Greg Stevens: Why you shouldn’t try Soylent
I moved out of home younger than most of my friends. I’d dropped out of college and moved to Dublin to go work in a computer store. Like most people moving out of home for the first time, I was incredibly naive about the whole situation, choosing to jump in head-first, as opposed to planning for things like cleaning, food or rent. I’ve matured a bit since and have mostly cleaned up my act. I now live in a pristinely clean and empty apartment because fuck furniture.
There does remain, however, one thing that I am absolutely useless with, and that is food. It could be the crazy hours I work or the fact that I mostly use my apartment as somewhere to lie down for a few hours and, if my colleagues are lucky, shower, but I just hate food. Food to me is something to keep my body going, and nothing more.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good meal. I just don’t and can’t cook them myself. My diet for the last two months has consisted of cheap beer and the drunken kebab that generally follows after four or five of the aforesaid beers. That episode of The Simpsons where Homer is followed around by the hot dog vendor? “Lady, he’s putting my kids through college!” That’s me and the kebab guy nearest my office.
I don’t go there because its the best kebab in Berlin – a topic that definitely warrants a feature of its own – but because it’s convenient. Its exactly enough time to leave my office and finish a cigarette before having to order, which I don’t even have to do anymore. Because I live there.
Obviously, not everyone is like me. I’m a male in my twenties slowly adjusting to living away from home for the first time. No one my age with a life has time to make sure they’re eating well and if they say they do they’re a liar or a vegetarian.
So when I first read about Soylent and its creator Rob Rheinhardt, my heart leapt. Finally, here was someone who understands me. Someone who shares in my workaholic tendencies and a hatred (read: fear) of preparing meals and the awful, interminable clean-up afterwards. (Seriously, why do people bother?) Someone who wants the healthiest food possible with the least amount of fuss.
Soylent is a strange concoction of carbohydrates, fats, minerals, proteins and vitamins. It has been created to provide you with exactly what the body needs, in three handy meals a day. It comes in powder form and and you simply mix it with water, drink it and go.
There are some concerns. Some are hilarious, such as adding too much sulphur into the mixture or what happens when you swallow gum on a liquid diet. Some are more serious and have been outlined by my colleague, Greg.
But I can only spend so much time talking about this. I’m going to make Soylent a part of my daily diet and with the help of some quantified self gadgets I’m usually too lazy to use, track my body and see if Soylent is as good as its creator says it is.
A few journalists have tried this in the US before, but, as far as I’m aware, no one in Europe and no one for this long. Let’s see how I get on. Needless to say, you’ll be getting regular updates.