it does work, what would it feel like to have a perfectly balanced diet? I just want to be in good health and spend as little time and money on food as possible.

I haven’t eaten a bite of food in 30 days, and it’s changed my life.

3. Taste Review: How Does Soylent Taste?

Soylent taste

Some people describe it as doughy liquid, and others describe it as tasting like cream of wheat, oatmeal, or Metamucil. Most people describe it as very filling. Personally, I didn’t find the taste to be as terrible as it looked, and it was certainly not as unpleasant as some protein shakes that I’ve taste tested before. I’d describe it as tasting like watery pancake batter. And even though that description doesn’t sound appealing, it was not gag-inducing or very difficult to drink.

4. Soylent Ingredients and Recipe

In the spirit of Open Source, the makers of Soylent have actually made the ingredients available to all. On their DIY soylent page, they encourage people to swap recipes and their own DIY stories.

Watch the above video by Abraham Riesman of New York Magazine, as he demonstrates how to make one day’s worth of Soylent at home.

DIY Soylent Recipe:

120g of oat flour
85g of soy protein
85g of olive oil
75g of brown sugar
25g of brown flax
20g of cocoa powder
15 of lethicin
10 of potassium citrate
2g of iodized salt
1g of Emergen-C
500 mL of water

DIY Soylent Instructions:

Pour dry portions into a bowl. Stir well. Then combine one-third of the dry mixture with one-third of the olive oil and all of the water in a large cup. Refrigerate for two hours. Then drink the whole cup.

One glass of Soylent replaces one entire meal.

For your next two meals of the day, use the remaining two-thirds of the Soylent to make two meals.

5. How Much Does Soylent Cost?

Soylent cost

Soylent costs about $3 per meal. According to the Soylent website, a one-month supply (84+ meals) costs between $255-300, depending on whether you are doing a one-time order or getting it every month. In the past, Rhinehart has said that he would like to one day get the cost of Soylent down to $5 per day (~$150 per month).