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What happened during my 30 days on a liquid superfood

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The experiment is over, and my life is really different now.

Since the first week of July I’ve been eating only one solid meal per day, and I’ve never felt better. More than a month ago I began making my own nutritionally-complete liquid food, and subsisting on it for about two-thirds of my daily calories.

It’s based on a ready-made mix called Soylent, which I wrote about in May. I was really excited to try it, and finally did when a helpful reader sent me a day’s worth. However, the producer, Rosa Labs, is comically behind schedule filling their existing orders, and won’t begin shipping to Canada for probably another year.

So, I’ve joined many thousands of others by making a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) version, with ingredients purchased from grocery and health food stores. Essentially, you can make it with anything, as long as the ingredients

1) are edible
2) provide all necessary micro- and macro-nutrients in adequate amounts (there is an online nutrient calculator for doing that), and
3) result in a palatable substance

Usually, DIY recipes are cheaper than the commercial one, and you can tailor the ingredients to your preferences. Mine is made primarily of masa flour, oat flour and ground almonds. (The full recipe is at the bottom of this post.)


In my original Soylent post I used over two thousands words to explain why a healthy liquid food intrigued me. But now that I’ve experienced it, my short answer is this: imagine cutting your food bill in half, adding 2-3 hours of spare time to your day, and having more energy than you know what to do with.

This was the most interesting and successful of my 18 experiments so far. I experienced an immediate (and so far permanent) increase in energy. I don’t get tired until bedtime. I need less sleep and I’m not groggy when I wake up. Combined with the additional free time from reducing my cooking, grocery shopping and dish-washing duties, I have several extra hours a day that I didn’t have before. 

But a lot more happened. This new way of eating had major effects on my life and my routine. These effects were overwhelmingly positive but there were a few downsides. Here’s a breakdown of the good, bad, and ugly/weird things I experienced. [NOTE: For convenience I refer to my homemade formula below as “soylent” with a small S, but it is not the same recipe as the commercial product.]

The Good:

I feel physically “good” almost all the time. Not just neutral, but good. I have a lot more energy and I feel generally more capable and confident. At first this extra energy was almost overwhelming. It kind of made me giddy and I didn’t quite know what to do with it. I became used to it after a few weeks, and so the excitement about it went away, but I still feel good.

I don’t really get tired. There’s no afternoon wall, or even a speed bump. At bedtime, I’m ready to sleep, but I’m never dying to sleep. Even right before sleeping I can still read without the book falling on my face, or the sentences going blurry.

I cut trips to the grocery store in half, and I buy less when I do go. Other than soylent ingredients, my groceries are mostly broccoli, tofu, quinoa and brussels sprouts. My recipe costs about 4 dollars for a 2000-calorie batch, and overall my grocery bill is way down.

Traditional food tastes and smells better than it used to. In fact my senses of smell and taste seem to be keener overall. However, when I eat traditional food now I eat it more slowly, and I’m happier with smaller portions. Solid food also is a lot less tempting than it used to be — I still desire normal food, but I seldom crave it. Desserts and other delicious foods are nice, but they don’t turn me into Homer Simpson any more. It’s difficult to explain, but my default state just feels more “satisfied” now. I feel less needy in general.

No more congestion at night. I used to get a congested nose most of the time when I went to bed (I figured it was an allergic reaction to my pillow or something). I’m still not sure what caused it, but it went away. I also wake up less often during the night, which may be related to this or something else.

I experience much less resistance to anything that requires effort. I can switch tasks without the usual humming and hawing over it, I don’t get locked into internet surfing or Netflix as easily. I just find myself more “game” for anything — taking out the garbage, sitting down to write, heading to the store. I virtually stopped rescheduling runs and workouts.

Fat loss. I haven’t weighed myself but I am definitely leaner, both in my midsection and my face. I’ve been told I have a “healthy glow” and that my skin is clearer. I think this is simply a result from taking in fewer calories overall, rather than some magical fat-burning property of the soylent. I consume fewer calories because I overeat far less frequently and don’t snack much.

It frees up at least 2 hours a day. I sleep a little less (maybe 30-60 minutes less) but I’m not groggy for the first and last hour of the day any more. I can get right to work if I want to, and often I do. I also don’t need to prepare breakfast, or stop to cook lunch and clean up. Combined with the reduction in shopping, this adds up to several hours a day.

I have found it easier not to snack. Not only do salty/sugary/fatty snacks not attract me as much, but when I’ve only consumed soylent so far that day, I often prefer not to bother opening the “real food” floodgates until I have dinner.

Food decisions are way easier to make. If it’s breakfast or lunch I know what I’m having, and dinner is usually half a plate of steamed vegetables with a starch and a protein. I never have to ride that balance between a healthy choice and an entertaining one. I also feel less guilt about eating less-than-perfectly-healthy food when I’m out somewhere.

The Bad:

I sometimes have a 20-minute “crash” after consuming the soylent. I feel sluggish and headachey and kind of off for a bit, then I return to feeling good. This usually only happens when I consume a fair amount (600+ calories) in a short time. I’ve been trying to eliminate this, and it happens less frequently as time goes on, but it still happens seemingly at random. I think it has something to do with blood sugar spikes and I’m going to buy a blood sugar testing kit to see what I can learn.

At first I was a bit restless. Having more energy, I felt a need to be more active than was normal for me. This was very prominent in the first two weeks. This unpleasant edginess is gone now, and I think it was simply that I wasn’t psychologically used to sitting on all this energy. My routine became much more active over the last month — lots of walks, runs and bike rides — and I don’t feel hyper any more.

There is lingering taste in my mouth after drinking the soylent. I usually have to brush my teeth or chew gum after consuming soylent, or else my mouth feels gross.

My standards are much higher now for how I expect to feel on a normal day. I’m worried about situations in which I will not be able to eat my soylent for an extended period (say while traveling) and whether I’ll feel “off.” In my mind there’s nothing magical about soylent, but my body and mind are now used to a well-tracked intake of vitamins, minerals and calories. If I go back to the haphazard default way of eating based on what’s available and what’s appealing, nutrient deficiencies may affect me more because I’m used to functioning at a closer-to-optimal level. I’ll learn this soon enough, when I spend a few weeks in Ecuador with probably no soylent.

The Weird/Interesting/Unexpected:

It revealed other limitations. While I suddenly had extra time available to me every day, that didn’t mean I got hours of extra work done every day. I still had the same finite amount of patience for sitting at a desk. I did become more productive, but it didn’t turn me into an unstoppable work-machine. This is interesting, because I can no longer use “not enough time” as an excuse for not getting things done. There are other factors that inhibit productivity, including patience and focus, and my limitations in those areas became more obvious.

No urge to overeat with soylent. I noticed that whenever I ate traditional food, there was a strong urge to have a second helping, but when I had soylent, I would just finish what I’d poured out and move on with the day. The urge to eat more than I need is nothing new for me — I have always had to battle with urges to overeat, and now I do it only rarely, and I only ever want to when I’m eating traditional food. I never had any urges for second helpings with soylent.

I did not experience much of an improvement to my running. Soylent inventor Rob Rhinehart cited virtually-overnight gains in his running ability. He says he went from running less than a mile to running three miles. I noticed I would recover more quickly when I took a break, but I didn’t find it easy to increase pace or distance.

Regular food doesn’t impact my energy levels. Eating solid food, even really heavy food, doesn’t make me feel sluggish like I expected it to. I seem to be better able to digest solid food without energy crashes, for some reason.

I have experienced a seemingly related increase in confidence, although this is hard to separate out from the secondary effect of just feeling fitter and looking better.

I eat socially more often. Contrary to what some might have predicted, I actually experienced more social eating. I began to go to restaurants (with other people) slightly more often, because I had saved so much money, and because eating solid food is more of an occasion now, and the rest of my diet is so healthy and devoid of excess. This has a lot to do with my living-alone entrepreneur lifestyle, and different people would experience different effects on their social lives.

I learned that it is remarkably difficult to get reliable nutrition information. You can look at two different sources for the same ingredient and find wildly differing opinions of how much of each nutrient is in them. Even the manufacturer’s label can be wrong. There are also wildly differing opinions about how much of each nutrient your body needs, and wildly differing opinions about how easily each is absorbed, and many more layers of fuzziness in an already fuzzy science. Still, I am obviously getting much closer to optimal nutrition than I had been.

Beyond 30 days

As you might have guessed, I’m still doing this and I have no plans of stopping.

Obviously there’s a lot to be gained in separating the entertainment/social side of eating from the nutrition side of it, at least some of the time. Soylent certainly isn’t for everybody, but I think it’s something that would fit quite a few people’s lifestyles. The official stuff still isn’t very available (they’re now saying new orders ship in 4-5 months) but there are hundreds of recipes you can make yourself on the DIY site. If you’re going to try one, go with one with lots of comments and positive reviews, because some are probably pretty gross.

The complete day-by-day log of my experiment is here.

My recipe

I adapted this from a recipe I found on the DIY exchange. I picked that one because it was well-reviewed and the ingredients are available where I live. I’ve changed it a few times and given it a silly name, as is the DIY tradition.

“Urban Ambrosia 1.7”

Yield: 2000 calories, about 2.3 litres.

2 c. Maseca masa
1/3 c. Oat flour
1/3 c. Almond meal
60g Kaizen vanilla whey protein isolate
2.5 T. Raw honey
2 T. Canola oil
3/4 t. Iodized salt
1 t. “No Salt” salt substitute (Potassium chloride)
2/3 package GNC Mega Men (Performance and Vitality vitamins)
2.5 T. Soy lecithin
1 t. Psyllium husk
1 pill Calcium/Magnesium (350mg/150mg)
1/2 pill Webber Naturals Vitamin K+D
8 c. Tap water

[Obviously you should consult your physician before making any dietary changes. It is a shame I have to say that, but we all have to protect ourselves from the irresponsible and litigious.]

Grind up the Calcium/Magnesium pill, the Vitamin K pill, and the psyllium in a coffee grinder. Then add the lecithin and grind it too.

Add this mixture and everything else to a large (3L or bigger) tupperware-like container, except for the Mega Men vitamin pack (take this separately — it tastes horrible if you grind it up). Take it two out of three days (so as to average 2/3 a package a day.)

Mix thoroughly with an immersion blender. Cover and put in the fridge. The taste improves dramatically when it’s been in the fridge for 8 plus hours so make it the night before. Shake vigorously before serving, and swish it around between sips because some masa will always settle at the bottom.

A nutrient breakdown is available here. You can also copy and edit the recipe to suit your tastes and needs. If you do your own experiment, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.


Photo by David Cain

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Greg August 17, 2014 at 11:37 pm

What was your prior diet? Was it already “healthy”? Knowing your baseline would make your observed changes more meaningful.

Noel August 18, 2014 at 6:18 am

Very good Q, Greg.

Many of the changes David has experienced are quite similar to what I felt when eliminating meat and then all animal products. So it mightn’t be the Soylent causing the changes, but instead the absence of hard-to-digest, inflammatory and mucous-producing foods.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 7:57 am

I had done a vegan diet experiment before, and experienced a big difference eliminating meat and dairy, but the effects were not as pronounced as this.

Note that I still ate solid food every day and did not eliminate anything from my diet.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 7:55 am

Yes, it was already healthy. Mostly plant-based. But I did overeat sometimes and I didn’t track micronutrient intake or macronutrient proportions. Took a multivitamin intermittently.

Melissa August 24, 2014 at 11:20 am

I wonder if you possibly have a sensitivity or even some kind of intolerance to an ingredient not in soylent that’s in your regular diet.

Or there was something in it that you didn’t get much of in your plant-based diet.

George August 18, 2014 at 1:41 am

Been looking forward to hearing your experiences here – fascinating.

How do other people respond to your Soylenting? How do you explain it to them? Have others been encouraged to try it out? Or do you find, because it’s essentially a ‘private habit’ – unlike, say, becoming a vegan or something – that it doesn’t really come up unless you decide to be a ‘broadcaster’/promoter?

Be interesting to see if there is any ‘withdrawal’. I guess it shouldn’t be anything too surprising vs any other dietary change – e.g. eating steaks again after having fallen out of the habit for a few years (hint: it’s a ‘solids surprise’ your digestive system doesn’t really welcome) – but because of the ‘energy component’ you report…

So it seems Soylent turns out to be more than just ‘convenience’, it probably really does tinker with your biology/metabolism more than other dietary changes, because it presents far less work for your system for the rewards.

(Articles against it seems to fall to the same points: the sociability of food, that food is ‘more than the sum of its parts’ (in some usually non-specific way), and the marketing concerns. None of which are very persuasive, and seem defensive as if anticipating and preparing against an undesirable change in culture at large. Which I get, it happens, and would be worrying if it were so, but you have to actually state that as a concern. I’m looking forward to the discussion moving on or becoming a bit more transparent if this stuff makes headway.)

George August 18, 2014 at 6:15 am

*I say this as someone who can easily envisage less ‘friendly’ uses for this sort of thing if widespread, but such concerns do need to be properly described if you take that angle in a written piece, not just the “yes but, it’s different in some way…” that these articles give.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:02 am

Now that I think about it, it hasn’t come up much. I have told a few people I’m consuming a nutritious liquid food for most of my meals and nobody really seems to care. The idea of meal replacement drinks isn’t new and I wouldn’t suspect most people to find it that interesting.

George August 18, 2014 at 10:47 am

Meal replacement drinks aren’t new…

I guess so. There are differences to this one, better thought out more ambitious, but they’d only come up in a full conversation about it. Everyone else will just think, Pro Performance / Slimfast, yawn.

Gary August 18, 2014 at 2:49 am

sounds like you just have to add chocolate :)

Interesting experiment – will give it a go

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:12 am

I tried adding cocoa and it really wasn’t very good. I guess cocoa needs sweetening to balance it, but there’s already quite a bit of honey in it and I don’t want to add more.

Ilknur August 18, 2014 at 4:00 am

Food decisions are way easier to make…This part is really what I was looking for. As a working person I needed an easy solution for lunch and breakfast and this could be what I am looking for. No need to think what to eat :)
Also consuming liquid will help way more for my digestion I belive…
I want to try this too but I have no idea where will I get the ingredients yet ( I just moved to a new country still learning:))
Thank you for beautiful share

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:14 am

This was huge for me. The decision is made, it’s ready to go, and there’s very little prep time. I still enjoy cooking and eating dinner, but I didn’t need the “joy” of cooking three times a day.

DiscoveredJoys August 18, 2014 at 4:01 am

Very interesting. I’m still on my 5:2 diet which I commented on a few weeks ago and it is still going well – although I have modified it to be just two meals on a fast day (coffee and vegetable juice for breakfast, leaving most of my calories for the day for a modest evening meal) and that seems to ‘work better’.

I’ve also now radically changed the nutritional mix of my food in general to a Low Carbohydrate High Fat (LCHF) diet. Blood glucose testing (I’m a diabetic, on Metformin) showed that any wheat based bread or corn based breakfast cereal generates a blood sugar spike. I suspect that rice and potatoes affect me the same way but I haven’t measured their effects.

Which is a long way around to observing that the Masa flour component of soylent might have a similar effect on me… however my LCHF diet seems to be having similar beneficial effects for me. Sleep is easier and more settled, bowel movements are easier and more regular, night time congestion has eased, and I generally feel brighter.

It makes me wonder if eating lots of grain products/sugar, something reduced in a soylent diet and avoided in the LCHF (wheat free) diet, are behind a lot of 1st world health problems. There are certainly some people that make that claim, backed by some scientific research. Yet governmental advice is still promoting a high (but complex) carbohydrate diet. Makes you wonder…

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:18 am

My recipe is about 50/30/20 carb-fat-protein and I may play with other ratios. There are certainly a lot of low-carb advocates out there. I did experiment with a higher protein recipe and found it really stalled things up on the #2 front, even with very high fibre content. I might try a recipe where I lower the carbs and replace it with fat to see what happens.

Tom Paine August 18, 2014 at 4:23 am

Not trying to be negative here, but it’s hard not to notice that almost all of the perceived benefits from this change are quite subjective and are the kinds of internal effects that are notoriously subject to the placebo affect. Have you considered this? I guess it would e difficult, if not impossible, to run a controlled experiment of this sort. Still, I am hesitant to put much stock into something that is not controlled and scientific. I know far too many people who make the same claims about commercial products that are known to be of little or no value.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:22 am

The changes have been so dramatic that the notion that I’m imagining them kind of ridiculous to me. As I said, I didn’t expect these benefits, so how could me expectations have created them? I also don’t see how the placebo effect could add 3 hours of spare time to my day or reduce my grocery bill.

The way I address the problem of not knowing whether to trust somebody’s personal account is to do it myself. That’s what I did here and I’m glad I did.

John August 18, 2014 at 10:40 am

I agree that it may be important to consider the role of the placebo effect here, but I also think it’s important to remember that placebo isn’t just “imagined”–it’s a very real, often powerful effect.

I think the word “placebo” has gotten a bad reputation, honestly. It’s a way of saying a certain effect can’t be attributed to the one specific thing (like a diet or medicine) that’s being studied in as close to an isolated way as possible, but it’s not saying the positive effect wasn’t a real, valid experience. Quite the contrary: placebo effects often lead to measurably better medical outcomes.

Herbert Benson’s book The Relaxation Response is an interesting exploration of the placebo effect (and an attempt to re-brand it is something more positive and also more accurate).

A couple of years ago I was doing a lot of research into EEG biofeedback. It seemed amazing at first and there were a lot of intuitive, logical sounding explanations for how it supposedly worked. Eventually, however, I stumbled across a series of research articles that explored how placebo could be having an effect on biofeedback outcomes, and it really changed my perspective on EEG biofeedback as well as placebo in general.

One study (http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ccp/49/4/590/) showed that you could achieve long term reduction in anxiety through the biofeedback context, but the power of the effect was actually correlated with *perceived* success at the task (some participants received false feedback to make them think they were more successful than they were) and not with actual changes in brainwaves from the biofeedback.

David, even though you say you didn’t expect the results you got, I’m sure you did countless hours of research into soylent before embarking on the experiment, during which time you must’ve read dozens of accounts of positive experiences. I would be surprised if being exposed to that kind of information didn’t lead to some kind of subconscious expectation of at least what might be possible, and our subconscious minds often don’t care too much about what our conscious mind believes.

I think you were being somewhat defensive and dismissive of Tom’s point when you implied he suggested that the placebo effect could be responsible for cutting down your grocery bill or freeing up some time in your day. He said that almost all of the effects were similar to placebo type effects, not all, and seemed to be clearly referring to the subjective effects. Reducing his comment to that summary doesn’t seem like a fair way of engaging with his point.

All this being said, I don’t believe this is a simple black and white question. It’s impossible to say which subjective effects are due to soylent and which are due to some kind of placebo effect, but I suspect it’s a bit of both. Perhaps the purely physical effects of the soylent could be playing a similar role as the perceived success in the EEG experiments I referenced earlier, increasing the subconscious belief that more positive subjective changes will be coming as well. As Tom points out, though, it would pretty much be impossible to set up a double blind experiment to test a soylent diet vs. a more standard western diet.

The reason I think it’s so important to think about the placebo effect is not because it’s something to avoid, but rather because it’s fantastic. If there were a reliable way to induce some kind of placebo effect in myself every day, I would totally sign up. I personally think some people already do this in the form of homeopathy, crystal healing, or other alternative medicines. I used to think that kind of stuff was 100% ridiculous, but now I don’t think I should tell someone to stop doing something that’s leading to a completely real positive effect in their life.

I actually think soylent sounds like a great thing to try — I have terrible eating habits and yes, the effects described in articles like these sound wonderful and something I would like to experience. If I ever do it as an experiment myself, though, I would try to keep in mind that it’s pretty much inevitable that my subconscious expectations would play a role in the outcome.

George August 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

Interesting, I never thought of the placebo effect for biofeedback, for instance.

So in effect, success there is implicitly about a decision (to participate), acceptance (of possibility), with an intention (an outcome you desire)?

If you could manipulate this it would be great: tap water as cure-all type thing. Hmm, or is that homeopathy in a nutshell? Or ‘magick’?

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 11:59 am

This is very interesting and I didn’t mean to dismiss the placebo effect as a non-factor. Obviously there are self-perpetuating psychological effects in any lifestyle change, including physical exercise, changes in spending habits, etc. I think it goes without saying that this is not a controlled study. There were a ton of factors changing at the same time, and they were influencing each other. I never expected to be able to isolate causes and effects. All I know is what I did, and what changed, and that is pretty clear from the article, isn’t it?

John August 18, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Yes, your article is clear about what it is and definitely isn’t purporting to be a scientifically valid study. This is mostly just a very interesting subtopic for me and there were a couple of things about your response to Tom that made me want to write my response, like saying that a placebo effect would be imagined.

I’m really glad that you took the time to do this experiment and report back to us, and I think it’s wonderful that it’s been such a positive experience for you! I hope you’re able to sustain those positive changes in the long run, and I’ll probably end up doing some kind of soylent experiment myself some day to see if I can do the same.

Nick August 18, 2014 at 4:23 am

Awesome. It’s 6:30am, and I’ve been awake since 5 because of some very poor, fast-food choices the night before. The timely delivery of this article has completely snagged my attention.

In an average week I seesaw between ultra-healthy, nutrient dense, two or three ingredient, breakfast and lunch meals, and then a later-than-is-healthy, polar-opposite, drive-thru gorging. I’m reasonably sure my issues are portion control, meal scheduling, and occasional bad choices triggered by food boredom and short-sighted planning, and I’m willing to bet many millions could identify similarly.

Your initial Soylent article made me think that by removing chance from my daily food preparation I’d find myself in a better position to regulate the ebb and flow of my diet. Commercial Soylent was a year out of Canada and DIY recipe navigation seemed for some reason ‘not for me’, but this just isn’t so; You’ve laid what’s needed at our feet. Thanks for another excellent, insight-filled article, David. I’m doing this.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:26 am

I think it would work especially well for people who get caught in bad food habits out of convenience, or anyone who regularly finds mealtime as a problem to be solved. It’s nice having the decision made already.

claire August 18, 2014 at 5:00 am

given here’s a product type people want and the supply isn’t meeting demand, and people are working out “alternative recipes” towards the same end. why are there not competing products on the market? and in countries where it’s not available? – who wants to make a buck?

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:30 am

There are:

In Europe, there’s Joylent, and MANA. In the US there’s 100% Food, Schmoylent and quite few others.

eddy August 18, 2014 at 6:04 am

Interesting article. I’ve not gone too deep into soylent yet but I have been trying to make food more functional. Spiritually speaking we should eat for the energy and nutrients and not for the taste. In that sense soylent seems a good idea. I am moving towards boiled and lightly seasoned food but I’m still skeptical about a liquid diet. Are you worried about the long term effects?

I guess I want to be skeptical but on the other hand human evolution can be said to have occurred on our change in how we consumed our food. Cooking allowed us to breakdown our food before it entered our stomach and that allowed us extra energy to run more neurons in the brain and extra time to use those neurons to think about ideas and stuff. I guess going on a liquid diet is an extension of the same process. Saves more time and gives more energy.

To conclude I’ve confused myself if I’m skeptical or not. But would be keeping an eye on your articles about your experience with this idea.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:35 am

Seeing as how I still eat solid food every day, no I’m not worried about long-term effects of a liquid diet. I am still keeping my ears open for unexpected effects though — one man on official Soylent is convinced that the large amount of maltodextrin he’s been consuming has led to rapid tooth decay. That kind of thing isn’t always predictable, so I’m keeping track of other people’s experiences.

Sandy August 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm

You “still” eat solid food everyday…… implying you would like to do without it entirely. Sorry, but this whole conversation about some kind of “food-like” wonder substance just leaves me cold. I’m glad you feel fabulous, truly, but I suspect you’re all training yourselves to accept some version of Soylent Green (the movie kind) as a trendy or possibly necessary substitute for the bounty of our planet. What else will you be conned in to doing without in the not-too-distant future? Under the guise that it’s somehow better, pure, more advanced, etc, to rise above such mundane concerns? Music? Sex? Books? Bathing? Friendships? Already we’ve thrown out meat, coffee, salt, sugar, alcohol, weed and TV. Maybe you should all give up your beds and sleep on simple little reed mats.

David Cain August 19, 2014 at 11:17 am

Clearly you are angry about something else, or the world at large. This kind of hostility is ridiculous.

mariavlong August 19, 2014 at 6:21 pm

David here is posting a 30 day experience and sharing his opinion about the results. Please do not mistake his interest in your opinion for a request for advice. Opinions similar to yours which I sympathize with by the way, can be offered without the drama and hyperbole.

Elisa Winter August 18, 2014 at 6:35 am

Thank you. I find this very interesting… last year I began a manufactured phoney food diet that seems similar to what you’re doing here. My energy level went up, I lost weight, had less brain fog, less congestion. But oh my, the commentary from coworkers, friends, and family was so relentless and awful. I had strayed out of the the lines in a big way, it seems, and all the benefits were poo-poo’ed, because, ostensibly, I was hurting myself somehow. I chalked it all up to fear of the unknown and envy at my losing weight so quickly and easily. But it did take a toll, a real toll, that I seem to still be processing. And now that I ruminate a bit, it seems that I stopped ingesting quite a bit of crap out of my own decision, so the folks who I see every day decided that I needed their crap and I was not competent enough to duck and cover. Strange and sad for me. But you’ve giving me some real impetus to go back to the manufactured phoney food. Thanks. I needed that.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:38 am

There is a lot of bizarre paranoia around this, and it’s hard to know exactly where it comes from. People are wary of “diets” generally — even though we are all on some kind of diet — and I guess that partly explains the superficial reaction.

What do you mean by manufactured phoney food? What were you eating?

Elisa Winter August 18, 2014 at 10:47 am

Medifast. So simple. I felt so much better. Had so much more time with very little shopping/ cooking/ cleaning up. SO Much More Time. Some folks say it’s expensive. I don’t see how it’s so expensive if you’re not going to the grocery store and dropping $200 bucks a week, or more, for a family of three. And now that I’m on my own, and at a different office, I’m right back at it, with your nudge today. I want my clear clean brain back, and my clear sinuses.

Anna August 18, 2014 at 7:19 am

Thank you for this article! I ordered official Soylent like, four months ago, and it still hasn’t come — so I am strongly considering trying out your recipe (or another similar, after doing some research).

I understand many people’s concerns that soylent may not be the 100% optimal solution that you could ever find. If someone is already an incredibly healthy eater and is able to sustain that level of effort and/or enjoys it, then this isn’t for them — but it seems like a reasonable 80% solution for those of us for whom it’s a good day if we don’t eat cookies for breakfast.

Unless someone can give me a reasonable argument that my current diet is better than drinking soylent for 2 out of 3 meals, I don’t really care if it’s sub-optimal, because that’s not the alternative I’m actually looking at in my own life at this time.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:43 am

I really don’t know what the holdup is with official Soylent. In the lead time for one shipment, entire competing companies have started up, taken orders and shipped them to customers. I wonder if it’s some kind of delicate legal issue behind the scenes.

A well-planned DIY is certainly better than the typical American diet, but I was definitely not having cookies for breakfast and I experienced dramatic improvements. I doubt my diet is optimal, but it is obviously much closer and I am very happy.

Chris @ Flipping A Dollar August 18, 2014 at 7:19 am

That’s pretty neat. You seem to have a lot of benefits that I’ve had doing “diets” in the past. There’s always that new glow and then it wears off. I hope yours doesn’t and you’ve truly made it into a lifestyle change.

I’ve done Zone diet (basically you have a well rounded meal wrt carbs/proteins/fats. Always in the same ratio). This is my go to. When I stick with it, I get great results. They also allow 3 cheat meals or one whole cheat day under this program. They really help and over time, you don’t go as overboard as you do when you start.

I’ve also done the Whole30. No processed food, dairy, or grains. Only fruits, veggies, meat, and nuts. If you can’t pronounce it, you don’t eat it. Very rough to start, but it definitely became easier as you went through. This diet made me feel the absolute best, but then again, I was still working out 4-6 times a week. That probably helped too.

Oh, and if you want to stay healthy, best diet advice I have is NO CHILDREN. They just take up a lot of time and mental capacity so it’s harder to plan and eat right.

Weird personal question – did it change any of your digestive responses?

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:47 am

I am way ahead of you on the no children strategy.

I did not really have digestive issues. Many official Soylent users (and some DIY users) experienced pretty bad gas. By the sounds of it, most of them had inadequate fiber in their diets previously. I always made sure I got a lot of fiber and had no gas problems. I have not experienced indigestion or anything like that since starting soylent, except after one really spicy restaurant experience.

BrownVagabonder August 18, 2014 at 8:13 am

I guess being a foodie of sorts, the idea that I could save time and money by eating a liquid-based diet, makes me cringe. I want to keep my mind open to new ideas, so I read through your article.
It is enlightening to see that I am probably wasting 2-3 hours a day on food-related pursuits – finding food, cooking food, eating food, cleaning up, grocery shopping, etc.
But due to the fact that I love food – it makes me happy, I think I’m fine with the ‘wasted’ time. I like the idea of spending hours in the pursuit of a great meal. It seems like an entirely good use of time to me.
Of course, not everyone is going to think that way. Not everyone loves food as much as I do. For those individuals, this article is a god-send. Saving money, time and your health through a liquid-based diet seems ideal.
Thank you for taking this experiment on and writing this article. Even though, I wouldn’t try it, I am glad to open up my mind to other ways of living and eating.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:53 am

An important point is that the hours we spend on food every day are not necessarily invested in the pursuit of a great meal. Even for super snobby foodies, not all of our meals are great, and they don’t need to be.

Not everyone loves food as much as I do. For those individuals, this article is a god-send.

Ok, I have to call you on this one. You don’t necessarily love food more than people who use soylent. This is a common response — “sounds good for people who don’t care that much about food.” I freaking LOVE food, and I love preparing a great meal, but that doesn’t mean that every hour or dollar I’ve ever spent on food was worthwhile

Swenson August 18, 2014 at 8:20 am

This is a post that made me unsubscribe from your blog. The “soylent” craze is just yet another testament how insane some people are. Who in a right mind will substitute fresh, amazing, colorful, fragrant, tasty food with this crap? I think it holds certain appeal for people with autism spectrum disorders since they have some issues with the food and gastrointestinal problems is often part of diagnosis, but for the rest of us it just looks like complete insanity.

I am just trying to decide if David is shilling for Soylent or just really has lost it.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 9:01 am

I have fresh, amazing, colorful, tasty food every day. In fact I have raised my standards for food. But I don’t need a cornucopia of color and flavor explosion three times a day. I am healthier and I have more time, what’s wrong with that?

Obviously I am not a paid stooge for Soylent, if I’m recommending you make your own.

Mike August 19, 2014 at 12:28 pm

It’s a shame Swenson, that you’re unable to see the world through a filter other than your own. As incredible as I’m sure it sounds to you, not everyone loves “fresh, tasty food”. As a supertaster, I find the bitterness of 99.9% of vegetables completely overpowering, for example (as I do with overly sweet, and overly salty foods as well). Because of this, my diet is horrific. Lots of bland, processed food. But when the “fresh, tasty food” stuff literally makes me vomit on the dinner table when I try to get it down, my options are drastically limited.

I need a way to get more nutrients into my system in a way that doesn’t trigger the gag reflex. Soylent holds some intriguing possibilities for me. Through it, I might be able to get off of the hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, rice and bland chicken program, and get something into me that, while clearly not perfect, is FAR better for me than my current diet.

There are 7+ billion people in the world. We’re all different, believe it or not. Just because something doesn’t perfectly align with your own personal view of the world doesn’t make it “insanity” or “crap”.

Open your eyes and let the world in, in all it’s diverse beauty and splendor.

Randy Hendrix August 20, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Bravo!…well said, Mike!

VT August 18, 2014 at 8:58 am

Were you taking a magnesium supplement before this experiment? I’ve noticed a lot of similar improvements just from taking magnesium.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 9:04 am

Yes, but only intermittently. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of the benefits were from getting one nutrient that was sparse in my diet. But I doubt it was magnesium because I eat a ton of nuts and leafy greens.

Chris August 18, 2014 at 9:12 am

Fascinating David. I’m especially curious about the digestive benefits (less over-eating, less reflux/indigestion), better sleep, more energy and the simplicity of meal planning and prep. I’m considering trying this. Thanks for sharing.


David Cain August 18, 2014 at 9:49 am

I didn’t have any digestive problems but some people have had gas on certain recipes (particularly the official one, interestingly.) Some people have talked about reflux too but I never had that.

Angus August 18, 2014 at 9:21 am

Is the above recipe a day’s worth? If so, is drinking 2.3 liters/day a problem? And how long does the nightly mixing routine take?

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 9:57 am

Angus! Good to hear from you.

Yeah the recipe makes 2000 calories’ worth, which is more than a day’s worth for some people, and less for other people.

I usually consume about 3/4 of a batch per day, and then have a regular-sized dinner. My caloric needs are probably about 2200 a day. There have been really active days where I’ve consumed the whole thing in addition to a solid food meal. I have a ridiculous capacity for food though. It is quite filling and some people have to space it out in four or more portions.

Measuring and mixing takes about 10 minutes. Sometimes I make several days’ worth in a row, which doesn’t take much longer. If I make a few days’ ahead of time I just mix the dry ingredients, and add the oil and honey when I add the water.

Ellen August 18, 2014 at 9:28 am

How many ounces of this superfood would equal one serving?

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 10:01 am

It depends how much water you add, but the way I mix it it’s about 210 calories/cup. I will have 2 cups for a small serving or 3 for a large serving.

Sean August 18, 2014 at 2:52 pm


Have you thought about tracking your cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc. on this new diet? It would be interesting to see which direction the numbers were heading (hopefully improving over time).


David Cain August 18, 2014 at 3:04 pm

My blood pressure did go down over this period, but I suspect this is mostly from the increased cardiovascular activity. Because the soylent regimen changed a lot of my lifestyle habits, it’s hard to know what’s causing what. All I know is that all together, I feel better.

I am going to get a blood sugar testing kit to monitor blood sugar throughout the day though.

Many people have done before/after bloodwork with their soylent/DIY experiments though, including Rob Rhinehart. At the bottom of this post Rob has attached his blood test results: http://robrhinehart.com/?p=474

His recipe is different than mine though.

Kevin Cureton August 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm

One thing I’ve noticed is the commenting on solid food. Which I find interesting since it is not solid when it hits the stomach. Done right, you would be chewing food and generating a similar consistency pulp to push down the gullet. So the real issue, in my mind, is how much chewing and mouth prep is needed before swallowing the food.

It’s also a big reason I’m a huge fan of a lot of water. I think it takes far more water than people realized to digest and move food through the full system. Soylent partly addresses this by having the meal be more in balance with the necessary hydration to process it.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:17 pm

I am also a big fan of tons of water. I drink water constantly, and I notice some people don’t seem to drink any. I guess I’m now getting even more due to the extra 2L of fluid a day.

Sebastian Aiden Daniels August 18, 2014 at 6:02 pm

I’ve never heard of this since I am new to your blog. I am going to look more into it though because it seems to have a lot of benefits. Need to figure out the nutritional aspects of it, might have to add some protein powder to it. I definitely would like to feel an increase in energy and not being groggy.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Hi Sebastian. The great thing is you can tailor a recipe to whatever you’re looking for, and avoid ingredients you don’t like.

The recipes are all at diy.soylent.me and so is the calculator you can use to make your own.

Sebastian Aiden Daniels August 21, 2014 at 10:09 am

Thanks for the information. It is much appreciated.

lori August 18, 2014 at 6:13 pm

wow, looks like my post about gmo’s in your formula has been removed. Quite surprised about your censorship!

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Hi Lori. I didn’t delete your comment and I have no idea why it’s not appearing. I remember seeing it first thing in the morning before I started responding, but I CTRL-F’d to find the comment about GMOs and I could not find it. When I look in my wordpress back-end it says it is approved, but it is not appearing.

I don’t censor comments. I delete trolling and flaming only.

Here is your original comment:

Hi David, just wondering if you are concerned about using gmo soy, canola and corn (masa) in your shakes.
Also, check out moringa powder, a good plant protein source.

In any case, to answer your question I have not yet joined the anti-GMO camp. I know a lot of people say they are bad, but I haven’t found any convincing science against it yet. I am open to any studies you can point me to that suggest a clear reason to avoid GMOs. In that case I would phase them out of my diet. I feel the same about canola oil and corn. There are a lot of critics but I have not seen any convincing science yet. I do want to make the formula animal-free eventually so I will check out moringa powder and other options.

Hannah August 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm

I inadvertently have lived a similar lifestyle. I had never heard of soylent until today but I have established a similar habit to David’s. I noticed how much more efficient my life became when I decided to blend whole foods and vitamins together instead of eating them. I realized that a huge stress in my life was shopping for and preparing foods. Often I couldn’t decide what to eat. I simply got tired of chewing so much FOOD. I changed my lifestyle to the following: Three times a day I drink a blended concoction of protein powder, whole fat lactose-free milk, water, whole oats or brown rice, half a banana (for sweetness) and necessary vitamins and supplements. One time a day I drink a huge veggie smoothie – 8 cups of green, 3 carrots, half a banana and half a cup of berries. Then I eat only two solid meals a day, both of which are chicken or salmon, quinoa and broccoli. I prepare all foods ahead of time in three day chunks so I only cook twice a week, including my solid meals. I lift weights six times a week, so my diet is higher in calories and protein than David’s but I think it’s similar. I love that my food preparation is brainless and stress-free. My grocery list is shorter and I get the same thing every week. Very predictable and simple. I have reaped almost the same benefits as David as well. I am leaner, have more energy and have no desire to overeat or snack. Previously my desire to overeat and snack was overwhelming at times. My diet is more balanced than it’s ever been so I don’t desire other foods. Since I’m not eating any foods with addictive additives like sweeteners, flavorings or preservatives (which are often triggers for more cravings), I just don’t crave more food when I’m finished with my smoothie. Just a few months ago, I cared too much about taste and the food “experience.” But now I’m happy with my easy approach to food. My coworkers laugh when I say “food is fuel.” Like David, I still enjoy eating out from time-to-time and enjoy the taste of fine cuisine. But I don’t crave it anymore. It’s been a fantastic move for me, one that I will keep up for a long time.

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm

That sounds great, and I’m glad you found something that worked for you. Food prep and the related decisionmaking can take a huge amount of time and energy, but I never noticed because I never felt like I had a choice.

Since I’m not eating any foods with addictive additives like sweeteners, flavorings or preservatives (which are often triggers for more cravings), I just don’t crave more food when I’m finished with my smoothie

This was a really prominent effect for me, and I didn’t expect it at all. The solid food just has this pull for me that my beverage doesn’t.

Velvet August 18, 2014 at 8:21 pm

WOW! I had no idea that you were doing the Soylent (with a small s) diet. I have a friend who ordered here in the U.S. and is always talking about it. I’m interested to see if I could adapt this to my lifestyle. It is a bit more challenging with others in the house to feed, so it would mean more work, but this might be worth it. I’ve been reading quite a bit about nerve problems, thyroid issues, weight gain and the arrow points heavily back to food. Maybe we could all use a change….

David Cain August 18, 2014 at 8:34 pm

It is worth a try. Doing a DIY seems like a lot of work, but it only amounts to an afternoon or two of errand-running and some evening tinkering. Once you have the ingredients, it takes about ten minutes a day, less if you make several days at once. Some people are also selling DIYs. Google “schmoylent.”

Forrest August 19, 2014 at 1:12 am

Hi David. Fan of your blog and this experiment. Have blended up v1.7 tonight and am starting the experiment tomorrow.

I think one of my big reservations is the lack of variety over time, and conversely, the reliance upon large quantities of a few ingredients. Without testing, for example, the brand of masa that you use – how would one know whether it contains significant amounts of pesticide that you are now consuming in quantities of 5-50x a normal intake.

This is sort of the investing advice of not putting all your eggs in one basket (or even just 5-6). Maybe cycling ingredients or recipes would be beneficial. But I can definitely see a place for this for maybe one meal a day. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

David Cain August 19, 2014 at 11:21 am

Lack of variety is definitely something to think about. I’m not sick of the taste of it, but I’m aware I’m consuming a lot of masa. I think that makes a good argument for always improving the recipe — better quality ingredients and continual research into the possible effects of non-variety.

Cycling recipes is a great idea. I might try ordering commercial DIYs to see what I like and don’t like about their ingredients, and I am always playing with my recipe.

Tobi August 19, 2014 at 8:03 am

I’ve been following a few people in their Soylent experiment. One guy video taped himself at the doctor, who said she did not recommend exercise at this point after two weeks on Soylent. I don’t know if she was just being paranoid (I find some of the ingredients in the official stuff iffy) but I think eating solid food every day is the key to making it work. I wonder how cavemen got their proper nutrition in? They had just be eating mostly protein.

David Cain August 19, 2014 at 11:28 am

Can you link me to that video? I’ve watched a lot of logs/video reviews but haven’t seen that one. I’ve heard the full range of doctors’ responses to the idea of soylent. It’s well known that doctors receive shockingly little nutrition training, but who knows what she was looking at. In any case, I’m not satisfied with conclusions based on one account or one experience, and none of us should be.

Tobi August 19, 2014 at 11:51 am

Found it! It’s one of the first results on google if you look up ‘soylent experiment’ so you may have seen it… but this is the one I was talking about.


It’s nearer to the end, but apparently it’s the fact that he had lost weight after just two weeks is the reason the doctor suggested he not exercise.

This video is part of the reason I believe that eating solid food along with soylent would be very important. I do plan to try your recipe because I think it’s probably a lot healthier than the original stuff :)

Thanks again David, your posts are just the best part of my day on the internet!

David Cain August 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Oh yes I’ve seen this one. I always wondered the guy forced himself to live on nothing but soylent for a month when he clearly didn’t want to.

nosgolau August 19, 2014 at 8:23 am

Your results sound encouraging! I’ve been tempted to try a soylent experiment myself, but after crashing hard on the “Lemonade Cleanse” (fresh lemon or lime juice, grade B maple syrup, cayenne, water) I have been leery of diving in. As you suggest, I’ll consult my physician before embarking on a soylent plan.

Your recipe reports that the mix of 2.3 litres totals 2000 calories. (is that right? it seems low…) What was your serving size, and how many times every day did you have it?

Thank you for posting about this project!

David Cain August 19, 2014 at 11:30 am

I usually drank 1500 calories worth, in three servings of 2-ish cups a piece, and then had a solid food dinner.

Gerge August 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm

What is it about Soylent that really gets people het up? It real provokes such a visceral response amongst lots of article writers and readers. Is it the topic of food itself?

David Cain August 19, 2014 at 2:48 pm

I don’t know… but it is a pretty common reaction. I can understand not being into it, but it seems to make some people outright hostile. They jump right to character attacks and hysteria about the end of the world. We’re really just talking about a smoothie.

George August 20, 2014 at 6:17 am

It’s as if they fear that access to ‘normal food’ is going to disappear. I’d say that it’s the connotations of the name “Soylent” that does this – government control, replacement of real food, cultural shift – but actually I find that most people don’t really know the origins of that word.

I guess we’ll find out more about the nature of people’s reactions (and the validity of their concerns, I suppose) if it does become more popular – watch this space.

David Cain August 20, 2014 at 8:18 am

Now that you mention it, I think the name has a lot to do with it. It reminds people of oppressive technology and totalitarian regimes I guess.

George August 20, 2014 at 9:28 am

Yeah, Barry Bethell’s Slim-Fastnever had the same problem!

I’m sure Bethell’s later ‘difficulties’ were unconnected to his dietary preferences, food-wise. (I leave it to the reader…)

Eddieographer August 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Soylent green is people!

George August 24, 2014 at 6:53 pm

“Soylent Beige” is what we’ve got at the moment though!

R Taylor August 19, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Hi David, Fascinating stuff. I read about Soylent, but making my own wouldn’t have occurred to me. Someone asked this earlier, but with other questions, and I didn’t notice an answer: where did you find all those ingredients? I didn’t recognize some of them… did you find them at a co-op or what?

David Cain August 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm

At local grocery stores, health food stores and the bulk food store. I got the protein at costco. A lot of US-based people order off Amazon because it’s often cheaper. Masa is availble in most grocery stores. Almond meal is available at Bulk Barn or bulk stores like that. Vitamins are available at grocery stores or health food stores.

Brandon Curtis August 19, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Definitely love the concept, but the ingredients freak me out. (As a chemical engineer who’s spent way too much time around food scientists, I have a weird relationship with the industrialization of our food supply)

Not liking the bioavailability (or the pricing!) on those supplements, and it seems a shame to choke down all of that flavorless refined oil, whey protein, and psyllium husk when there are so many delicious nuts and seeds that would get you what you need.

Criticism is cheap though, so I’m going to take a shot at making my own version and see if I can’t come up with something relatively balanced and edible that’s made from ingredients I would eat on purpose.

David Cain August 19, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Different people are freaked out by different things. I understand. I haven’t joined the hysteria surrounding GMOs, canola oil, or vitamin supplements, although I’m always open to new science. The great thing is you can leave out what you don’t want and find substitutes. In the DIY community there are all kinds of recipes: vegan, organic, soy-free, dirt-cheap, whatever fits your belief system.

Forrest August 19, 2014 at 10:28 pm

@Brandon – very cool was thinking of something similar myself.

Randy Hendrix August 20, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Great article David!

Thanks for doing all the DIY leg-work and helping make this simpler and more affordable for us to try ourselves. Congratulations on your positive results!

“Simple little reed mats”?
“Shilling for Soylent”?

WTF is the matter with you people?

(Hey, that’s the same picture in the background from “16 things I know are true but haven’t quite learned yet”…just sayin’)

David Cain August 21, 2014 at 8:33 am

Yeah that picture has been with me for a while

Roland Kusch August 21, 2014 at 3:42 am

Hi David,

Your Experiment has inspired me to start my own. One Day in I already changed the recipe a lot because there was way too much starch for my taste. I took crushed almonds instead of almond meal and flaxseed and wheat bran instead of Psyllium husk. Instead of the honey and to make it easier on the stomach I added 200g banana (you can freeze parts or mush, stays good for about 6 weeks)

My recipe (changes still quite possible):
1 Day batch:

1,5l – 2l Water (still trying to find the right amount)
200g banana
50g instant flour
100g instant rolled oats
75g crushed almonds
5g flaxseed
5g wheat bran
30 ml Oil
50g Champ Protein 90 vanilla
(whey protein is good if you are an athlete the cheaper variant is actually better for normal daily needs)

1 Pill Vitamins A-Z
(in Germany we have cheap an very good vitamin pills. Everything you need and more (since in the Protein powder there is already quite some vitamins and minerals)).

The whole shake is heavier on the fat and protein side and lighter on the carb side. It is Optimized for 120 kg bodyweight, 70% of the daily intake.

Love your side! A lot of inspiration happens here!

[Obviously you should consult your physician before making any dietary changes. It is a shame I have to say that, but we all have to protect ourselves from the irresponsible and litigious.]

David Cain August 21, 2014 at 8:35 am

So how does it taste? And can you link to the recipe on the DIY site?

The day after I posted this I found a much better substitute for the expensive Mega Men’s supplement. It also replaced the vitamin K and calc/magnesium pill. Version 1.75 is here:


Ron August 21, 2014 at 6:56 pm

I’m throwing the B.S. Flag on this one. Sounds like full blown placebo effect/marketing brainwashing caught up with you on this “experiment”. This sounds just like a goofy late night infomercial for a “miracle food” that promises to fix anything and everything from low T to depression, to melting that stubborn belly fat. Just eat good, healthy whole foods and save this mash until your teeth are gone and you have to take all your meals through a straw.

Best Realtor in McAllen August 21, 2014 at 10:01 pm

wow this inspires me a lot, gonna try mine too, although i’m a little picky when ti comes to the taste I would prefer to use juice

Lyckliga Fiskaren August 23, 2014 at 4:58 am

Interesting. I’m basically on the same diet, but without the Soylent thing. That means I’m eating once a day, in the evening. This way of eating is called “the warrior diet” and was made famous through the book “The warrior diet” by Ori Hofmekler. Some occasional fruit throughout the day.

Since I started this way of eating, about 3 years ago, I feel great. Basically this way of eating gives me more time for important things, I very seldom get tired, and I sleep well.

I am not a fan of those mixes/fluids thats supposed to give your body “everything”. Instead I just eat a healthy, large, dinner once a day and thats it. And it saves me money not even having the need of the magic mix ala Soylent.

Susan August 23, 2014 at 11:25 am

Hi David,
I applaud your efforts to get healthier and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I read the ingredient list from the DIY drink you’re making and a number of the ingredients are common items that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including all forms of soy and canola oil. Whey may contain bovine growth hormones (rBST). One option is to choose organic versions of these ingredients to ensure that your healthy drink is also as “clean” as it can be. Thanks for sharing your experience with your readers. Healthy regards, Susan, co-founder shopOrganic.com

Interestingreadinglist August 23, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Interesting article David, thanks. I have for a long time suffered from a blocked nose, especially at night. I thought it was due to being a smoker, but I gave up a month ago, and guess what? Still blocked. Changing my diet to include more fruit and veg, and eating a spoonful of local honey each day seems to have cleared it up. One observation that may be useful to others I have found, is that eating fresh fruit and veg on an empty stomach seems to make me feel more fresh, more awake, and makes the digestive system move faster. It seems like it may be more beneficial to eat nutrient rich food on an empty stomach, because it digests quicker, and you get the full benefit from it.

Gabe August 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm

This is really cool! I just wanted to say I experienced similar changes in energy and productivity when playing with my diet (I’ve had ADHD my whole life). I was experimenting with a high fat diet, not too strictly, and I was suddenly able to just apply myself and I had such steady even energy. I finally figured out it wasn’t the high fat helping me, it was avoiding gluten. I figured it out because if I had nachos or some other carby non-gluten containing junk food I felt fine the next day, but if I had pizza or a sandwich I would be scatterbrained and fatigued for a few days. I experimented a bunch with that and I’m pretty convinced that was the issue, and I’ve pretty much completely stopped taking adhd meds and have way better energy and focus levels. Of course I’m dealing with all the same placebo effect issues that come from experimenting on yourself, but I didn’t suspect gluten intolerance at all. But that is immediately what I thought of when reading your account and the benefits you noticed. It could be that you are avoiding or reducing something you are sensitive too. If you like experimenting on yourself you could see if there are issues from gluten or anything else you might be doing a good job of avoiding Also, a lot can be said for the time saving. I make a big fritata for breakfast for the week every sunday, and when I don’t get around to making it my week always goes way less smoothly just because of the time/dishes issues. Cool experiment though, I think I will try making it sometime soon!

J.A. Winfield, MD.PhD. August 24, 2014 at 9:22 pm

I could spend a great deal of time dissecting through all of the insufficiencies in your liquid soup, its imbalances, and unhealthy individual components. But I’ve chosen to just make a few simple comments.

The consumption of whole foods, and the complex interactions of sight, smell, mastication, all effect the modulation of ghrelin for example, as well as other hormones essential to the holistic best absorption, digestion, metabolic break down of micro nutrients, and as well affect/effectas the eloquent balance between hunger and satiety. This dietary approach speaks to the dysfunctional anxiety ridden aspects of our modern “burn the candle at both ends” mentality. The science behind the delicate balance between macro nutrients, fat(45%), protein (35% @ 1.3 to 1.6 gms/kg), and yes some carbohydrates (20%) is equally as important.

I’ll bet that your vitamin pack uses folic acid rather than folate. Greater than 30% of humans are deficient in the enzyme which converts the folic acid. I worry about all the B vitamins as well as the other oil soluble vitamins my friend, particularly their absorption.

Your “soup” is devoid of countless plant poly-organic compounds, Whey although excellent for muscle regeneration do two its 17% leucine content is lacking in phenolic ring essential amino acids (suggest adding pea protein) .

But your choice of Canola is the most glaring mistake ! And no medium chain fatty acids, from cold pressed EV coconut oil, nor omega-3’s. Plant verses animal, and proper ratios of non- oxidized other essentials oils are beyond the scope of this comment. I WOULD STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU READ THE FOLLOWING LINK ON CANOLA OIL .


Your liquid nutrition reminds me of a very old joke.

“This poor fellow had a broken jaw and thus had it wired shut for 6 weeks. He had to consume all his nutrition through a feeding tube. A consoling friend visited him in the hospital and commented that … ” it must be terrible not eating.” … to which the patient replied, ” Not at all. Why don’t you grab a tube and join me for lunch ! ”

The consumption of whole foods in any environment, leads to great pleasure and draws individuals together, such as in Europe for hours of pleasure and friendly conversation. WOW …. just think of all that you are missing.


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Christoph August 25, 2014 at 4:49 am

Thanks for this post.
I am a bit intrigued about a few things:

Your significant increase in energy! I just started out and have had no such change in energy levels. I am curious if this is a typical effect, or, like another reader commented, – maybe a deficiency you had that you ve overcome as a lucky by-product of your experiment!?

The time savings: For me it’s taking more time than before. Sure, might be that I get faster at it as time goes on. But considering that you still cook one meal (as I do), the other little snacks or breakfast I had during the day were no work at all: Joghurt and oats in the morning, a few nuts and fruit during the day, maybe a sandwich…. Now I have to blend the whole lot, cleaning the blender and everything takes a lot longer because the stuff is quite sticky and you can’t put the blender in the dishwasher etc. Shopping for fruit and nuts and snacks is also at least as easy and routine as for the soylent I find!?

And then, sadly, the recipes I tried so far taste nowhere near palatable :) ah well….

Lastly I wonder about this: Am I not missing something with daily the same main diet? I can’t quote it right now but there is some research I read that some nutrients are only absorbed and processed in combination with other things we eat, – so if it’s always the same in the same combinations, reduced to the essential, does that not leave some other essential stuff out?
And, as I am writing, one thing is left out for sure: the (nice) smell of “real” food, that also contributes to digestion, the nice taste of good food that again contributes to how the food is digested and processed etc. How about all of that?

Thanks again for this and I appreciate how you take the time to respond and converse on this blog!

gdubs August 25, 2014 at 8:21 am

I don’t think the reason you feel better is from the Soylent but rather because you are digesting less solid food. There is a connection between how you treat your gut and how well you feel mentally and physically.

I notice the same positive effects from intermittent fasting when I only eat one meal per day. I don’t notice any of the negative effects you mention because I am not putting processed food in my body.

MW August 25, 2014 at 12:36 pm

I agree with gdubs. There is some real crap in your formula which probably accounts for your “crashes”. Try replacing the corn meal with chestnut and coconut flour. Canola Oil is almost always oxidized and inflammatory. Try using coconut or MCT oil instead. MCT will give you the best brain boost. “No Salt” ? Really? Why would you put that into your body? I think there are some better approaches out there that will be significantly better for your health in the long run. Try some of Dave Asprey’s “Bulletproof coffee” for breakfast, a modified liquid formula or fresh pressed green juice for lunch, and a normal dinner. Guessing you will feel even better than you do now.

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nobody August 26, 2014 at 12:42 pm

There is no medical reason to avoid salt.

Please read “The Perfect Health Diet” before continuing with this drink of yours. It doesn’t look good. Long-term health effects are something to be concerned about

Here is one I’m working on:

nobody August 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm


Alethea Patton August 26, 2014 at 5:18 pm

I consider growing, cooking and eating fresh, delicious food to be one of the great joys in life. I can’t imagine eating “soylant” or any other food replacement item every day in the place of real food. This is one experiment I think I will skip.

Graeme August 28, 2014 at 7:25 am

I’ve been excited to try soylent since I first heard about it. This is the first recipe that I’ve seen that I was confident I could get all the pieces to, so I started getting really excited.

Unfortunately, for some reason none of the stores around me carry oat flour. After some frustrated research, I found that you can make oat flour using any kind of oats you can get your hands on if you have a food processor or high RPM blender. You can buy five kilo boxes of quick oats at Costco for $8. Quick oats are steamed before they’re dried and packaged, but I couldn’t find any indication that they’re nutritionally different from oat flour.

I gave it a try and the resulting “flour” is chunky and uneven, but I got over that quickly since it’s half the price. I’ve made my first batch of soylent and it doesn’t seem like there’s any problem with it at all. It’s got chunks of oats in it, but I don’t mind that personally. I can finally start my experiment! Thanks, David!

Chris August 29, 2014 at 11:40 pm

If you have leftover masa, I would guess its because the mixture is not fully saturated. Maybe add some moisture either from water or juice?

Just N Case August 31, 2014 at 2:34 pm

“… my mouth feels gross”

This is the soy lecithin. Try some straight to verify. It creates a scummy mouth covering film comparable to rancid peanut butter. If cutting the amount doesn’t work, you can substitute an emulsion like mayonnaise or avocado to get a smooth texture.

Zack August 31, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Thanks for posting about this. I have been considering trying out something like this. The actual Soylent website almost had me, but I wasn’t willing to invest quite as much so soon. Good to know there are sites out there to put one’s own recipe together. Cheers!!

Maylee September 1, 2014 at 4:35 am

Great blog, really interesting article but must say, i like to chew my food too much to try this!!

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Sarah September 15, 2014 at 8:15 am

I experienced a smilier revaluation when I started making green smoothies everyday. Similarly they would account for most of my nutrition in the day with one larger meal at night or two smaller daily meals. I agree with the above poster that the increased energy has more to do with the body not having to spend so much time digesting. I would definitely recommend giving green smoothies a try. The book “green for life” got me started. Basically it’s a bunch of raw greens, water, and some fruit blended. I sometimes add a trace mineral supplement, and super foods like chia seeds. I turned my best friend onto them and my dad. All his inflammation went away, he’s more athletic than ever and he lost over thirty lbs. I love the concept, but I think you can create a way more nutrition version with additional health benefits. i’ve heard a lot of not great things about soyletchin and whey protein. instead of canola oil you could use flax oil or coconut oil, or instead add a nutritious fat like hemp seeds, avocado, coconut meat, or almond butter. Just an idea :)

Scott November 10, 2014 at 9:43 pm

I really want to try this, but I’m not sure. The cost of the GNC pills are a little much, but everything else seems extremely reasonable. It’s a bit of an investment to get all the ingredients together, and I am a tad concerned about the consistency and taste of it. I don’t want to get mega turned off to it because it’s gross, and then have trouble continuing the habit!

I’m mulling it over…and the cusp of just jumping in! Thanks for a great article David!

David Cain November 11, 2014 at 9:33 am

I have since phased out the expensive GNC pills. This is what I’m currently doing:


The Kirkland multivitamin is from Costco and is much, much cheaper.

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