Soylent is a relatively new product on the market, produced by a silicone valley team of software techies. It is a carbohydrate based liquid food. Per serving, the oat flour and maltodextrin based drink has 84g of carbs and 38g of protein, with just a measly 5g of fat. I would have liked to have seen more fat than that present…..but then, I would say that…..
Rob Rhinehart, the 24 year old hacker that invented Soylent knew nothing about nutrition before he started, and even if he did, in my opinion nobody in the human race knows enough about nutrition to mess about like this. I do know that the body needs whole foods and not just the atomic nutrients that make them up, and that chewing and saliva are important for many digestive enzymes. Our bodies digest for a reason, and every facet of the process from biting and chewing to farting and pooping plays a part. But of course, humans think that they know better and insist on looking for alternative methods to attaining adequate nutrition.
Personally, I like chewing, its fun.
And then there is a ton of added vitamins and minerals. And it was tested pretty much only by the guy that made it before it was approved for public sale and of course, seeing as he only come up with the idea last year there is no long term evidence that trying to survive on liquid food alone is not detrimental to health. I did a fair amount of research into Soylent before I let my initial horror form too much of an opinion for me.
The tagline on their webiste;
What if you never had to worry about food again’
Don’t even get me started.
I will tell you right now, this is a tough product for me to write about impartially.
I want to hate it. I want Soylent to fail for many reasons;
Firstly, its personal, I have spent so much of my time and energy healing my relationship with food, with eating. And now I spend my time and energy trying to help others heal theirs, and what I see on a daily basis is a big old mess. Thats not Soylents fault, thats just what is happening. We humans – as a species- are getting further and further away from our food, its just this stuff that you buy in some store and many people do not have a relationship with it at all…
Then, the second reason that I want Soylent to fail is because it utterly depresses me that it is even a reality. That people are working so hard, are so engrossed in computers that they see eating food as an inconvenience, so really my issues here are not with Soylent the product, or the people that have made it, but more with the reality that this is what is happening.
Did you know that studies are showing that teenage boys are becoming less sexually dominant or interested – and that the hypothesized reason for this is that they are finding fulfillment on their computers?
And good grief is that depressing! People are becoming so detached from their bodies and so into their heads that things like food and sex are taking a back seat to gaming.
I want to hate Soylent because it is everything that I see to be wrong with nutrition, that people are getting more and more detached from their foods, that eating is seen as a chore not a pleasure, the the ability to stop, to enjoy a meal with friends or family is for some not something that is desirable or even attainable.
But then, maybe this is not all about me.
I understand that for some, this need for something fast and nutritious is a reality, and not everyone feels like me, some people would rather work or game or do whatever it is that they do to feel satisfied and happy. For these people, at least Soylent is giving them some form of nutrition where Cheetos were not. I wanted to find out more and sent multiple emails full of questions to the manufacturers, none have been answered yet. That was three months ago. I get it, they are busy writing code.
I spoke to my husband about this, he is a computer programmer, and I asked him “Is this a reality for people working in this field? That they cannot take the time out to eat…” And he told me that it was, and that especially those in the gaming programming line of work there is so much pressure that people go for hours not eating anything. For these people even fast food is too messy, and their fingers are occupied, so a drink -liquid food- is helpful. Much as I hate to admit it Soyent is much more nutritious than the sugary cola that many of them live on.
Its depressing to think that people are choosing to eat what looks like an even thinner version of gruel because their lives are too busy and stressful for them to get up from their computers and eat real food. Invalids used to be the only people in the market for something that looks like this.
The reality is that I cannot change the world by hating Soylent, a product that has been manufactured out of necessity by a group of very intelligent boys so that they can give their bodies what they need while they obsessively program computers. Maybe Soylent and the need for liquid food is just a tiny part of a much bigger problem.