One Month of Soylent: Day 3

Drinking nothing but shakes gets a touch monotonous. Today I decided to get a little creative!

Getting Creative with Soylent

Soylent pancake's slogan would be: It's solid.

Soylent pancake’s slogan would be: It’s solid.

One of the promises of the Soylent diet is that it will liberate you from food. All that messy nonsense of planning meals, cooking, and cleaning up after are a thing of the past (to say nothing of the time spent measuring, mixing, and cleaning up after the soylent). Of course, I actually like food, and I consider cooking one of my hobbies. I want to be liberated from food like a pig wants to be liberated from a mud bath.

Today I woke up needing to eat something, but instead of ditching the soylent diet three days in, I decided to get creative. Today I made pancakes and eggs.

The eggs were simple enough. Heat up some olive oil in a pan, toss in the eggs, baste them so they get nice and greasy. Since the oil is part of my diet for the day, I can hardly feel guilty for eating eggs swimming in oil. A little bit of hot sauce made the eggs quite lovely. Shout out to Choperena for the suggestion!

The pancakes were different. To make the pancakes I mixed 1 meal’s worth of the Ketofood soylent powder with 1/4 cup melted coconut oil and 1/4 cup water. Beat with a whisk until it reaches the consistency of pancake batter, and let sit. I actually think it would have been better if I let it sit in the fridge over night, but I can’t say I’ve tried it. Then, heat up a bit of coconut oil in a pan, pour in the pancake mix, and cover to cook until the pancake is lightly browned, flipping over once.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend them as anything higher than a health food, but they have that amazing quality of actually being solid. The experience was completely different than a normal pancake. Where a normal pancake is light, fluffy, and mildly sweet, this pancake was thick, heavy, and tasted vaguely meaty. I wouldn’t want to put maple syrup on this pancake, even if I could, but I’m considering mixing up a hollandaise sauce for it next time. As for the texture, the pancake came out pretty dry and grainy. I think letting the mix sit over night would fix the graininess, while a high temperature pan and shorter cook time would help keep the pancake from getting too dry. The aforementioned hollandaise sauce wouldn’t hurt, either.

Overall, I would call the experiment of cooking with soylent a success. The biggest thing a soylent diet lacks is variety, and this certainly helped to break the monotony of the shakes. I have some things planned for the ongoing ketosis recipe that take advantage of the coconut flour in it, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

The rest of the soylent

World's least interesting food blogger.

World’s least interesting food blogger.


I actually consumed more than half of my calories at breakfast. Both eggs, half of the coconut oil and olive oil for the day, and one third of my day’s soylent powder went into that meal. Everything else went into the shake, as usual.

Today’s shake was much less gritty than the last few. My guess is that it’s because I switched from solid coconut grease over to the liquid MCT oil, but I really can’t be certain because the shake’s composition was so different today. Tomorrow, I’ll get confirmation on that when everything goes into the shake again.

How I felt

I really felt satisfied after breakfast today. I don’t know if it’s because I ate more calories than normal or if it’s because I actually had something solid sitting in my belly, but it was nice to feel sated.

Throughout most of the day I felt fairly good. A little hungry now and then, but the less gritty soylent seemed to do the trick.

I didn’t get a chance to hit the gym today. Summer hours at Penn State means the gym is closed on Saturday and only runs limited hours on Sunday. I decided to take a 2 mile walk at the end of the day just to make sure I didn’t spend the whole day lounging around like a sack of potatoes.

Near the end of my walk, though, I really started to feel exhausted. Sore limbs, soreness in my sides (near my kidneys), and just a general desire to lay down and stop moving. I drank another glass of potassium infused broth, and while it lessened the symptoms somewhat, I still felt pretty miserable. At this point I’m wondering if there’s anything else I might be missing,

Daily Status: Day 3

Sleep: 1:00 AM – 9:45 AM (8.75 hours)
Food today: 2 eggs, 1 soylent pancake, 2x induction phase ketosis soylent (minus the eggs and pancake ingredients), 1 glass chicken broth with potassium citrate
Distance walked: ~2 miles
Workout: None (gym closed on Saturday)
Weight: 187.6 lb
Waist: 34″
Hips: 42.75″
Feeling: Fatigued, sore (especially legs and sides)

One Month of Soylent: Day 2

Another day, another bottle of soylent downed. Here are my experiences from day 2 of my soylent experiment.

Recipe change

That's two whole meals in a glass!

That’s two whole meals in a glass!

As I mentioned yesterday, I wanted to make a change to make the soylent a little more thick. I cut the water by a lot and added ice, making the final product something like a thick smoothie. It was probably a bit too thick…it didn’t want to pour through the opening of my shaker cup. But I was able to add more water to it throughout the day to get the consistency right.

Tomorrow will be better, a slight increase in water should be about perfect.

How I felt

After breakfast today I felt satisfied, and didn’t feel like a water balloon. But throughout most of the day I felt rather hungry, and by the time evening rolled around I started to get a bit of a headache. This is expected for the onset of ketosis, but it’s still uncomfortable, and I’m looking into solutions to it. Edit: Looks like it might be a low electrolyte problem, but since the mix is already as salty as I can handle, I’m gonna fix the problem by drinking some chicken broth.

Also, in terms of energy, I felt pretty sluggish most of the day, though I did get myself to the gym for a decent workout.

On the bright side, that probably means ketosis is kicking in, which is a plus.

Daily Status: Day 2

Sleep: 1:15 AM – 9:30 AM (8.25 hours)
Food today: Induction phase ketosis soylent (mixed with 1l water) x3 meals
Distance walked: <1 mile Workout: Inclined machine bench press (10 x 20 lb/arm), Leg press (10 x 90 lb), Rowing machine (765 m), Bicycle kicks (3 sets x 40 reps), Reverse Crunch (19 reps) Weight: 188.6 lb Waist: 34" Hips: 42.75" Feeling: Hungry, headachey, sluggish.

One Month of Soylent: Day 1

Today was my first day on the soylent diet. Here were my experiences for the day.

Mixing the Soylent

The whole gang's here.

The whole gang’s here.

Mixing the soylent can be kind of a pain. Here you can see everything needed to make a day of my ketogenic soylent. There’s the soylent powder I mixed up last week, the coconut oil (a stopgap while I wait for my shipment of MCT oil), olive oil, two eggs, and the multivitamins. Don’t skip the multivitamins on this diet!

Ready to be mixed!

Ready to be mixed!

This is before I added extra water. It's about the consistency of a smoothie here.

This is before I added extra water. It’s about the consistency of a smoothie here.

The recommended serving directions call for everything to be mixed with 3 liters of water for the day. That’s a lot, even for my big blender, so I decided to work in stages. First, I mixed everything with about 0.5 liters of water and blended it until smooth (about 1 minute). Then, I reserved half of the soylent smoothy and filled the blender up to 1.5 liters. After blending that, I poured the first batch in the bistro pitcher. Then I repeated with the second half of the reserved smoothy.

That's a lot of soylent!

That’s a lot of soylent!

Drinking the Soylent

Here goes nothing!

Here goes nothing!

Different mixes have different flavors, depending on what goes in them. The official soylent has a lot of oat flour, and apparently ends up tasting a lot like oat milk (and also a little sweet). This one has virtually no carbs, so it has a completely different flavor profile.

This soylent tastes kind of like bland peanut butter with an alkaline aftertaste. I’m not sure if it’s the chia seeds, but it’s got a lot of loose fibers as well. The worst part, though, is how much water there is. At 1 liter per meal, drinking this much alkaline-nut-water is an ordeal. And I think the only way I got through it was by using my protein shaker, so I wouldn’t have to smell the stuff while I drank it. For a while after drinking my first meal, I felt unpleasantly full.

By the end of the day, I was used to the taste. Letting the drink chill really helped it to become more quaffable.

I believe their aiming for┬áthe consistency of milk, but I don’t think that’s a good choice for this particular mix. If it’s going to taste as oily and nutty as this, I want the mix to be smooth and thick. Actually, the consistency of my initial stage is probably just about right! Moreover, the the mixture was fairly warm (it had to be to keep the coconut oil from solidifying), but I plan to remedy this by adding ice to the blender after the initial smoothy is complete.

On a side note, I think the addition of chocolate and coconut flour for next week will balance well with the nuttiness. The ongoing ketosis mix will probably be a lot more pleasant.

How I felt

It’s hard to say how I felt today. While at work I had a headache for about 5 minutes, though that’s not unusual for me. After my workout I felt really hungry for a nice piece of grilled chicken, and still felt hungry after throwing back 22 oz of the shake. I did have a short bout near the end of my work day where I felt extra alert and focused, and I rode that feeling to get a few last-minute things done that I’ve been putting off for a bit too long.

The main thing I felt was a weird sense that my stomach was full, but I was hungry. My soylent has me running at about a 700 calorie deficit, and the huge amount of water in the soylent can’t quite trick my stomach into thinking I’m getting a full day’s meals. Couple that with a constant need to pee, and I’m seeing some real benefits to reducing the water in my soylent mix tomorrow.

Daily Status: Day 1

Sleep: 1:30 AM – 9:45 AM (8.25 hours)
Food today: Induction phase ketosis soylent (mixed with 3l water) x3 meals
Distance walked: ~5 miles (to school and back + a nice walk while on the phone)
Workout: Inclined shoulder press (9 x 35 lbs/arm), Close-grip supinated pull-downs (10 x 100 lbs), Machine crunches (10 x 50 lbs), Bicycle kicks (40). All weight sets at a 5 up/5 down cadence, weights chosen for failure at 10 reps.
Weight: 190.6 lb
Waist: 34″
Hips: 42.75″
Feeling: Slightly hungry, alert.

< To day 0

One Month of Soylent: Day 0

You may have heard of soylent, the unfortunately named food replacement shake that seeks to change the way people eat. The basic premise is simple, make a shake that has all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that the body needs, and consume that instead of food. The creator hopes this will revolutionize the world by creating a new staple food, and he claims that this is a truly unique idea. While the goal may be far off and the claims hyperbolic, the idea of a food that’s nutritionally complete, convenient, and inexpensive certainly has its appeal. So, as a true neophile, I felt the need to give this unusual diet a shot.

Planning

I didn’t want to jump into a huge diet change blindly. I began by researching the official Soylent recipe (which is available online from the creator) at Soylent.me. From what I could tell, the official recipe is high in carbohydrates and fills out its macronutrients with oat flour. That almost immediately put the official stuff out of the running for me, since I gravitate towards low carb (or at least low glycemic index) diets. Also, regular soylent isn’t really meant to be a diet shake, since it has enough calories to maintain a regular body weight. Over time, you might lose pounds, but since my goal is to lose a significant amount of weight, the official mix wasn’t going to do it.

This set me to searching around the net for a good ketogenic soylent recipe, which eventually led me to QuidNYC’s Ketofood (which comes in Induction and Ongoing flavors). After checking my numbers with the Keto Calculator, I made sure that the amount of protein and calories were right for my weight and muscle goals. As it turns out, Quid’s recipe was already where I wanted to be on both, so I had almost no modifications to make! The only small change I made was to add eggs to the mix, since the original recipe has no cholesterol, and I’ve seen some dietary recommendations for a moderate amount of cholesterol to encourage testosterone production. After balancing the macronutrients for the added eggs, I had my working recipe and ordered everything off of Amazon.

Preparation

I had to do a few things to prepare for my soylent diet.

First off, I cleaned out my fridge and made it a point to eat tasty food for a week. I’m a self avowed foodie, and I needed to have some delicious tacos de lengua before I could give up on food for a month.

Next, I made a record of my health at the beginning of the experiment. I took a picture of myself, weighed in at 190.6 lbs, and measured my waist and hips at 34″ and 42.75″, respectively. Judging my body fat by eye, I’d put myself around 22% body fat, though the navy calculation says I’m at 17% (lies). I’d love to have a real body fat measurement, but impedance measurements are flaky and there aren’t any good places to measure it in town. Finally, I got a blood sample taken by Walk-In-Lab so I could compare things like blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

Finally, I picked up a glass pitcher and protein shaker for storing my drinks in. Shakes like this are notorious for getting smelly after sitting out, and I figured non-porous glass would be the best way to keep all my drinkware clean and sanitary.

The Rules

It’s important to set ground rules for this diet going in. My goal is not to see if I can survive solely on soylent for a month (as others have done), but to lose weight and get healthy, with soylent as my tool to make that job easier. I don’t want to give up social engagements that center on food (most do, really), so here are the rules.

  • 90-95% of my meals in a week should be soylent.
  • Non-soylent meals should stick with my ketogenic ratio to maintain ketosis (low carb, high fat, high protein).
  • Sleep at least 8 hours a night.
  • Keep a diary on how I feel every day. Keep an eye out for negative trends, and post the diary online so other people can recognize if depression starts to set in.
  • Weigh and measure every day.
  • Even when eating non-soylent meals: No alcohol, no desserts.

I don’t need to include drink enough water, because I do that impulsively. Getting exercise (weight training) is a goal, as well, but it’s not specifically part of this diet.

Tomorrow, the diet begins!

Daily Status: Day 0

Food today: Lunch – 2 lengua tacos, 2 chicken tacos, beans
Dinner – hotdog (topped with blue cheese, bbq sauce, bacon, onion rings), chips, 2 beers
Dessert – a slice of cheesecake.
Feeling: Tired.

To day 1 >

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