Eating is one of those simple, mechanical tasks that is so easy in principal, but so time-consuming in reality.
Eating at home is certainly the cheaper option, but it requires the time spent shopping and preparing the food, plus the even more time-consuming, ghastly and horrific climax of having to wage war against a sink full of dishes. Eating out is less work, of course, but this benefit is negated by it being more expensive. The time spent working, so that one can afford for eat out regularly, renders this option equally problematic. However, there’s no beating our need to consume. Eating is an addiction we can’t really be freed from.
But what if there was an easy solution?
To understand exactly what Soylent is, the best way to start is to watch the informative video here on their website. Don’t worry, it’s short – and packed full of interesting information!
From the official website:
Soylent™ was developed from a need for a simpler food source. Creator Robert Rhinehart and team developed Soylent after recognizing the disproportionate amount of time and money they spent creating nutritionally complete meals.
Soylent is a food product (classified as a food, not a supplement, by the FDA) designed for use as a staple meal by all adults. Each serving of Soylent provides maximum nutrition with minimum effort.
While we’re at it, let’s take a look at Rhinehart’s interview on The Colbert Report. Good stuff, and pretty informative. Also, some information here from the official website’s FAQ:
1. Healthy: Soylent’s nutritional makeup includes protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and vitamins and minerals such as potassium, iron and calcium. It includes all of the elements of a healthy diet, without undesirables such as sugars, saturated fats, or cholesterol.
2. Easy: Soylent is a convenient powder that is mixed with water.
3. Cheap: Healthy food can be expensive and takes time to prepare. At around $3/meal, Soylent is affordable.
So by now, we all understand the basic idea. Soylent (the name of which is, yes, inspired by Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room!) is a substance that’s intended to replace food for at least one meal a day, or all three meals for the more ambitious among us. Minimal preparation, low cost, bland flavor and barely any time consumption whatsoever. While opinions differ wildly—at least one writer for The New York Times called it “the most joyless new technology to hit the world since we first laid eyes on MS-DOS” —I think that this view misses the point. Nobody eats something like Soylent for the taste, and Soylent clearly isn’t intended to be pleasurable; it’s a product made for purely functional reasons, for people that are so busy and pressed for time that they don’t care about the more pleasurable aspects of food. Admittedly, this isn’t everyone, but the growing popularity of Soylent does point toward a sizable audience.
As for me? Soylent certainly holds a strong appeal. I’m so continually busy that I often will grab at the quickest, least involved item of food available, more for the sake of filling my stomach than enjoying it. Now, I wouldn’t want to survive off of only Soylent, as I do love eating; occasions like dinner and lunch are important social rituals that shouldn’t be left behind, and there are few things as amazing as a well-prepared meal. That said, I can’t imagine that most people are interested in a Soylent-only diet; reportedly, even Rhinehart still supplements his Soylent intake with regular food.
While I’m still on the fence, I’ll admit to being very tempted by the idea of using it to replace some of the more rushed meals of the day, such as breakfast. As someone who is definitely not a morning person, my so-called “breakfast” is usually a rushed and sordid affair that involves jamming unappetizing items into my stomach as quickly as possible, until the hunger stops. Soylent would offer a nice, easy alternative. That said, I don’t want to rush it into it. My current feeling is that I’d rather wait until some more research studies are done reflecting the effects of Soylent on health. In the meantime, I’ll keep tabs on it for a year or so.
The other potentially wonderful benefit of Soylent is that its creation could be an amazing new development in the fight against world hunger, which is something Rhinehart intends to use it for. Cheap, nutritious and easily produced, Soylent could potentially change the game in a big way.
So what do you guys think?
To Soylent or not to Soylent?