7 Days of Soylent comparison with "24 Day Challenge" Herbal Cleanse


#1

A friend of mine did the Advocare 24 Day Challenge, which prompted me to do a personal challenge of 7 days of Soylent only. In order to be able to compare the experiences, I decided I’d like to also now try to do “some of” the Advocare challenge. This thread is to document my comparison between the two experiences.

I will say right up front that these two products/plans have very different goals and formats. Everyone here knows what Soylent is about, so here’s what the Herbal Cleanse from Advocare claims as it’s Key Benefits: Helps rid the body of toxins and waste*, Supports improved digestion and thorough internal cleansing*, Provides 10 grams of fiber per day, Helps remove impurities from the body*, Supports healthy weight loss*, Recommended every 90 days.

So my first experience with Advocare is price related. If I remember right, it was about $25 for the Herbal Cleanse package. This package contains 7 packets of herbal cleanse pills, 7 packets of probiotic restore pills, and 6 packets of Fiber Drink. The 24 Day Challenge is divided into two phases, the Cleanse Phase which is 10 days long, and the Max Phase which is the remaining time. I am only doing the Cleanse Phase, because I’m just trying to compare what the body feels like “a few days in” since I very strongly felt the effects of Soylent only on the 3rd or 4th full day. The Cleanse Phase includes utilizing these pills and fiber drinks on a specific regimen (cleanse pills at night for the first 7 days, probiotics in the morning for the last 7 days, and fiber drink for the first 3 and last 3 days.) It also involves eating right (there are a bunch of guidelines to follow), drinking plenty of water, and exercise. I’m not going to do the exercise beyond what I normally get in my life because I didn’t do it with Soylent either and I’m trying to make a baseline comparison.

I was very impressed at first because I saw a day-by-day chart explaining what to eat and when, but then I realized it was home-brewed by someone and didn’t actually even adhere to the guidelines given in the official materials, it was far more strict, being a very low carb diet, below what I think is healthy. So I started looking through the official materials, and it turns out that eating according to their recommendations seems extremely tedious and vague. There are some guidelines on serving sizes, but no real explanation of how many servings of what to eat for each meal… so here’s the best I can figure it out:

Protein = 4 to 6 oz per serving of Chicken Breast, Eggs, Beef or Turkey (Extra Lean), Fish (Tilapia, Red Snapper, Cod, etc.) Salmon, Tofu, Tuna (fresh or packed in water), Turkey Breast.
A protein item is included in Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner every day during the cleanse phase.

Vegetables = 1 cup raw or cooked (somewhere else it says 1/2 cup cooked), or 2 cups of leafy green vegetables. They recommend Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Dark Leafy Greens, Eggplant, Green Beans, Onion, Peppers, Salad Greens (spring mix, romaine, etc), Tomato, Zucchini/Squash.
A vegetable item is included in Lunch and Dinner every day during the cleanse phase, but somewhere else in the materials it says to eat “eight to ten servings each day of vegetables and fruits.”

Complex Carbs = Beans, Lentils, Oatmeal, Quinoa, Potatoes (any variety), Whole Grain Rice, Pasta, or Bread. An item of complex carbs is included in Breakfast and Lunch every day during the cleanse phase, and in dinner “if needed.” The home-brewed stricter version I saw lacked complex carbs entirely, (except on one odd day when they had sweet potatoes listed.)

There’s a fruit item specified during the Breakfast each day during the cleanse phase. Under a section labeled “Snacks/Other” there’s a subheading of Fruit that lists these: Apple, Banana, Berries (strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, etc), Cantaloupe, Citrus Fruits (orange, tangerine, grapefruit, etc.), Grapes, Kiwi, Mango, Lemon, Pear, Pineapple.

I’m not sure if that list is supposed to be the list of fruits eligible for breakfast, or if it’s just a list of ideas for snacks consisting of fruit.

There are three meals and three snacks listed each day. The snacks seem to be left blank/undefined aside from the Snacks/Other section which also lists healthy fats and dairy (both to be used in moderation) and under “Other snacks” it suggests Edamame and Hummus as well as another Advocare product which I don’t have :smile:

So the way I take this, i’m supposed to take the probiotic (during the last seven days only), the Fiber Drink (first three and last three days only) followed by a glass of water then breakfast. After this I have a mid-morning snack. Lunch. Afternoon snack. Dinner. Evening snack. And at Bedtime I take the herbal cleanse caplets (first seven days only.) The exact content of these meals and snacks, while vague, is based on the lists given in the guidelines.

I’m also supposed to avoid several things like fried foods and sugar, no problem.

Compared to Soylent, which is the epitome of simplicity: a single product that I mix with water and consume, this is almost enough to make me feel like I’m studying for a college course. I want to go shopping in the morning to prepare for this, but I am definitely confused about what exactly to buy. I thought this would be a scientific experiment but I don’t think it’s exact or reproducible. I will assume I’m going to be spending about $50 in groceries, getting things like eggs, lean meat (chicken, turkey, or beef), tuna canned in water, a plethora of vegetables, some fruits and berries, some whole grain rice or pasta.

I worry that there are too many factors at once going on here. I wish I knew what the herbal cleanse, fiber drink, and probiotics did to me without also altering my entire diet at the same time. I also wish I knew what altering my diet in this way would do to me, without the use of the Advocare products to go with it.

So let’s project that it might be $75 total for the groceries and the Cleanse box, for 10 days, that’s $7.50 per day, compared to Soylent’s $9.00 per day. Not too big of a difference. I’m pleased that it seems to be cheaper, but I will admit that at first the Herbal Cleanse package for $25 felt very expensive, since it’s approximately the weight of a single pouch of Soylent.

The Cleanse will be giving me:

Vitamin C (2000%)
Thiamine (400%)
Riboflavin (400%)
Niacin (500%)
Vitamin B-12 (500%)
Biotin (100%)
Panthothenic acid (400%)
Zinc (20%)

It also has Inositol (5mg), Taurine (800mg), and “System 343 Herbal Concentrate” (1140mg per serving) which consists of cranberry fruit juice powder, extracts of burdock root, Silymarin (from milk thistle leaf), senna leaf, astragalus root, schisandra fruit, beet root powder, oderless garlic bulb powder.

Of course the majority of my vitamins and nutrition will come from the foods consumed during this Cleanse Phase, not from the product itself. They also recommend taking an Omega-3 product (not included in the Cleanse package.

I wonder if I could use Soylent as any of the meals during the Advocare challenge? Does it count as equivalent to a meal of Protein + Carbs + Vegetables?

So many questions and thoughts.


#2

A pseudosciencey MLM “cleanse” product, versus Soylent? Oy.


#3

From what I read, the idea of ‘detoxing’ ‘cleansing’ ‘getting rid of toxins’ etc. has been discredited for a long time, since this is done automatically by the human body every day, right?


#4

I’m skeptical, to be honest. This is more of an experiment in “does my body feel good if I do this?” than anything else. I’m really not sure the cleanse product will accomplish anything other than what the diet accomplishes by itself.


#6

Breakfast. Day one. I decided to take this opportunity to learn how to poach eggs. I poached two eggs, toasted a piece of whole grain bread spread lightly with Brummel & Brown’s spread, and sprinkled cinnamon on half a cup of applesauce.

This was actually a pretty tasty breakfast, and I got to learn something new while I did it. The poached eggs came out alright, one was slightly over and not quite as pretty as the other.

The number of dishes used was intense, however. My blender bottle got used for the Fiber Drink, so anything beyond that is already more than I’d have dirtied with Soylent. So, I also had a plate and fork and spoon to eat with, a slotted spoon, a pan, two teacups (because I wanted both eggs ready to poach.)

I feel satisfied. The fiber drink wasn’t surprising to me, since I’m used to drinking Soylent anyway I’ll probably be getting less fiber this way. The peaches and cream taste was interesting, and I notice it contains Fructose, which isn’t so great, but ah well. And considering I’m not much of a breakfast person, this is more than I normally would have consumed for breakfast anyway. Time to go shopping so I have the ingredients I need for further meals.

I hope this thread proves useful for someone in some way!


#7

Lunch. Day one. I sauteed some garlic, a shallot, chicken, steamed some asparagus, and cooked some whole wheat pasta. Seasoned with pepper and a little soy sauce.

Snack: Applesauce with cinnamon.

Dinner. Day one. Garlic, chicken, steamed brussel sprouts, whole wheat pasta. Seasoned with a little salt, pepper and curry powder.

A little boring, very tedious, lots of cleanup. Tasty enough. I miss Soylent.


#8

Breakfast. Day two. Another dose of the fiber drink. Big glass of water. Four eggs, one 100% whole wheat english muffin. Applesauce, cinnamon. More water.

The Herbal Cleanse pills taken last night before going to bed didn’t seem to have any recognizable effect so far, but it’s only been one day. I wonder why they use three large pills when they could just grind them up and put them in the powder of the drink. Soylent logic in my head begs that question.

I feel alright. Chocolate cravings began yesterday a little bit, and I really wanted to snack on something last night but I had already taken the cleanse pills, so I held off.

My science experiment marches forward…


#9

End of Day Three. I won’t document all my meals, except to say I found a way to make Tacos, and I even tried some fish.

I feel deficient in some way. I have never craved Soylent so much before, seriously. Munching on spinach leaves, turkey, ground beef, applesauce, bananas, celery, PB2, eggs, chicken, whole wheat bread … it all sounds like good stuff, but there is something missing, and I’ve been trying to stay very light on salt and not adding any sugar to anything. When I was 3 days into my Soylent Only Week, I felt like I hit a magical state of satisfaction where I felt really healthy and almost felt younger or something. I wasn’t craving anything, and was satisfied.

Ugh.


#10

Why in the world are you doing a “cleanse”, anyway? It’s a pretty pseudoscientific concept (and just about the opposite kind of thinking that soylent is).


#11

@asympt, I don’t know exactly. But I also don’t think it is entirely pseudoscience. The idea of cleansing your gut of bad bacteria and then promoting the restoration of good bacteria with probiotics is pretty easy to understand and I’ve done such in the past (without the use of any MLM products which totally aren’t needed-- you can get good probiotics at any store that carries supplements.) But I’m more interested in the diet and its effects than in the mechanics of the cleanse proper. This is supposed to be a “clean eating” diet, that continues into the “Max Phase” (after the Cleanse phase is over.)

So I’m doing this as a comparison between two diets. “Clean Eating” vs. Soylent, and I just chose to start with the Cleanse because that’s how the “Clean Eating” diet is normally started.


#12

It’s just an odd thing to “compare” with Soylent.


#13

Day Six. I’ve turned a new leaf in cooking. I came up with an amazing dish a couple days ago, and today I made a balsamic reduction glaze to go with steamed veggies and a cauliflower puree. Yes, I’m getting fancy. Still, it’s all very tedious and I would rather reserve it for special occasions.

Cravings are still around. I haven’t felt anything wonderful like the feeling I got by day 3 or 4 of 100% Soylent.

Four more left…


#14

Odd indeed.  


#15

I finished the cleanse a couple days ago. I cheated on the last two days a little bit, and had some Soylent and some chocolate :slight_smile:

My conclusion: The cleanse may be a way to lose weight but it sure isn’t a way to make your body feel properly nourished and satisfied. However, I did gain a little confidence in my cooking abilities during the experiment. It’s also a very expensive way to do what it’s doing. The same could be accomplished without Advocare-brand products while using better fibre sources, better herbal supplements and vitamins, and better probiotics, for less money.

I also now have an order of @axcho’s Schmilk on the way, which will become my next experiment.