Soylent has become a mainstream topic, mostly thanks to a recent feature article in The New Yorker.
For those who don’t know about it, Soylent is a nutritionally complete drink invented by Rob Rhinehart, a Bay-Area engineer and entrepreneur. It comes as a powder you mix with water and oil. Theoretically, it contains everything the body needs to thrive, without much of anything else.
Rob announced his invention in a blog post a year ago, entitled How I Stopped Eating Food, claiming that he had not eaten a bite of food in 30 days and felt better than ever.
After a lot of experimenting and refining, Soylent is officially on the market now, and customers are now experimenting with it. It’s early, but their results seem generally positive.
I first heard about it late last year from a friend of mine, who’s different from most of us in that she often finds eating to be a chore. She doesn’t particularly like preparing food for herself (although she does like preparing it for others) and usually only eats for sustenance. So to her Soylent sounded like a dream come true, and she’s been following its progress ever since.
When she told me about it, my reaction was, “That’s neat, but no thanks. I like food.” In fact, I like food so much that I want more opportunities to eat it, not fewer. Why would I want to waste a chance to eat by filling myself with an engineered bio-fuel, when I could be making a curry or fresh bread? Later I would find some compelling reasons.
The most hated beverage on the internet
After reading the New Yorker article, I spent quite a while on the web reading people’s opinions of Soylent. They seem to be mostly negative (although the accounts of early users are mostly positive.)
In the gloves-off world of internet “discussion,” most of the criticisms were, predictably, empty ad hominems directed at Rhinehart and the people who like his idea — “Too lazy to cook,” “Hate life so much they detest even food,” “Self-loathing hipsters who would give up their last remaining joy to find 90 more minutes a day to work on their iPhone app,” and even, “Just eat. Stop normalizing anorexia.” Read More