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Soylent/ Rob Rinehart

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    Have you guys heard of this experiment? I read about Rob Rinehart in the newest issue of Popular Science. He’s created a meal replacement liquid he refers to, rather tongue in cheek-ly, as Soylent. He’s been living off of the stuff, more or less, for several months now and even posts blood work on his blog Mostly Harmless,

    On the one hand I find the guy pretty fascinating. After complaining about spending too much money and time on food as a single guy, he decides to opt out of eating by mixing up an essential nutrients brew. He takes on “nutritional science”, which is fun, but I don’t agree with many of his assertions.

    He’s got people lined up to buy this stuff. I do admire his passion. He’s got hopes the stuff can feed the hungry, which is very cool.




    Doing some further digging into his blog, a few things come to mind. I can certainly understand the desire to occasionally opt out of eating. I cook 3 meals a day for my family (of 9), and while I enjoy the activity, it does get tiresome every once in awhile. But I find it hard to understand how a young bachelor would feel that he’s spending too much time and money on food. Really? I could feed him well on $40 a week, cooking in one 1-2 hour session weekly. I wonder if his dislike of this aspect of self care isn’t a type of acedia or depression.

    Also, I suspect he may have some type of celiac or gluten intolerance. He says his lifelong skin issues and Keratosis Pilaris cleared up on the Soylent (which is gluten free). If that’s the case, the gluten could have also caused the “brain fog” which he says lifted in his first weeks on the stuff.

    Still pretty intrigued by this…



    Matt posted about this a few months ago:

    I’m skeptical, both because there already exist plenty of liquid meal replacers already, and there’s nothing I can see that makes soylent markedly superior. But more so because his claims to enhanced sustainable are dubious. These constituent nutrients have to come from somewhere, and Rob seems to imagine that if we all took powders, we could stop growing food or something. That’s dumb.

    There might be some benefit from an energy and transport perspective to growing in one place, dehydrating, and then shipping it out (assuming that this engineer’s understanding of nutrition is robust enough to support a healthy life for everyone long term), but that only aids in increased food system fragility and the potential for more centralization of power. I like much more the idea of a billion gardeners providing at least some of their nutrition for themselves and their families, rather than a handful of big dehydrated nutrient depots distributing the everyone in the world.


    Oh man, I don’t know how I missed that! Thanks!

    Matt Stone

    I just eat breakfast cereal when I’m too lazy to cook. Way better than soylent and comes in a rainbow of fruity flavors!

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