Soylent, the startup dedicated to conquering the universally hated ritual of eating food, now offers a version of its protein-rich nutrient gloop in ready-to-drink bottles. Previous versions of Soylent arrived as powders that you mix with water. That takes time, much like it does to sear a cut of filet mignon lightly on both …
It could also be useful for people who live in areas where clean drinking water is hard to come by. For example, the good citizens of Mumbai could drink Soylent 2.0 instead of going to all the bother of preparing exquisitely spiced dishes such as baida roti, butter chicken with naan, or gujarati thaalis.
I struggle to believe you're really that stupid not to see that this has uses. Clearly you've never seen ready-to-drink milkshakes on sale, only the kind you mix your own milk with powder. Or pre-made sandwiches, only shops selling bread and ham separately.
If you want lunch at work or while travelling, faffing about mixing things together IS clearly a faff and if the point of this product is convenience, then more convenience is clearly better.
The only hope is that with the expected enormous demand they end up making the stuff in one of those Chinese factories that doesn't make baby milk powder any more. That'd take care of both the idiots who buy it and those behind this abomination, assuming the Chinese got the firing squad back in again for the Soylent team.
That sounds like it is the very essence of the problem, and the thing that should be addressed. Surely once the masses have some streaky or a bit of back turning up at their door in time for breakfast, the world cannot help but be a better place.
A little more effort into growing bacon and distributing it would probably even right Greece's ailing economy.
People eating this would be having a protein shake or a pot noodle anyway, not a sit down meal.
I'd rather get most of my calories1 from pot noodle for a month than make do with Soylent for a day. At least instant ramen has some heat, a little texture, and something vaguely approximating flavor.
1I was going to write "live on", but on reflection that idea is absurd. Obviously I'd need some source of actual nutrition.
Nutrient-rich ingredients my ass. That slop doesn't fill a working man's stomach.
Give me a steak with potatoes any day. And if you don't know how to cook that, you deserve all the slop you get.
Cooking. It's what elevated us from the caveman. Let's not forget that important point of evolution, shall we ?
It's unclear whether you are talking about biological evolution or social evolution.
In terms of biology, humans have been 'humans' for at least tens of thousands of years and very probably around 200,000 years. It is thought that control of fire was achieved prior to this evolutionary milestone and there is indeed a theory that cooking food resulted in better nutrition which in turn assisted in brain development.
But, biologically, the fact that it was COOKED is not really relevant - simply that better nutrition was available. In that sense, it matters not one whit whether you have consumed that nutrition after lovingly preparing a sumptuous meal or after chugging a bottle of goop; if the nutrition is there then your body doesn't care how it came about.
Fire and cooking was also important socially, however and contributed to that side of our evolution. Specifically, it allowed more time for other pursuits as night was no longer a barrier.
On that measure, however, the far greater development was agriculture, which finally allowed humans to manage their food sources better and to produce surpluses. This in turn allowed people to specialise and enabled trade and so on.
So, when it comes to social evolution, allowing people to satisfy their nutritional needs without having to spend time gathering and producing and preparing it is what is important - you are freeing people from that burden so they can spend their time on other pursuits.
Of course, for many people that just means more time to watch TV or people working themselves to the bone, skipping lunch breaks, and so on but the point is that from an evolutionary standpoint, the important developments are available nutrition and available time, both of which this product satisfies.
But anyway, it's not necessarily logical to say that something that prompted or produced an evolutionary change towards modern humans in the past is necessarily going to be a good thing now or in the future.
Take the climate change that resulted in deforestation and pressed our ape-like ancestors 'come down from the trees' and to slowly adapt to a lifestyle on the plains, including developing a more upright posture, which freed their hands and so allowed for the development of tools.
Does that mean that deforestation is a good thing now?
...was to cook.. bbq... make things tasty and crispy.
That's correct. The magical confluence of men, beer, fire, meat, bread, and sunshine. Unfortunately the ladies don't seem to understand the simplicity of the idea, and I'd just like to make a public appeal to women of planet earth:
A barbecue does not involve salad. Ever. Or coleslaw. Or cous cous. Or vegetables. Or fancy gastro-pub style ten deck gourmet burgers. Or any meat products purchased from a supermarket (with possibly a solitary exception for home made burgers from supermarket bought mince).
And for the gents, a polite reminder: No Budweiser or similar camp drinks.
The Geeks may want it, the rest of us in the human race, do not.
It's not mandatory. Nobody's forcing you. If you're not interested, just pass on by.
There's really no reason for so many people to be so hostile to the idea that other people may have different priorities.
To be fair it's a pretty dumb idea, and it would not come as much of a shock that, after some time in the wild there were some significant health comebacks.
plus no one mentioned the colossal and exquisitely revolting farts that accompany the fad.
still cooler than a smartwatch tho
There's really no reason for so many people to be so hostile to the idea that other people may have different priorities.
Clearly you're new to the Internet. And quite possibly to humanity. Welcome to Earth! Try to avoid Philadelphia if your head is easily removable.
I'm not sneering but... perhaps I'm unusual but I consider myself a geek and have never, ever been afraid to take breaks from being sat in front of a computer when it's time to prepare something delicious. Christmas dinner for example - that takes at least a couple of days to prepare for (not counting the weeks beforehand feeding the pudding that you cooked in november and were soaking the fruit for since june) but it's totally worth it.
Food for me isn't just a source of nutrition, it's also pleasure. So much so that I don't think I can fully comprehend people who eat without pleasure...
Most people would but then most people would also prefer to have a leisurely breakfast and long shower in the morning before taking a nice stroll over to work. Unfortunately, the reality for most people is that they have a quick bite, a quick shower and then squeeze into a train/bus or fight the traffic.
I'd like to have the time to cover my face in a warm, damp towel, while my brush softens and my purified rainwater heats up, then work up a nice lather of Mitchell's, get out the Merkur and enjoy a nice, close shave.
But, of course, on a Monday morning I instead rev up the electric and take a few passes to make me respectable - sometimes while simultaneously getting though my toast.
Also, anyone who has had to subsist for any length of time on current meal substitutes, as provided by hospitals, will attest to their unsuitability.
@dan, May I recommend optimising your morning routine hence - hop in shower with your toothbrush, brush teeth. Next shower gel/shampoo to clean the unclean bits, then finally, whilst hair is rinsing better, a wet shave. The time in the shower softens the bristle whilst you engage in other grooming, and doing all activities in the shower increases your effective shower time.
Engineers - can't resist optimising things...
"You forgot to take a piss in the shower."
That'll make the shower trap smell fragrant, particularly since true tree huggers will be taking short, tepid showers under a flow restricting shower head. Trust the UEA (of Climategate infamy) to come up with such a stupid idea, and the BBC to publicise it.
Eating whole spit-roast piglet directly off the spit, ripping the rich dripping cooked flesh off with my teeth, burning my tongue on the hot bits, trying not to singe my eyebrows in the flames.
I have before-and-after photos of the piglet. Firstly, running around my feet in the volcanic highlands of Virunga as sold to me by Johnny Walker (his English name), and secondly a few hours later with a spike up its bum and out its mouth, slowly caramelising and rendering in a circular fashion. An animal that most certainly did not die in vain.
And it was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike Soylent. Who am I kidding? Completely unlike Soylent.
I've been on the soylent (1.5 I guess) for about 4 months now, using it just for lunch. I've found it most palatable when you use about 25% less water than they recommend, add a sachet of hot chocolate powder to it, make it about 2 hours before you intend to consume it and add a handful of ice to the mixture before shaking it. It's still largely unappealing; but I like that I can stay in bed for an extra 15 mins (not having to prepare a lunch), and it's considerably cheaper (both in a time sense and $$$) than going down to the food court at the office complex/leaving the building to go find food. I still go out with the team on Fridays, but for Monday to Thursday, soylent worms out at about $2.50 a day and certainly satisfies my appetite.
Absolutely; my life is optimized around getting up and out of the house as fast as possible, then doing whatever I can to cut down the amount of time spent at work; so that I can get back and spend time with the kids/walk the dog/see the wife, so fifteen minutes in the morning and forty five minutes at lunch get me back an extra hour at the end of the working day. For me, soylent has been great. I'm happy that you have oodles of free time to spend on things like making cheap, tasty and textured lunch; but for my life, it works well and I'm very pleased with the trade off.
Fifteen minutes in the morning to prepare lunch? It takes me thirty seconds to prepare mine, probably less time than the gloop-mix preparation you describe, and costs about £1.50. And it has the advantage of having both solid and liquid components, along with a variety of flavours.
Whatever floats your boat dear, but to me that's a damned expensive and unappetising way to get that many calories. And I've nothing against artificial foods, I had fake bacon sarnies for breakfast just yesterday, and mmm, they tasted so good! (also mildly expensive, but much more pleasurable than drinking even, say, a strawberry milk shake).
Part of the gastric system relies on information from your mouth, like chewing and suchlike to prepare the body for what's to come.
The senses in your mouth tell the brain what is going on and the brain in turn tells the stomach, pancreas and associated bits to get a move on.
As I'm sure people who have eaten chewing gum can testify, mimicking eating food doesn't half play havoc with your gut and so, conversely, not giving your gastric system an heads up must have some consequences.
I always considered the "everything you need in one handy serving" would have been like a flapjack, indeed, for about three years I made flapjacks every week, to eat at work. Easy to make, plenty of options for flavouring and if enough consideration has gone into it, a perfect nutritional meal, that provides energy throughout the day.
"As I'm sure people who have eaten chewing gum can testify, mimicking eating food doesn't half play havoc with your gut and so, conversely, not giving your gastric system an heads up must have some consequences."
Yes, I think I might be a bit concerned at having to share a workspace with anyone planning on living on this stuff. The digestive system will still keep pushing down through your system, even if there's nothing solid to move. People who skip lunch tend to fart more. I dread to think what will happen to someone not eating solids at all.
ISTR there has been some concern about calorie free artificial sweeteners with regard to the the brain and digestive system getting the sweet taste and preparing for an onslaught of high carb calories which then fail to arrive so the digestive chemicals produced then don't get used up,
Sounds like the perfect food for Vegans/veggies. They can eat nothing but this stuff, which will then allow us to reduce the amount of vegetables we grow, thereby reducing carbon emissions from growing/transporting the stuff, also think of the water it would save, perfect for drought stricken areas.
Which would also give us meat eaters more room to be able to raise more piggies for bacon... sweet sweet bacon.
This article reminds me of why I was once a Guardian reader. It used to be funny, witty, erudite and engaging.
You must be very old.
For the past 30 years I've been old enough to be familiar with its works, the Guardian has been hypocritical, illogical, emotive, and just plain wrong.
Why, take its work on tax avoidance by the use of SPEs, offshore trusts, and venture capitalists - that saved it over £350,000,000 in taxes, which would have paid for a lot of nurses. And yet it emotively campaigns against this behaviour for everyone else.
I could raise its "use me as a mouthpiece" fiasco from this very website as further example of an appauling lack of rigour, intellect, or rationale from its own science editor.
In short, the Guardian is not what it pretends to be and it is not what its most avid readers believe it to be. Its just a left wing Daily Mail, nothing more.
As a day to day thing, if you're really busy, this might replace a smoothie or something similar as breakfast. Also, if you're serious about weight training, this could maybe replace a couple of meals a day.
But, where it's really useful is in natural disasters, like earthquakes, hurricanes etc. Food and water in one hit and done. And it doesn't need refrigeration or cooking.
So is the point of this not just because it's handy but also weight loss a la slimfast?
Two delicious shakes followed by actual food?
Guessing that's where they're aiming it at, rather than at the whey protein drinking bodybuilder crowd.
I can see it being useful in food shortage situations, especially the pre-watered variety for disaster hit areas.
I'm actually more confused having looked at their website than I was before I read it.
"Some people use it almost exclusively" - do they, really tho?
"with half of its fat energy coming from farm-free, algae sources"
Er...since I thought most edible bacteria was a product of algaculture farms, if the algae is "farm free," where did it come from?* Local retention ponds and drainage ditches?**
**Rhetorical, but speculative answers welcome.
The ignorance of this "journalist" is laughable.
Soylent is used by most not as a complere meal replacement.
But it is much better for you when you are on a trip or at work than eating the fast food crap that is offered to you there.
Good luck getting a filet mignon with steamed vegetables and a salad in the next gas station, when on a road trip.
"But it is much better for you when you are on a trip or at work than eating the fast food crap that is offered to you there."
My cafeteria has egg-white omelets, made-to-order wraps, a salad bar, and other healthy offerings (which I ignore in favor of the heart-clogging hot food line and grill). The glop-in-a-bottle doesn't necessarily trump work food on healthiness.
Of course, not everyone has a cafeteria like that at work. Fortunately, Soylent 2.0 isn't the first attempt at producing shelf-storable foods suitable for keeping at your desk. There are many dried, salted, smoked, ultra-pasteurized, and otherwise preserved healthy foods that will store nicely at your desk and require no cooking. My cube mate favors granola, cereal, and dried fruits (which are options I ignore in favor salt-and-fat concoctions like Hormel's "Compleats" series of microwavable meals and Campbell soup). Again, Soylent 2.0's not really offering anything new for healthy, preparation-free work food even when healthy cafeterias aren't available.
Travel's much the same. If you can keep it at your desk then it can go in a briefcase. For a day's road trip there are plenty of less storable, healthy foods that will keep, like a sandwich in a sealed bag. Even a filet mignon sandwich is safe for a day or two.
Some other novel inventions of the past century have included items like "Thermoses" and "insulation" that preserve food temperatures for hours at a time so you can have a healthy, hot or chilled meal on the road.
I'm given to understand militaries have put some consideration into preserved, nutritious, varied meal packs of convenient size, too.
I actually want to get some Soylent to keep at the office for those days I forget to grab my lunch on my way out the door. Unappetizing as it is it's still better than the fast food I've had to eat on those does. A hell of a lot cheaper too. Mind you I'd probably opt for the powder with a shelf life measured in decades over the premix that I have to be sure to get through in a year.
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