However, I recently discovered you can buy a one-day supply of Soylent for $18.50 on Amazon. I went for that, and resolved to eat nothing but Soylent for a day. (Actually, it was a day and a little more -- a one-day bag of Soylent contains 2,000 calories, which is about 10% more than I need to maintain weight.)
My Soylent shipment arrived in a shiny one-pound bag. To make the powder into Soylent, you mix it with two quarts of water, then refrigerate for at least two or three hours to give the powder time to fully dissolve and the liquid time to thicken.
The powder bears a close resemblance to flour, or a prop from the Al Pacino movie Scarface. The liquid is beige.
When prepared according to the instructions, Soylent liquid has the consistency of tomato juice. You can vary the amount of water to get the consistency how you like it. Soylent has the very faint smell of wet cardboard, and it tastes slightly like wet cardboard too. It leaves a slight aftertaste, which washes away immediately with a couple of sips of tea.
And yet -- it's pleasant. Early reviews went on and on about how nasty the taste and texture is, but by the end of my nothing-but-Soylent day, I found I actually liked the taste of the stuff.
Some Soylent reviewers report extreme flatulence and gastric distress, sometimes for weeks, until their bodies get used to the dietary change. (Here is a hilarious Amazon review providing more color on the subject.) I did not have that problem at all. To be blunt about it: I just farted the usual amount that day.
I made an effort to sip the Soylent slowly. By nature, I'm not a sipper. I'm a gulper. I'm a fast eater too. The effort to slow down was only partly successful; I finished my meals that day in under five minutes.
I normally eat breakfast, lunch and a daytime snack at my desk. While eating, I catch up on what my colleagues have written on Light Reading, and when I'm done with that I read other articles from around the web.
With Soylent, meal breaks disappear. Soylent is about as close as you can come to eliminating food entirely, and just plugging yourself into the wall like a robot.
I don't like that. I work hard and long hours (if you can call anything done indoors at a desk on a computer "work" -- it's not like I'm laying asphalt on an Alabama road crew). I like my meal and snack breaks.
After a full day eating nothing but Soylent, I felt great. I had lots of energy and wasn't hungry at all.
I also felt empty -- no food in my gut. You never notice the food you carry around inside you until it's gone. My body was confused by this sensation -- it associates an empty belly with being hungry, and yet my belly was empty and I was not hungry. I enjoyed the feeling.
Despite enjoying Soylent, I was deliriously happy to get back to my normal eating habits. My regular breakfast the next day, the same thing I have every day for breakfast, tasted like ambrosia. That's a plus for Soylent. I'm in favor of anything that makes me think about and appreciate my everyday blessings.
Did Soylent pass the travel-food test? I liked Soylent, but it isn't fit-for-purpose as a food to take on multi-day business trips. The problem: It needs to be refrigerated and consumed quickly. According to the manufacturer, it only lasts for two days in the refrigerator. That's not practical. Travel schedules have a tendency to become chaotic and unpredictable. And I don't know whether, or when, I'll have access to a refrigerator.
But I did like Soylent. As a matter of fact, I liked it a lot. The mild flavor and creamy texture grew on me. That surprised me; I thought I'd hate it.
After my test was done, I bought a week's supply, and plan to use it for the occasional meal around the house. I also see potential for taking it with me when I'm out and about for a day, either for business or leisure.
I had better luck with MealSquares. I'll tell you about that another day.