Quote:You know what's a complete waste of time, money, and effort? Eating. I mean, wouldn't you rather just ingest a tasteless form of sustenance for the rest of your life and never have to go through that tedious rigmarole of opening and eating a premade sandwich or feasting on a pile of fried delicacies ever again? Rob Rhinehart—a 24-year-old software engineer from Atlanta and, presumably, an impossibly busy man—thinks so.
Rob found himself resenting the inordinate amount time it takes to fry an egg in the morning and decided something had to be done. Simplifying food as "nutrients required by the body to function" (which sounds totally bulimic, I know, but I promise it's not), Rob has come up with an odorless beige cocktail that he's named Soylent.
I wasn't sure if he was trolling at first because that's the name of a wafer made out of human flesh and fed to the masses in the seminal 1973 sci-fi film Soylent Green, but then I read the extensive post on Rob's blog about how he came to make the stuff, and I started to believe he was serious. Soylent contains all the nutritive components of a balanced diet but just a third of the calories and none of the toxins or cancer-causing stuff you'd usually find in your lunch of processed foods. Despite the fact that it looks a bit like vomit, Soylent supposedly has the potential to change the entire world's relationship with food, so I spoke to Rob to find out how.
VICE: Hi, Rob. Why did you decide to boycott eating?
Rob Rhinehart: It was a combination of things. I was home for Christmas and saw an elderly family friend get admitted to the hospital after losing an unhealthy amount of weight. He was losing strength in one of his arms and found it very difficult to cook. I started wondering why something as simple and important as food was still so inefficient, given how streamlined and optimized other modern things are. I also had an incentive to live as cheaply as possible, and I yearned for the productivity benefit of being healthy. I'd been reading a lot of books on biology, and I started to think that it's probably all the same to our cells whether it gets nutrients from a powder or a carrot.
What was the next step?
Hacking the body is high risk, high reward. I read a textbook on physiological chemistry and took to the internet to see if I could find every known essential nutrient. My kitchen soon looked like a chemistry lab, and I had every unknown substance in a glass in front of me. I was a little worried it was going to kill me, but decided it was for science and quickly downed the whole thing. To my surprise, it was quite tasty, and I felt very energetic. For 30 days, I avoided food entirely, and I monitored the contents of my blood and my physical performance. Mental performance is harder to quantify, but I feel much sharper.
So what’s in Soylent, exactly?
Everything the body needs—that we know of, anyway—vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients like essential amino acids, carbohydrates, and fat. For the fat, I just use olive oil and add fish oil. The carbs are an oligosaccharide, which is like sugar, but the molecules are longer, meaning it takes longer to metabolize and gives you a steady flow of energy for a longer period of time rather than a sugar rush from something like fructose or table sugar. I also add some nonessentials like antioxidants and probiotics and lately have been experimenting with nootropics.
And that tastes good?
It tastes very good. I haven't got tired of the taste in six weeks. It's a very "complete" sensation, more sweet than anything. Eating to me is a leisure activity, like going to the movies, but I don't want to go to the movies three times a day.
What are some of the benefits to the food-free lifestyle? Any drawbacks?
Not having to worry about food is fantastic. No groceries or dishes, no deciding what to eat, no endless conversations weighing the relative merits of gluten-free, keto, paleo, or vegan. Power and water bills are lower. I save hours a day and hundreds of dollars a month. I feel liberated from a crushing amount of repetitive drudgery. Soylent might also be good for people having trouble managing their weight. I find it very easy to lose and gain precise amounts of weight by varying the proportions in my drink.
There are drawbacks: It doesn't keep long after mixing with water, so I still have to make it every day. If I make a mistake with the amount of an ingredient, it can make me sick, but that hasn't happened in a while. Also, some people really enjoy food a lot more than I do, so they may not like the idea.
Read more: http://www.vice.com/read/rob-rhinehart-n...uires-food