Soylent: Playing With Your Food


If you have seen any of my videos on YouTube or any of my various appearances on ‘Conspiracy Theory with Jessie Ventura‘, it is no secret that I am a big man. After three bouts with cancer my life changed drastically and it became harder to keep weight off because of a sedentary life.

Now, after my third cancer surgery, I mentioned to my doctors that I would be interested in physical therapy in order to try and work the muscles in my legs, back and abdomen to at least appear to slim down.  I have experienced weight loss since the surgery; however, I can honestly say that it is due to a lack of appetite because of pinched nerve feelings in my left hip and abdominal area.

I have so many people right now looking after my eating. They worry more that I am not eating as much now rather than what I eat anymore. My diet has been mostly about protein and leafy green vegetables. However, like many people who bury themselves in work, I have been known to eat mediocre meals that are merely expedient ways to satisfy my biological need for calories.

I have reached a point in my life where I feel like I waste a lot of mental energy trying to decide what to eat, and whether or not what I eat is going to be satisfying and healthy.

It is also a little known fact that people who get cancer are later inundated with advice from friends and strangers about what you should eat, what breakthrough holistic medicines exist, how hemp is a miracle cure for everything and how you should consider being a raw foods vegan.

I read all the advice and the e-mails and much of what has been sent and advised was actually discussed prior to my discharge from the hospital and I actually said to the nutritionist that being a raw foods vegan is absolutely not something that I could do with my lifestyle and actually thought starving would be an even more easy decision.

All of the advice quite literally becomes noise and I don’t know if people understand that after a while a lot of this advice becomes insensitive and intrusive. Once again, when a person gets bombarded with unsolicited information the only thing they think of is how depressing and confusing it all is.

Various doctors and nutritionists over the years have done studies that contradict each other.  For example, how many times have we heard that eggs are bad?  Then we hear of how great eggs are for us.  We hear that the cholesterol is bad, then we hear of the good cholesterol.

I mean, should we call our doctors every time we decide to put something in our mouths? Should there be food patrols that are constantly sounding an alarm every time we add an extra slice of bacon to our plates?

You look at that silly food pyramid and it encourages us to eat a mountain of grains. However, it is a fact that grains are loaded with carbohydrates that eventually turn to fat.

We are also seeing gluten sensitivities in people and there have been studies that have indicated that due to the modification of wheat that there are other people developing sensitivity to a protein called gliadin.

The gliadin protein is classified as a mild opiate. It binds into the opiate receptors in your brain and in most people stimulates appetite, such that we consume 440 more calories per day, 365 days per year because of its presence in the wheat we eat.

This result is a nation that by majority is overweight, cancer ridden, sexually and physically inactive, heart disease and diabetes prone.

But, of course, the idea that this grain staple is junk food is called junk science by the majority of those asked. Corrupt government officials and paid off scientists who skew peer reviewed studies are acting as gatekeepers for profits at the expense of human health.

Being told to eat less and exercise more is a hollow and meaningless health proclamation offered to those who are now eating what they can instead of what they should because of their lower incomes.

Many can’t afford to eat better, and where is it safe to exercise in areas where low income families are forced to live? Quality food has always been a major factor in national security; a well fed healthy populace is more productive.

I for one am beginning to get tired of listening to all the experts and studies where the conclusions change on a regular basis. The bottom line is that people do not want to give up eating good food. However, they wish they could eat and enjoy a meal without hearing about how it can kill you or that they are politically incorrect because what they are eating was kept in shoe box for months before it was beaten to a pulp and squeezed into a sausage casing.

The bottom line is that the reason why fast food is successful is that it is a non-thinking enterprise. Most people don’t have to the time to prepare foods and if they prepare anything it can be micro-waved or boiled out of a package and spiced with an inordinate amount of MSG-laden additives. This is where the nutritional vicious cycle begins and so we begin to see statistics that show that most Americans are a Big Mac away from a body bag.

So now, after all my kvetching on the subject of food and how I for one am tired of hearing about what I should and shouldn’t eat, I was reading a story today that’s basically an answer to everyone’s dilemma. The solution doesn’t sound fun but it is at least one way to deal with the energy wasted on what is good for you when you want to eat something.

The answer according to a software engineer is a powder he created that can be diluted and drank. It is called Soylent.

Soylent is not green and – surprise! – it is not made of people but he is hoping that it will replace all the food that you might need in the course of a day.

The inventor of Soylent, 24 year old Rob Rhinehart doesn’t want people to stop eating all together but he sees a future where eating is limited to social gatherings. He believes that he has an invented an easy way to get your nutritionally needs met without having to stop and waste time deciding what is going to burst your belt loop.

Funding for the manufacturing of Soylent came from an online funding campaign. His goal was to raise at least $100,000 dollars to get the project going. He ended up raising $800,000 dollars.

Soylent contains a mixture of nutritional staples in order to maintain a healthy body.

Soylent contains Maltodextrin for carbohydrate, Oat Powder which also provided carbs, needed fiber, protein and healthy fat. Other ingredients include Whey Isolate, Grapeseed Oil, Potassium Gluconate, Salt, Magnesium Gluconate, Monosodium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Methylsulfonylmethane, Creatine, powdered Soy Lecithin, Choline Bitartrate and Ferrous Gluconate to provide Iron.

The taste of Soylent varies from person to person. Some say it has a vanilla bouquet with a yeast aftertaste, while others claim it has the familiar taste of Play-Doh, that is of course if you ever put any of it in your mouth when you were in kindergarten.

Soylent costs about $2.00 a serving which makes a nutritious meal replacement affordable in the United States, however the cost is a bit much for developing countries where food is scarce and the average income is about $30.00 a month.

Rhinehart believes that if Soylent is mass produced the cost would go way down and may be one solution to world hunger.

One of the things that was not clear was the caloric value of the drink.

Rhinehart believes that his drink will not replace eating, but it could be an alternative supplement for people who want nutrition and do not have access to a large meal.

These types of new breakthroughs will always conjure sick science fiction fantasies. It is unfortunate that the name alone makes us think of ‘Soylent Green’, a story that – in book form – gave us a precautionary tale of eugenics programs and – in movie form – we saw that the Soylent Green cracker was made out of the remains of people.

However, we live in times where science fiction ideas become realities and people who see a future where resources will dwindle are constantly trying to find ways to create unlimited energy, immortality, and nutritious an innovative ways to produce food stuffs that require less land consumption and in some cases less animal death.

A perfect example of this is the stem cell burger that recently debuted. The burger took $300,000 dollars to research and make. It is poised to become a breakthrough for protein sources that do not require the slaughtering of farm animals.

Experts say new ways of producing meat are needed to satisfy growing carnivorous appetites without exhausting resources. By 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organization predicts global meat consumption will double as more people in developing countries can afford it. Raising animals destined for the dinner table takes up about 70 percent of all agricultural land.

The animal rights group PETA has thrown its support behind the lab-meat initiative.

The burger was tested recently by volunteers. The burger had the texture and consistency of meat but lacked in flavor because the burger contained no fat.

Flavors however can be enhanced in the processing of the burger and so can the nutritional value making it both flavorful and nutritious.

Mark Post, whose team at Maastricht University in the Netherlands developed the burger, hopes that making meat in labs could eventually help feed the world and reduce the demand on resources.

The money needed to produce the burger was provided by none other than Sergey Brin, a co-founder of Google.  He funded the project out of concern for animal welfare.

While some praise this step forward, also hailing it as a way to help end world hunger, others do not consider it progress at all, dwelling on the unnatural production process as well as considering the potential side-effects of the product too much of a risk.

The potential side effects fear is based on no data to show that this burger will harm anyone. The idea of it being artificial or fake is not accurate. It is more accurate to compare to growing hydroponic vegetables or herbs. It is just another way to produce meats using the cell structures taken from real animals. It is just that the animal does not have to be dead in order for its cells to be cultured and created for consumption.

We have always found ways to improve the yield of crops without genetically modifying them. The next phase would be to find ways to do the same with meat production.  This may be a step. The only problem that these scientists face are the fears and rumors that people generate because they are ill informed.

Some also criticize the way this will affect working farmers who would lose their jobs, as well as pointing out the solution to environmental and animal welfare problems is simply for people to eat less meat rather than find ways to consume more.

The human population is growing too fast for normal farming to sustain and we have to come up with ways of mass production in a far more compact form. Now we have to deal with the negative arguments because it’s new, and therefore if it is not understood it has to be evil.

It seems that once again someone wants you to take a bite of the apple in the new and improved food paradise. Will you try it or will you be the one left alone playing with your food?

The alternative is always Soylent – or something else that may not be as appetizing. Like an old package of ramen noodles?

But I am sure if given a choice of a nutritious lab burger or a cold glass of Soylent , ramen may sound like a nutritious and delicious delicacy.