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? The Soylent diet.
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.
Changing your lifestyle to this extent isn’t as abnormal as you may think. In the United States, the meal replacement market is worth a shocking $4.1 billion, according to IBISWorld.
Time Is Money
The Soylent diet caught my attention for many reasons. The first actually wasn’t about money — it was about time.
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 automatic bill pay or 401(k) contributions.
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.
Vacation Meals on a Budget
The final reason Soylent caught my eye is the cost. Prices vary based on the amount and whether it’s in bottled or powder form for you to mix, but it’s around $3 per bottle, or $3 per meal.
Though that’s more expensive than most home-cooked meals, 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.
- Chris: “Purple Carrot delivers a box with three vegan meals to prepare a week. The best part is that it comes with a little cookbook each time. I just buy the ingredients later on if I want to make a recipe again. It got me out of a rut of making me the same stuff…”
- Stuart: “I make my own chicken broth from store-bought rotisserie chickens. I hate using fresh onion, carrot or celery just for broth. I developed the habit of taking scraps of the three when I cook and storing them in a container in the freezer. When I need to make broth, I just dump it into my instant pot with my chicken. Saves time and money.”
- Teresa: “Pay attention to how often your favorite products go on sale and stock up on enough to last you until the next cycle. There is a fairly predictable sales cycle.”
- Patrick: “Instant Pot. Two magic words.”
- Tonia: “If you have the space, get a big box or upright extra freezer. Make massive batches of dishes like taco meat, slow-cooked pork, pot roast, Indian curry, rice dishes of any kind, etc. Batch them into containers so there’s no cooking during the week. We do this and order in once a week. We keep fresh broccoli, string beans and cauliflower in large Tupperware containers pre-cut and cleaned and quickly pan-fry or steam them in minutes.”
- Lisa: “Instacart. Restaurant Depot allows you to order from them to your home since the pandemic started. It’s basically Costco for restaurants.”
- Arindam: “1-800-DIY.”
- Kristen: “HelloFresh has saved me the headache of what to make and shopping for ingredients.”
- Diane: “Make a big batch of pasta sauce or chili on Sunday, freeze some and eat some throughout the week.”
The Start of a New Diet
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.
An Epic Diet Fail
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. My reaction was very rare. It’s most likely the vanillin flavoring was to blame. And with that, my Soylent diet 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.
Jamie Sullivan, director of communication at Soylent, says: “We know many people use our products to save both time and money and are able to do so successfully. However, we do not recommend anyone switching to a Soylent only diet.”
“Additionally, we always recommend everyone connect with their doctor or dietitian to decide the best overall meal plan to support your personal health goals and nutrition plan,” Sullivan adds.
CentSai does not recommend changing your lifestyle or dietary habits without consulting your physician.