May 14, 2014

"He began to think that food was an inefficient way of getting what he needed to survive."

"It just seemed like a system that’s too complex and too expensive and too fragile," said Rob Rhinehart, post-food entrepreneur, featured in this really interesting New Yorker article, "The End of Food/Has a tech entrepreneur come up with a product to replace our meals?"

His product — to supersede all your ramen and frozen quesadillas — is Soylent. And he doesn't care about your negative associations with the name for his product.
Rhinehart said that he liked the self-deprecating nature of the name, and the way it poked fun at foodie sensibilities: “The general ethos of natural, fresh, organic, bright—this is the opposite.”

Anyway, he said, a lot of young people never got the memo about Soylent Green’s being people. “If you Google ‘Soylent,’ we’re in front of the movie.” He added, “Remember, Starbucks was the guy from ‘Moby-Dick.’ ”

39 comments:

Sam L. said...

Unless it comes in capsules, I will not buy it. I know (KNOW) that the future of food is capsules.

sydney said...

I've been eating Quest bars in place of meals lately. I have to say they aren't so bad. Don't know how they compare to Soylent, but I like the name better. I used to eat rice cakes but they left me too hungry after a couple of hours. The protein bars fill me up until the next regular meal.

Paco Wové said...

Sounds like Bachelor Chow.

tim maguire said...

I read his blog as he was trying this on himself. I guess it didn't kill him. It's an interesting idea--takes the survival part out of eating so you can focus on the pleasure part.

Still, I want him see him live on it for 10 years before I decide if it's safe.

chuck said...

I prefer ice cream as the one true food.

Chuck Currie said...

Interesting concept. I ran across him and his product maybe three years ago, could have been sooner. I wasn't impressed with some of the ingredients. I'll have to see if he's upgraded the ones I didn't like.

Moose said...

Last time I checked, life was more about living and less about surviving...

Strelnikov said...

"Soylent Green: Now with More Girls!!!"

RecChief said...

unless it tastes like a rare to medum-rare steak seared on a grill with garlic rosemary roasted potatoes and buttered peas with pecan (or sweet potato, cherry, apple, gooseberry, blueberry, sour cram and raisin, or strawberry-rhubarb) pie with ice cream for dessert, I don't want it.

grackle said...

Most of people’s meals are forgotten,” … “we’ll see a separation between our meals for utility and function, and our meals for experience and socialization.”

I'm on a low-carb high-protein diet I got from a book by Gary Taubes. Over a 2 year period I went from 215# to 165#. My weight when I joined the Navy at 17 yrs. old was 155#, which would seem to indicate my natural body type is "skinny." I was 6'2" back then. I think I've shrunk a little bit – maybe 1/2".

My daily eating routine while in my apartment gives me no carbs at all. I do make sure that I get plenty of calories, all the while still not consuming any carbs. My routine daily caloric intake is robust – more than most recommended daily calorie counts. I do not intend to starve myself in order to be skinny.

The utility/functional – exp/social dichotomy mentioned above was part of my life from the first days with the diet. Zero carbs at home but normal carbs outside. The diet is a low carb diet, not a zero carb diet. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with calories or carbs – it's just that most people consume too much of them.

I am single and live alone. Thinking back to the days when I was married and raising children I think it would've been very difficult to stick with this diet. Too much temptation in the fridge. I eliminate this by simply not buying groceries with carbs.

My favorite pleasure food: 2 toasted cinnamon crisp bagels w/cream cheese at the local Panera Bread & Bakery washed down with coffee. I get excited just thinking about it. Other pleasure foods: authentic Mexican pastry, IHOP omelet breakfast meals with the pancakes

There's other reasons I like this diet. I can eat and get that wonderful full feeling without gaining weight. I can eat all kinds of fat without worry. In fact the fat is needed in order to digest the protein. There's a minimum of calculation and planning. It improves my looks. I feel healthier.

My soylent-like food used strictly as a supplement is Isopure Zero Carb Whey Protein consumed at the rate of 5 scoops a day. Twice a day I put 2 1/2 scoops along with a diet coke in a hand shaker blender bottle. It tastes like a melted coke float.

This Soylent thing is very interesting. I think I'll look into it. I'm wondering how this guy's digestion goes. If this is all he consumes he must be having a month between bowel movements. I'm wondering how he avoids chronic constipation.

Kirk Parker said...

"There's a minimum of calculation and planning."

Ding ding ding! We have a winner!!!

The only "planning" you have to do is to read the label and, if the item doesn't have a negligent carb count, it's out.

Illuninati said...

Eureka! Soylent is the perfect substitute for food stamps. No need to build all those expensive grocery stores in dangerous neighborhoods. Mrs. Obama's food deserts will vanish instantly. Soylent to the rescue!

MadisonMan said...

Hey! What about Peach Pie!!?

Ann Althouse said...

At Meadhouse, our soylent is chili.

Ann Althouse said...

I guess it's cheaper than Ensure, which I associate with having a medical problem that precludes swallowing solid food.

Kirk Parker said...

At MyHouse, since my wife and I are both mostly low-carb, our Soylent is eggs. Cheap, quick and easy to prepare, keep well even when not refrigerated (We often buy the big boxes from Costco and as likely as not there's not room to fix the whole box in the refrigerator).

Nonapod said...

There seems to be a strange, almost Puritanical propensity amongst certain people to remove all pleasure from activities and human life in general. They believe deriving pleasure from something can only lead to bad things. It's like a low level form of masochism.

Stuff like soylent is just another symptom of these pleasure hating weirdos.

Bob Boyd said...

Ann Althouse said...
At Meadhouse, our soylent is chili.

Try warming your soylent in the microwave.

Mark said...

Personally, I could live on cheeseburgers without the buns. Soylent not so much.

raf said...

Try warming your soylent in the microwave

No, the consensus seems to be that it tastes better "congealed" in the fridge, so chilly is preferred.

Jeff Gee said...

'Starbucks' is not the guy from "Moby Dick." The guy from "Moby Dick" is 'Starbuck.' It's possible that "Starbucks" is the guy from "Moby Dicks," which played at the Little David Cinema 40 years ago when I lived a couple blocks away from it, but probably not.

Unknown said...

My brother has always said he'd be happier if all he had to deal with were a generic product that came in a can marked "Food."

MayBee said...

I'm with Nonapod.

I rarely eat something I don't want to eat. I rarely don't eat something I really do want to eat.
For the past several years, I've gotten exercise doing things I enjoy, and not doing things I dread.
For the most part, I derive pleasure and health from that mix.

Sigivald said...

Inefficient.

Because eating is about efficiency!

Sucker.

MadisonMan said...

I guess it's cheaper than Ensure, which I associate with having a medical problem that precludes swallowing solid food.

My Dad drinks Ensure for the calories. When my brother was dying from cancer, he drank Ensure as well, for the same reason.

Both could swallow solid food, but the calories in Ensure were/are somehow more palatable (plus it doesn't require prep work).

Freeman Hunt said...

Chili is our most common dinner. It's so easy, so nutritious, and few foods taste better than chili.

grackle said...

I also eat a boatload of eggs. Also, for me there's something about this diet that makes me crave leafy greens. I had always been lukewarm toward them before. Spinach, collard greens and my favorite – turnip greens. I eat bacon like I used to eat Doritos. I fry the slices, drain them, eat them and keep any left in a covered dish. Freshly fried or later at room temp, it doesn't matter.

Blue@9 said...

Eff that noise. Talk about eliminating one of the great pleasures of life, yuck. You can also drink straight Everclear to get drunk "more efficiently."

Original Mike said...

"My brother has always said he'd be happier if all he had to deal with were a generic product that came in a can marked "Food.""

Just tell him "Ensure" is French for "Food".

Original Mike said...

"You can also drink straight Everclear to get drunk "more efficiently.""

I take 151 Bacardi Rum when I go backpacking/canoe_camping. Everclear would be even better, but I don't think you can buy it in Wisconsin.

David said...

Freeman Hunt said...
. . . few foods taste better than chili.


Your chili, maybe, but some of the worst food I have ever eaten has been called chili.

Eggs, milk, bread, peanut butter, jelly, cereal and fruit are my refuge.

B said...

Had a roommate in college that I seldom saw eat anything but fried egg sandwiches at home. One cast iron frying pan for the egg(s), a spatula, and a toaster for the bread was all he needed. He ate the sandwich(s) over the sink, swabbed out the frying pan, cleaned the spatula with a brillo and off he went. Healthy as a horse with a minimal food budget.

Weird duck but a hell of an engineer.

Sherry Casper said...

Soylent is an interesting concept, but for me to feel truly satisfied, something usually has to die.

CStanley said...

A while back I thought of a dystopian novel idea in which people would be surgically implanted with an alternate, false alimentary tract. Nutrition would be taken in pill form while food could be consumed normally but not digested (the downside of course being the need to empty the sac of masticated food at regular intervals.)

Blue@9 said...

Eff that noise. Talk about eliminating one of the great pleasures of life, yuck. You can also drink straight Everclear to get drunk "more efficiently."

Ann Althouse said...

"Your chili, maybe, but some of the worst food I have ever eaten has been called chili."

Meade makes great chili. Huge vats of it.

Paco Wové said...

"the consensus seems to be that it tastes better "congealed" in the fridge"

"Soylent — now with texture!"

Shawn Levasseur said...

Chili... aka Soylent Beans.

Freeman Hunt said...

There should be a Meade chili recipe post. Everyone likes chili.