To save money, I stopped eating.
That’s right. Instead of trying to save money on groceries, I decided to do away with them altogether.
Am I joking? Technically, no. I did stop eating and stop buying groceries. How? Soylent.
Soylent is a meal-replacement beverage. It was created by a computer scientist, not a chef, and it’s engineered to give your body everything you need to function well. This means somebody can live entirely off this drink alone, and — in theory — should still lead a perfectly normal life.
Soylent caught my attention for many reasons. The first actually wasn’t about money — it was about time.
I wanted to save time by not having to prepare healthy meals.
You may think I’m being stingy with my time, but I’m young. Think of all the time I would save by not having to cook. That would effectively add months to my life! I also wouldn't have to grocery shop very often (never, really). Soylent can be delivered to my door.
The second reason I found it so appealing was for health reasons. Stay with me, because I’m about to get pretty holistic about life.
I love automation. Automation means you can set something good in motion and have it run without you.
This means you can do awesome things without constant motivation. Think bill pay or automatic 401(k) contributions.
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Without Soylent, I’m constantly having to make healthy eating decisions. I eat at least three meals per day. That means I’m having to consciously make healthy choices three-plus times per day, so I sometimes don’t eat as healthy as I should. With Soylent, I can be healthy without having to worry about the ingredients.
Of course, I wouldn’t replace all my meals with Soylent. But many of my boring meals would get replaced.
The final reason Soylent caught my eye is the money savings. It can be more expensive than a home-cooked meal — around three dollars per bottle, or three dollars per meal. Prices vary based on the amount and whether it's in bottled or powder form for you to mix.
But it saves a lot of money when traveling or just being out and about. Instead of needing to buy a meal, you can just pull a bottle out of your backpack or purse, and crack it open.
That's so much cheaper (and healthier, and faster) than hitting up a restaurant.
I ordered my first round of Soylent a month ago straight from the website. The package arrived three days later. I opened the box and inside were a dozen white plastic bottles with black caps.
I waited to try one until the next day — I wanted to start with an empty stomach so I could get the full effect. That morning, I tried my first sip. It was oddly delicious. I was surprised.
Soylent is designed to have a neutral flavor so that the consumer doesn't get sick of the taste. But still, it was slightly sweet. Soylent subtly smells and tastes of a graham cracker and looks like a light cappuccino.
About 20 minutes later, I felt like I had the flu. I ate some “real” food and the flu-like symptoms disappeared. I tried more Soylent the next day. Same reaction. I tried two more times — same reaction again.
I drank part of one right before doing 45 minutes of a cardio workout to check my energy levels. Exercising with the actual flu would’ve been easier.
I Googled my symptoms. It’s most likely the vanillin flavoring is to blame. It’s a very rare reaction. And with that, my Soylent journey came to an abrupt end.
Although my experience is negative, I still recommend you give it a try. I got my mom, dad, and cousin to drink Soylent, and they all really enjoyed it. At least they can save time, enjoy better health, and save money.
I’ll continue my quest for a meal replacement beverage. So long, Soylent.