Super Soylent Me

VICE, being VICE, decided to send Brian Merchant to Oakland to meet Rob Rhinehart, the inventor of food substitute Soylent, and start a thirty-day diet of nothing but Soylent. Here’s his story at Motherboard:

It was my second day on Soylent and my stomach felt like a coil of knotty old rope, slowly tightening. I wasn’t hungry, but something was off. I was tired, light-headed, low-energy, but my heart was racing. My eyes glazed over as I stared out the window of our rental SUV as we drove over the fog-shrouded Bay Bridge to Oakland. Some of this was nerves, sure. I had twenty-eight days left of my month-long all-Soylent diet—I was attempting to live on the full food replacement longer than anyone besides its inventor—and I felt woozy already.

We were en route to Soylent HQ, where the 25-year-old Rob Rhinehart and his crew were whipping up the internet famous hacker meal—the macro-nutritious shake they think will soon replace the bulk of our meals. It’s just one of many visions currently vying for the future food crown. The world’s population is still burgeoning, after all, 600 to 800 million people are going hungry every year, and the specter of food riots is perpetually percolating—the demand for cheap, nutritious food is greater than ever.

So Googlers are investing in vitro meat, biotech firms are genetically modifying crops that promise increasingly robust yields, and Silicon Valley is nurturing a bevy of future-forward alt-food companies. Then there’s Rob, who came along and claimed that nobody had to eat food ever again.

Rob’s idea for a sci-fi-inspired nutrient shake sprouted from living the life of a hyperactive, science-obsessed bachelor. As a recent software engineering graduate and aspiring entrepreneur, he was too broke to eat out and too time-strapped to cook. But instead of stocking his pantry with plastic-wrapped ramen like everyone else, he tried to retool the act of eating itself, to make it cheaper and more efficient. He studied government food standards and nutrition textbooks—Berg’s Biochemistry was like his bible—and divined a set of basic ingredients that provided the calories and nutrients the human body needed to run…

[continues at at Motherboard]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)

  • Anarchy Pony

    I said it before, I’ll say it again, Prole food.

  • Kitty Davenport

    So I a few thoughts after watching and reading:
    1) ewww, sanitation please! The people mixing this crap are disgusting in their shorts and dirty environment dumping powders willy nilly without hair nets and gloves. Shame on them!
    2) This is an old idea. And frankly it has already been done better. Try Shakeology. It is actually MORE nutritious, made in a clean environment and doesn’t taste like shiza on a hot day.
    3) Our bodies require real food. We are animals. The inventor of this shady drink has some emotional issues he needs to address.

    All in all meal replacement that is easy and nutritious will become more and more necessary as natural disasters, dense populations and space exploration continue to increase. However I dont find dirty self important 20 somethings from silicon valley to be appetizing or trustworthy individuals to take on this venture.

    • Ted Heistman

      They probably have e.coli cheetos and mdma under their fingernails…gross!

  • DeepCough

    1.) Create a “bare bones” liquid protein to replace food.
    2.) Market it as the “future of food.”
    3.) Sell it to major food companies, who will replace solid food
    over time with liquified nutrition.
    4.) Masses become too weak to resist any further control from
    corporate influence and totalitarian government control.
    5.) Massive technocratic, hyperindustrial dystopia pops up where
    the lower echelon has only the time and funds for the liquid
    protein shake named “Soylent” (which is not yet made of people).
    6.) ????
    7.) PROFIT!!!!!

    • Lookinfor Buford

      Why so suspicious?

  • echar

    $65.00 a week is a litte more than what a person can get from SNAP.

    • Ted Heistman

      bingo! plus it just went down!

      • echar

        That’s true. It was $200/month for 1 person.

        • Ted Heistman

          $43 a week/189 a month

          • echar

            I bet there are ways to eat for less and stay healthy. Peanut butter, potatoes, quinoa, milk, chicken, and grow your own veggies.

            I almost forgot fishing. Alas no dip net in the lower 48.

  • oneironauticus

    “the macro-nutritious shake they think will soon replace the bulk of our meals.”

    Fuck. No.

    • The Well Dressed Man

      more for me.

  • Rex Vestri

  • Bob Vessells

    soylent green ???

  • Tchoutoye

    It’s initiatives like this that help to take the shame out of ludditism.

  • Rhoid Rager

    Finally! I’ve been looking for a good reason to pull out all my teeth.

  • secretlab

    The rat is a nice touch.

  • kowalityjesus

    Gosh, you guys must really be dinosaurs. I wouldn’t mind this stuff. As long as I am ingesting internet, that is my primary nutritional supplement.

  • moremisinformation

    “He studied government food standards and nutrition textbooks”

    Because everyone knows the government and their carb-laden pyramid is on the cutting edge of nutrition.

    Excuse me sir, can you point me towards the singularity? I’m tired of this meatbody…

  • The Well Dressed Man

    I’m tempted to byo soylent to trendy foodie spots. when questioned, i’ll make up some bullshit about allergies, and demand that they prepare my foodpaste for me in the kitchen. maybe i’ll carry iit in a fast food bag just for extra giggles

  • alizardx

    All hail the reinvention of “medical food”. (Nutritionally complete formulas category)

    Have yet to hear a credible explanation as to how this improves on Ensure (or generic equivalents). This is one case where you’re probably better off buying from Big Pharma instead of from a software engineer who’s ‘read a lot of books’.

  • Conspiracy Carrot

    No thanks. I’m into enjoying life.

  • Simon Selvfed

    I really want to try this, but 65 bucks a week is too expensive… I have lived healthily for that amount on regular food in Copenhagen (8th most expensive city in the world), so I think Soylent’s biggest flaw is the pricing. Why try it, if you’re not a science (fiction) fan? It’s not like it won’t be a challenge and it’s not like it’s cheap.

  • doodahman

    I think I speak for all the Italians of the world: Vaffanculo!

  • Simiantongue

    Has potential in the preppers market if they can get rid of the mold contamination problem. Vacuum seal it and extend shelf life to a decade preppers will buy it.

  • Jesse

    As someone who makes no effort to have a good diet, something like this would probably be an improvement nutrition-wise, and then food is just that much more delicious when I do eat it. If it ends up being all it’s cracked up to be, I can definitely see the appeal. I wouldn’t have a problem with every meal I eat tasting like I haven’t had food in a few days.

  • Alex

    How about we NOT make it easier for the humans of the world to destroy this planet with overpopulation?
    Food availability is only one part of a much larger puzzle. Clean water, shelter, the environment, disease, climate change… Etc etc forever
    We need less people, a cleaner world, and much better birth control options.
    7 billion and growing- it’s not going to be pretty.