Soylent Orange—Whole food open source soylent

Up­date: John Maxwell and I have a startup mak­ing nu­tri­tion­ally com­plete food, MealSquares (which is likely bet­ter for weight­loss see be­low)

This came up at a meetup a while back. Sev­eral peo­ple, my­self in­cluded, ex­pressed frus­tra­tion with the time, cost, stress, of prepar­ing rea­son­ably healthy and tasty meals. I sus­pect this frus­tra­tion is wide­spread among peo­ple who do work that re­quires a lot of fo­cus. Leav­ing flow be­cause your body needs main­te­nance is an­noy­ing. So I’m shar­ing a strat­egy that has helped me.

I was en­couraged by the suc­cess of Soylent. I had been play­ing around with in­gre­di­ents for post work­out shakes for months. But read­ing the Soylent blog posts in­spired me to do a full micronu­tri­ent break­down of what I had been drink­ing and op­ti­mize in a more rigor­ous fash­ion. Why not copy the soylent recipe?

1. I’m not re­al­is­ti­cally go­ing to source all of those ingredients

2. He risks (and has already had prob­lems with) mis­dos­ing him­self to dele­te­ri­ous effect, this prob­lem doesn’t ex­ist with whole foods

3. The ab­sorp­tion of pow­ders vs whole foods is contentious

4. I don’t agree with his crite­ria for inclusion

In com­par­i­son, my recipe is ex­tremely easy and cheap to source, due to the small num­ber of in­gre­di­ents.

There is an im­me­di­ate prob­lem with meal re­place­ment shakes in that liquid calories tend to have a sig­nifi­cantly smaller satiety effect than solid foods. So this will prob­a­bly not be a good solu­tion for you if have difficul­ties keep­ing your over­all caloric in­take down.

[EDIT: Re­moved the link to the recipe, John and I are plan­ning to com­mer­cial­ize this in ad­di­tion to MealSquares at some point. Get in touch with me if you re­ally need the recipe and won’t spread it around.]

This is a work in progress and I am look­ing for fur­ther ideas for im­prove­ment. Sub­jec­tively I can say I find this recipe deli­cious, and hugely pre­fer it post-work­out to even the best junk food (pizza, etc.). The com­bi­na­tion of milk, vanilla, ba­nana, and or­ange juice tastes kind of like an or­ange julius. It has also been a ma­jor stress re­lief and time saver. I don’t worry so much about nu­tri­ent defi­cien­cies any­more as this shake in ad­di­tion to a meat or egg based meal has me pretty well cov­ered.

I am due for an­other blood panel and will re­port any anoma­lies as I’ve been drink­ing a similar con­coc­tion for around 6-8 months.

I am open to de­bat­ing the mer­its of my in­gre­di­ent choices (as well as the over­all wis­dom of this scheme) in the com­ments. Also please share any other strate­gies you have for mak­ing food less of a chore.

Edit: I fi­nally got my blood panel back and ev­ery­thing is look­ing good. Triglyc­erides un­changed, HDL up, LDL slightly down. All other num­bers within the healthy range. I’m a lit­tle con­cerned about my iron level (what is con­sid­ered nor­mal may not be op­ti­mal for longevity), and plan on giv­ing blood to lower it, but this is or­thog­o­nal to the use of a dietary shake I be­lieve.

Edit: Kefir is ex­pen­sive but highly recom­mended for lac­tose in­tol­er­ant in­di­vi­d­u­als. It is also deli­cious.