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My thoughts on D.I.Y. soylent

3 minute read • June 18, 2014

Over on the Soylent discussion forum, Nicole Goodkind asked for people’s thought on Soylent. I emailed her and decided I might as well put it up here too.

Some people on the forum and reddit get uppity if you call the DIY soylent “Soylent” with a capital S and I’m not cool enough to have gotten the real stuff.

I saw the kickstarter campaign back when it first happened and initially thought it was a joke campaign somebody put together with a relabeled energy bar labeled “Soylent” as a play on the movie. I though “dangit – I should have thought of that!.” It was nearly 2 weeks later that I realized that it was an actual thing with a real product that wasn’t a joke. I talked with some friends at work about it and I got pretty excited when I saw the Ars Technica series on it. I wanted to order some but didn’t want to pay $250 for a month and didn’t want to wait.
New Years Day 2014 I finally decided I was going to DIY it, mostly as a way to control calories and lose weight. I researched a bit and arrived on the most popular recipe “People Chow” as the one I would go with. I drove around to vitamin stores in my local area trying to find all the ingredients but being a holiday I was stymied in my efforts. I ordered what I hadn’t been able to buy locally off Amazon and waited a few days for the stuff to arrive.
My family has been supportive, mostly because I’m not drinking soylent 100% of the time. I did that at first and still try to stick to it as much as possible to lose weight; but it’s hard to pass up a really nice dinner that I’ve cooked for the wife and kids. When we have a big get together I don’t even worry about it; why would I eat soylent when there’s bbq chicken or broccoli covered in nacho cheese?
The convenience of mixing up a cup of powder in a blender bottle is the nicest part (see my post at or my post at ). For counting calories it’s ideal – I put in my exercise, add “Low Cal People Chow” for breakfast, lunch and (usually) dinner and I’m done. I recently changed my method for measuring the ingredients and now I’m doing a week’s worth of meals in 15 minutes. I feel better than I did before I started and my blood work was rather good last check ( except for a vitamin D deficiency that’s easily fixed with a supplement. I’m planning on continuing on DIY soylent for quite a while (years or longer). Back in March I bought a bunch of bulk ingredients and computed that I had spent $500 so far on the endeavor but had enough ingredients to last me until early June (yep, still true – it’ll be time to reorder some stuff in about 2 weeks) and $100 a month for food is a pretty good figure.
Recently I’ve been investigating Keytogenic DIY soylent. I first heard of the concept when my son was having seizures and going on a keytogenic diet was one of the proposed treatments. Trying to manage that kind of diet (little to no carbs, all fats and protein – think Atkins-ish) sounded like a nightmare and we were able to control his seizures with medication that he’s since grown out of. But with soylent, the prospect of doing a major and radical diet change like that is more about picking a recipe, modifying it a bit for my requirements and buying the new ingredients I don’t have already. It’s a complete paradigm shift in the way *I* look at food. This is, however, one area the current official Soylent falls short: the customizability. You’re on a sodium restricted diet? Soy Allergy? Vegan? Wheat intolerant? I’ve seen recipes for all of them. Rob and the rest of the Rosa Labs crew has, however, talked about the possibility of different formulations in the future.
I don’t know if Soylent (or soylent) is THE future but I suspect it has enough traction that it’s going to be a food option for the future. I’d love to get my widower father-in-law on Soylent since he doesn’t cook much more than Mac and Cheese since his wife passed and rarely eats veggies. He’s a perfect case for it – I’m just not sure if he could handle the taste of the official (I’m certain he wouldn’t handle mixing up the DIY). One of my work buddies likes the idea of using Soylent for a shelf stable emergency food – sounds like a perfect application. I highly doubt “muggle” food is going anywhere but Soylent is great option for easy, convenient, unremarkable meals.

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