How I Stopped Eating Food – Kind Of

SoylentWould you like to know what bothers me? Well, if you really don’t, you should probably stop reading, ’cause I’m going to tell you. One thing that bothers me is how necessary, and simultaneously inefficient food is for people. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love food – It’s so stupidly delicious. But, just like anything that I love, I hate needing it – I hate the fact that I am required to consume a certain amount of food on a daily basis to live. Why do I hate this? It’s similar to the idea where, if you work a job doing the thing you love, eventually, the thing you love is going to turn in to labored work instead of an enjoyable hobby. Another good comparison could be made with seeing a movie: I love going to the theater, but if I were forced to go three to four times per day, every single day, eventually I would no longer enjoy it. Eventually, I would just want to get it over with. That’s not to say I wouldn’t enjoy specific movies, and wouldn’t be excited about my favorite new release, but honestly, if I went to a theater three times a day, the amount of enjoyment I would feel from seeing even my favorite movie, would be diminished. When I have to that same thing endlessly every single day, the amount of happiness it provides me – even from my absolute favorite – is cheapened.

So, how does one resolve this issue? How do you take an action like consuming Food, and turn it in to something that you aren’t required to do, thus maximizing the enjoyment you find in it? How do you turn food into something you don’t have to eat, but rather, you only consume when you want to eat?

SoylentWell, for me, this came about two years ago from a guy named Robert Rhinehart, in the form of a product called Soylent. He had a similar idea as I did, except it was also about maximizing his time for other things. He was an electrical engineer, and disliked how much time he spent shopping for food, preparing his food, and cleaning up after consuming his food. In an interview at the Digital Health Summit in 2014, Rhinehart explained:

“It seems like the big problem today is people are stressed, you know? People don’t have a lot of time. People need a little more simplicity in their life. I certainly did, and I found that one of my biggest hassles – one of my biggest expenditures – was food. It was taking a lot of time, a lot of money, and I still wasn’t eating that well. And so I thought, maybe we could simplify it a little bit. Maybe we could, you know, treat it as an engineering problem and break it down just to the essentials and get exactly what you need and nothing you don’t. I wondered what that would taste like – what that would be like. And, it turns out: it’s pretty great.

“So, I did some research, and a lot of development over the past year, and we have this product called Soylent, which is meant to be basically a hassle-free, healthy, easy, cheap, staple meal. You know, when you don’t want to worry about food, you have this default that’s always there. It doesn’t spoil for a long time. It costs $3 a meal. It’s delivered right to your door. No going to the grocery store. No doing dishes. No cooking. Of course, you can still do all of that if you want, it’s just nice to have an option.”

Personally, I couldn’t agree more with what Rhinehart wanted. He had this idea two years ago, and decided to start a crowd-funding campaign to make it happen. I was one of the supporters, ordering a two-week supply. I was extremely excited. Sadly, it took substantially longer than I would’ve liked, but realistically, Soylent was a new company, just starting off, and needed to take care of countless things before being able to ship a full product. So, while it did take nearly a year after the crowd-funding campaign ended to ship out my supply of Soylent, honestly, I was more than happy to wait.

My initial experience with Soylent was pretty damn amazing. So … to be entirely honest, from January 2014, until Soylent arrived in early August, I treated my meal intake with complete reckless abandon. I consumed whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, in whatever quantity I wanted, all under the idea that I would be giving up food completely when Soylent arrived – that’s one of the reasons why I was sad it took longer than expected; because I stretched that mindset just a little too long. By the time August rolled around, I weighed more than I have ever weighed in my life: a little over 250lbs. However, when I started Soylent, I paired that with heavy exercise, and cut all food out of my diet, except on my Birthday … I ate quite a bit on that day…. BUT! By the end of October – only three months of a 100% Soylent diet, I was down to 220lbs. Thirty pounds in just three months! That’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

Currently, I only run a few miles maybe two or three times a week, and even more infrequently make it to the gym once every week or two. As far as my meals go, Soylent makes my work-day extremely smooth; I consume Soylent for breakfast and lunch, then typically have dinner with my Wife. Doing this allows me to remain at my desk for most of my work-day, and increase my productivity. While everyone else takes an hour break for lunch, I can either finish up my work, or just fuck around on the internet and zone out for an hour. Then, when I come home, if I don’t want to go out to get food, or if I’m low on funds due to financial reckless abandon (I probably do that a little too much), I can just consume another meal of Soylent and be done with it. Or, if I want to spend time out with my Wife and enjoy the evening with some delicious foodstuffs, I have that option as well. Just the idea of not being required to find and consume food, is really nice. As Rhinehart say: “you can still do all of that if you want, it’s just nice to have an option”.

If you’re interested in this idea as much as I was (and still very much am), you should go check out their website over here. They have different pricing if you’re getting a subscription or a single shipment, but honestly, they let you cancel any time, so if you just want to try it, get the subscription and cancel before the following month. The subscription pricing is $70 for a week supply, which consists of 28 meals, coming out to $2.50 per meal. You can also get a two-week supply for $130; $2.32 per meal, or a month supply for $255; $2.28 per meal.

Personally, I very much support this product, and I do highly recommend it. If you have an questions, feel entirely free to ask in the comments section. I will do my best to explain anything you’re curious about.

  • Scott Loper

    Hi Joel!

    I’ve tried Soylent 1.0 and it didn’t agree with me all that well, and I’ve also tried 100% Food. You provided me with a sample of 1.3 (thank you much, sir) and I found the taste to have changed a bit but it agreed with me better. I find that 100% Food is the one that I prefer specifically when I dress it up with other things that are tasty, like almond butter and fruit. I still really like food and tend to eat because I get enjoyment out of it. Thank you for starting the future-food conversation. 🙂


    • Joel

      I’m definitely glad there are multiple version of these things out there, and that you’ve found one that works best for you, Scott. I do agree that Soylent 1.3 made things easier and tastier, and they’ve been getting substantially better with every iteration. Soylent 1.4 has been my favorite so far, but I do still feel the need to add a sweetener to each meal. I hear that Soylent 1.5 is making this tastier, though, so maybe the next version will be good enough to consume without any additives.