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.
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.
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.
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.