Absolute noob here looking for advice


Hello everyone…

I have recently run across mentions of Soylent in several of my news feeds and I am now curious enough to try it.

I have to admit that I am the type person that does need almost instant gratification when I decide to try an new idea or product and find it difficult to rationalize giving a company $300.00 US and waiting 10 to 12 weeks for fulfillment of my order. It makes me suspicious or at least concerned about the vendor.

An additional challenge I have is I live in Louisiana and we are not known for “health food” being plentiful, let’s face it we deep fry our vegetables in lard.

So here is my dilemma, what is the cheapest and quickest alternative to at least begin seeing if I can part take of the Soylent experience and see if it works and is tolerable to me?

I see lots of DIY recipes etc, but most seem to include figuring out spreadsheets, identifying the actual product and then sourcing it here… way to much work for me AND from what I can tell so far it would be prohibitively expensive as well as time consuming.

My expectations would be to replace 1 (eventually 2) meals a day with something much more healthy than my current diet.

Any constructive advice would be appreciated, snarky comments will not.

What I am looking for is a "recipe’ whose components can readily be obtained without having to resort to online ordering and “health food stores” (we have so few) and would prefer to avoid the expense of Whole Foods stores (ours also have a very low/non-existent inventory of flours, meals, etc. that seem to be needed for the recipes I have seen).

Taste would have to be tolerable at a general level and complexity low.

If there are suggestions for a “starter” diet plan that can at least put me on the path to success I am more likely to continue than if I have to jump through major hoops to attain my goals.

My personal desires in this are too improve my general health, lose some weight, reduce cost/time/work in preparing meals, and have a portable substitute that can fill the need of a snack or meal at various hours of the day.

My stats if they matter.
Male, 51 years old
200 lbs, 5 foot 10 inches tall (yes I am over weight based on BMI but waist size is only 34 so not (yet) excessively fat)
I seem to be having some symptoms of IBS and mild gluten intolerance (maybe fructan?)
Serious allergy to Shellfish (which gets me lots of grief here in Louisiana)
Milk sometimes causes me problems in the bathroom but not all the time.

Thanks in advance for any direction or constructive advice.



Quickest solution if you want official Soylent is going to be ebay, but it will come with a sharp premium. DIY is an option that many enjoy, but it’s very personal as all recipes can be wildly different. From what I’ve read, none of them can match the texture of official Soylent in terms of smoothness, and to me personally that is absolutely critical. But many others seem to like it being more like oatmeal or cream of wheat etc. Wouldn’t work for me but everyone’s different in their personal tastes & likes/dislikes.

Also DIY seems to require quite a lot of effort at first in terms of choosing a recipe that fits you, sourcing ingredients, mixing it all up and refining your personal process to get it all into something you like to drink. It’s definitely more for the experimentalist than the “plain consumer”. I’m just not experimental enough to deal with all that.

Hope that helps!


To be honest, you may need to do a lot of sourcing online. I live in a plentiful area for health-food shit (bay area, CA) and when I was putting together a DIY recipe, I got all my stuff from amazon.

People Chow is a fairly common recipe, and well-used by a number of DIYers, and I think it’d be a good place to start!


I’ll agree with @delusion that People Chow would be the easiest recipe to start with, and that no matter where you live you’ll be getting most of your ingredients from Amazon or another online distributor.

I’ve also been selling my own DIY (including People Chow) from this thread, so if you’d rather pay me to make and ship you a couple week’s worth to try I’d be happy to do that. Let me know. :wink:


thanks, I am somewhere between plain consumer and diy…cheapskate but don’t have time or inclination to turn kitchen into lab

Thanks for the ebay info…



I have looked at the People Chow (and variants) and I can source some things easily, Walmart for example has the Masa Harina and some of the Red Mill flours… but I don’t understand enough about the ingredients to make a choice.

for example some of the DIY’s have MSM Sulphur…why?
some show Soybean Oil which my local stores don’t seem to sell but at least one DIY says Walmart Brand soybean Oil which online looks like some weird canola/olive oil mixture and I cannot tell if “pure” soybean oil is needed or if I can just use a good grade of Extra Virgin Olive oil and what that would do to the taste.
Same with the Whey products… some have chocolate, vanilla and peanut butter flavors shown on the Amazon links but what does that do with the oil flavor wise that is… and can food grade coconut oil (which I can get readily) be used instead which would mix with either chocolate or vanilla flavors. but I have no idea how to figure out what that does to the rest of nutritional value of the recipe.

I see the spread sheets but I have not really found an “explanation” of how to use it effectively to add or alter ‘ingredients’ in any of the recipes and what the resulting effects would be.

sorry to sound stupid but is there a wiki someplace that discusses and shows a noob those things?





I may take you up on that soon. just trying to figure my options, costs and local sourcing first…I do appreciate knowing the option is there.



Not at the moment, sadly.

The recipes that include sulfur are (as far as I understand) a result of an earlier misunderstanding about sulfur RDI, which should be satisfied by sulfur-containing amino acids like cysteine and methionine, of which there is plenty in most protein sources (like whey protein isolate).

Soybean oil contains much more Vitamin K than other oils, so in recipes that use soybean oil, you’ll have to buy a separate Vitamin K supplement if you want to use something else olive oil, for example.

As far as flavoring, that’s something you’ll have to experiment with.

There’s a lot of information out there and plenty to learn, but it’s not necessarily organized in a newb-friendly way. Good luck!



Here’s a solid recipe, tasty, easy, and cheap. It’s definitely a good stopgap while you wait for the official product.

Soybean oil often comes packaged as “vegetable” oil - just check the label.


Nice simplified recipe, @jrowe47! :slight_smile: I’d bump up the Iodized Salt to 4g though, just to cover the chloride RDI. Might as well.

And maybe turn down the GNC Mega Men Sport to 20g, so as not to exceed the max niacin levels too much.

And hmm, bring the Oat Flour up to 200g. And Soybean Oil to 40g.

Maybe I should make my own variation… :stuck_out_tongue:


Positive snark: They don’t sell soybean oil in New Orleans? Chalk up one more reason to want to live there! :smiley:

Now I’m going to be dreaming of boudin…mmmmmm. Delicious!


thanks Axcho, i can see a lot of research will be needed before I try and DIY. I do appreciate your responses and help…


@SolveDSMV_ARFID, if you know boudin, then you know making groceries rarely includes soybean oil or anything else that the rest of the world would consider healthy…


@jrowe47 Thanks for that advice, but before I wander the aisles of Dorniacs, Marques and Walmart checking labels on vegetable oil are there usually additives in vegetable oil that I should be on the look out not to buy? reading labels can be confusing and at this point I wouldn’t know if some ingredient would counter the positive aspects of the other ingredients… I know it sounds like I am worrying a lot but I have found if I don’t check this stuff out I end up spinning my wheels or even causing harm.



@axcho if you don’t mind answering a couple more questions I would appreciate it.

On that link the column “Container Size” refers to what? the retail packaging?

looking at the recipe spreadsheet I see things like Copper and B6 showing percentages at almost 3000% of the RDI which does seem overall excessive, but the Niacin shows 232% and is in a reddish color that I assume is bad, and changing the Mega Men Sport to 20g like you suggest drops it to 197% which isn’t red. But isn’t that still to high to take over time? I don’t know the exact number but isn’t some of this cumulative in your system? and isn’t Niacin one of those things that can cause harm if too much is taken?

Another question is the Oat Flour,as I mentioned in my original post I seem to be having a negative reaction to some foods. Milk occasionally, definitely some obvious wheat products *(or maybe fructan?), and from some of what I have read so far (if I understand things) Oat products may have to be cooked before they actually functional in the recipe.

Does this hold true for “flours” made from Oats? should I get products that are “certified” not to contain gluten? or will the flour itself most likely be okay to try because the any random amount from a co-producing plant will be so random that someone with a mild reaction to gluten like I seem to have wouldn’t notice it.

What about Corn Flour or Almond Flour? would it work in that recipe? I can’t begin to guess what they would do to flavor and texture.

thanks in advance if you have time to answer my questions…


Well, I went ahead and sank a couple hours into designing my own variation on the 20% effort test recipe that @jrowe47 linked to. :stuck_out_tongue: Here’s the result: Practice Chow :smiley:

By updating the values for chloride and sulfur in the milk (and lots of fiddling with ingredient amounts), I was able to come up with a recipe that is nutritionally complete in everything except choline! And fiber, if you care about that. Bah, choline was only added to the RDI list very recently - a number of articles online (like this) still say that there is no established requirement. :stuck_out_tongue:

@nolamike, to answer your questions…

“Container Size” refers to the number of grams included in the product you buy at the store (or online or wherever). This is used to calculate daily cost, as well as how many days each container will last.

As long as the values are not “in the red”, they should be fine. The maximum allowed intakes are set pretty far below the amounts where you actually see any adverse side effects, as I understand it.

If you have problems with milk, you should probably not use a milk-based recipe. :stuck_out_tongue:

Oat flour is fine to eat raw. The main concern there would be phytic acid, which can interfere with absorption of certain nutrients, but official Soylent deals with this same potential issue and they seem to have determined that it should be fine with the amount of oat flour they are using.

In my recipes I use oat flour that is specifically gluten-free, but unless you have celiac disease it probably won’t hurt to get normal oat flour.

You cannot simply swap in different flours (like corn or almond) without totally redoing a recipe. The nutritients are totally different.

If you want a simple recipe with corn (and without oats or milk), I recommend People Chow.

Any more questions? :wink:


If you wanted to get ever so slightly fancier (which I realize is very much not the point of this recipe), you could add a little soy lecithin. It would give you the missing choline and it’s an emulsifier, so it’ll make the oil mix in easier and make it smoother overall.


Honestly, DIY is a royal PAIN, imho. Getting started, and doing it well is tough. I lived on DIY exclusively for like a month (and I felt amazing), but it was too much hassle to keep making it and sourcing supplies, etc. This is coming from someone who discovered the concept within a week of Rob’s first blog post about it ever. I have been hard-core sold out on this idea for over a year, and absolutely love the concept of only eating food for pleasure/socially. If you’re hell-bent on doing DIY, go for it. Otherwise, I would say it’s worth putting down for a week or two and waiting. As supply and demand catches up, prices on ebay ought to plummet, so you may be able to try a week sooner from there than from the Soylent team here.

My personal thoughts are to read up on some of the experiences, look at the fact that it’s in such high demand that people are selling a week’s worth for a month’s price on ebay, and see if you want in on it. Honestly, a month’s worth of food isn’t that big of a commitment in the grand scheme of things. But if you’re hesitant, buy a week or two instead of a month, then get a subscription from there.

Edit: The other issue with DIY is if you get a measurement wrong, it could kill you. More likely what will happen is you won’t feel all that great, or you could end up with a low quality product for something, or any number of other potentially bad variables.


I agree with @wheresmysoylent that DIY was a PITA, though for me the problem was that I was always researching problems (how to reduce grit, how to improve taste, how to reduce separation, how to re-balance after doing the aforementioned). One of the big attractions to soylent for me is saving time. When I was on DIY, I was losing more time than with regular food.

On the other hand, some people really enjoy DIY-fiddling perhaps even as a hobby. Nothing wrong with that. And other people quickly find a recipe they like and don’t have to do much research after that.

Btw if your milk problems are from lactose (as are mine) then you can use lactose-free milk in a recipe.

Regarding prep time, I thought DIY was reasonably quick once you got into a groove.

To my knowledge there are currently three 3rd party sources for “soylent” where the product is intended to be nutritionally complete without unsafe overdoses:

There may be other DIYers and companies coming online.


@quark314 what constitutes “a little soy lecithin” and would that affect the desired result?