It’s hard to imagine eating this stuff more or less exclusively for more than seven months can be remotely satisfying, even if it meets human nutrition needs, but Soylent inventor Rob Rhinehart tells VICE that he’s lovin’ it:
Remember Rob Rhinehart? I’m sure you do because it’s hard to forget about a guy existing solely on vitamin puke. A few months ago we wrote about Soylent, an incredibly nutritious “food replacement” smoothie that Rob, a 24-year-old engineer, had been making and consuming as his only food source for almost five weeks. On one hand, it did look a bit like semen—but on the other, Rob claimed that by drinking it every day he’d never have to eat again. Given that starvation is a fairly major problem in the world at the moment and the planet’s population will likely surpass 9 billion by 2050, Rob’s invention seems like an important one.
Since we last talked to him, Rob and Soylent have become famous. His project has been derided as “dangerous,” “ludicrous,” and “a red flag for a potential eating disorder” by nutrition experts. Fortunately for Rob, the supporters of Soylent have been generous: a crowdfunding project for his fancy health goo raisedalmost $800,000 in under 30 days. Now Rob is the CEO of the Soylent Corporation; his hobby has officially turned into a career. His management team might look like the kind of technically minded nerds who’d want to consume most of their meals in the form of a beige, odorless powder mix, but they’re also the potential forefathers of a famine cure.
With over $1 million in preorders already received for Soylent worldwide, it seems like this stuff is going to stick around. I caught up with Rob to ask how it’s all going for Soylent—which some are already calling “the future of food.”
VICE: Hey, Rob. So, what happened after our interview?
Rob Rhinehart: My inbox exploded. Gmail cut me off after I answered 500 emails in a single day. Achievement unlocked. Since then Soylent has become a company and people are finally rethinking the nature of food. These are exciting times.
How have you dealt with all the media attention?
At first it was very difficult. I’ve always been a private person and it was uncomfortable to put myself out there. However, I decided it’s my job now, and I had better get good at it. On the internet everyone talks about you like you’re not in the room.
You’re still eating nothing but Soylent with good results, right? How long has it been?
Yes, Soylent is exactly what I was looking for. It’s been roughly 90 percent of my meals for seven months now. Once we got some professional dietitians and food scientists to collaborate with us, it got much tastier and more filling. I still keep painstakingly close track of my health and body metrics, and I still run almost every day. This also makes me approximately vegan and when I do eat, I eat very well. I’ve developed a lot of good habits since starting Soylent, and learned a lot about the body and what’s running me…
[continues at VICE]