YOU'VE SEEN the stream-lined ads on your newsfeed. Maybe your friendly neighborhood CS major has a few bottles in his fridge, next to the coconut water. You’ve dabbled in the occasional juice cleanse, but you don’t know what it’s like to fully eschew chewing. We (Katherine, Cindy, and Lisa) replaced our meals for five days with Soylent, and documented the experience.
Lisa: I felt like I was living in the future with Soylent. I saved a lot of time and mental energy not thinking about what I was going to eat in the day, and how I would get all my nutrients - it’s kind of like how Mark Zuckerberg wears the same t-shirt-jean-flip-flop combo every day, so he can think of new ways to turn Facebook into a Black Mirror app. It worked well with my schedule, because I didn’t have to accomodate dining hall hours, and I could still get coffee and breakfast in a minimalist bottle. I appreciated how convenient it was, but I missed chewing and salty food. I think Soylent is a great alternative for a few meals, but not necessarily a full-time meal replacement.
Katherine: I think the hardest part about drinking Soylent is the mind games it plays with you before you actually drink it. It’s like when you’re about to take a shot, and you really don’t want to drink it, but you want to be able to dance later without thinking too much about what your arms are doing. In this case, I want to be able to say I went a week without eating solid food.
Katherine: I have never had Soylent before. The packaging looks nice, very sleek. Very Silicon Valley. Holding one feels like being at a Hackathon, except you actually do have time to eat a real meal if you want to. This one is a breakfast one! It has caffeine, hallelujah. But will it be enough caffeine? Will I have to drink three of them to compensate for my terrible sleeping habits and stay awake in Earth Systems? That would be ⅗ of my daily calorie intake…maybe I should buy caffeine pills. Why is the solution always to buy more stuff. I am such a consumer.
Lisa: I woke up at 6am and went to Soulcycle with Katherine, and after that, I felt energized and ready to seize the day. I don’t think I realized how hard socializing would be - going to dinner with groups of people was a little awkward as I sat there with the Soylent watching everyone else eat. But it was nice to not have to worry about planning a healthy, nutritious meal. By the end of the day, I felt full, but not satisfied. I did really enjoy the vanilla flavored one. Mantra of the day: "#surthriving."
Katherine: The Tasty videos on Facebook have been taunting me all day. I think it’s time to quit social media. I decided to torment not only myself, but also Lisa and Cindy, by tagging them in various cookie montages. Maybe if I drink the classic and the chocolate Soylent at the same time, it will be like a liquid cookie. But probably not.
Honestly, I caved and ate a giant, beautiful, healthy dinner at Wilbur dining. I will never complain about Wilbur dining again. I drank two bottles of Soylent throughout the day, which I think is a pretty good amount. If you’re constantly on the go, you don’t normally eat breakfast, or you have trouble maintaining a balanced diet, Soylent could be a very effective meal replacement. But unless you truly do not enjoy eating good food everyday, I wouldn’t recommend surviving off of these.
Lisa: I decided after my first sip of the original flavor that I would only drink chai and chocolate for the rest of the week. The chocolate one tastes only a few removals away from chocolate milk. I was also able to survive two hours sitting in front of a table of fresh pizzas, and didn’t even flinch. I believe I am becoming a machine. Also, I used to really enjoy cardio, but now it just brings me pain. Mantra of the day: “Mind over matter.”
Cindy: This day was rough. I never thought I’d crave an egg so much, probably because the Soylent flavors are all so sweet. I don’t think I’ve been eating/imbibing enough of bottles of the stuff either, because I was unfocused and irritable all throughout the day.
Cindy: I caved and ate scrambled eggs for breakfast. I’ve pretty much concluded that it is not, in fact, possible to survive solely on Soylent. The calories that you’re drinking seem to just disappear as soon as you finish drinking. Eating those eggs made me feel satisfied for the first time since I started this experiment. Also, this stuff makes you pee a lot. Like, on average, five or six times a day, I would say.
Lisa: I really miss masticating. I wonder if I can chew gum. Is masticating cheating? Who knows? I’m starting to truly enjoy the chai flavor. It’s really getting very hard to be present at meals (especially in dining halls) and only be able to drink Soylent as I watch other people eat. I shall not lie. I had a cup of fruit smoothie at breakfast and a tiny sip of coffee. I also had a protein bar, because I almost passed out again at the gym. I swallowed a cherry tomato whole because #NoMasticating. I also had some mashed potatoes, but it’s okay because I did not chew them. Mantra of the day: “Mastication is a human right."
Katherine: With the end in sight, I powered through a final day of full meal replacements. This was the easiest day. It was Friday, I had the weekend to look forward to, and I had plans to go to Thaiphoon with the girls tomorrow to celebrate. I was surprised to see how many leftover bottles I had in my room by the end of it, but luckily my roommate loves the stuff so she was over the moon. I kept a few for myself for the busier workdays, and went to sleep thinking about lattes and Thai food.
Lisa: I can see the end. It’s near. I planned a trip to In ‘N Out as soon as I finished the last bottle, and I can say that it was the best meal of my life. Day 5 was honestly not that bad. I think my body was used to not masticating, and I made it through the day without snacks. Perhaps it was the thought of In ‘N Out that sustained me, but I finished strong. Mantra of the day: “I’ll have a grilled cheese with two orders of cheese fries and a strawberry milkshake, for here, please.”