Biking, Dogs, Soylent, Mayhem


#1

So it took me a while to pull the trigger on my recipe (available upon request, but I’m pretty comfortable with it after futzing with it for two months) but now that I have, I wanted to share my experiences in the interest of armchair science.

I don’t feel like my situation is particularly well-mirrored by the other user experiences I’ve read; I’m female, mid-twenties, 5’9", ~215-220lbs. I’m also a dogwalker in the city (in a neighborhood right by the lake), and I bike my route, so I’m on my feet moving around outside an average of six hours a day. I made my first viable batch on Sunday night, so it could chill overnight and be ready to go* on Monday.

Monday, I wasn’t particularly busy (a few hours’ early morning office work, then 7 25-minute visits – this equals about 130 minutes of walking out with my pups, about 45 minutes of stairs/keys/doors/locks/notes/treats, and at least 45 minutes of biking) and I had Chewable Food for breakfast, about a third of my batch during the day, and Chewable Food for dinner. Went very smoothly**.

Tuesday (today) was the real test, though. I had a sweet potato for breakfast with my coffee (a little odd, perhaps), a few hours of office work, and then 10 25-minute visits. (About 200 minutes of walking, plus at least 55 minutes of biking.) And because the weather loves EVERYONE in this city, it was a balmy 40*F most of the day, with a stiff breeze off the lake. The rest of my calories for the day came from soylent (fine, I’ll be honest, and one fun-sized pack of skittles). That’s kind of a demanding day, given the routine and the climate – in addition to which everyone’s building heat just kicked on and everything indoors is a little too warm, so my body was really taxed by the constantly changing temperatures.

And, it was great. When I was at about visit 6 out of 10, I started to feel a bit hungry & tired, but otherwise in good spirits…in contrast with my usual attitude at that point (given the mix of dogs I had and the weather), which is normally less than stellar. At which point I realized I hadn’t even consumed a meal’s worth yet! Had some more soylent, drank a bit of water, and I was good to go. My favorite doorman had given me Skittles as an early Halloween treat, so I saved them for later (as it happened, between visits 8 & 9, and then only because I was going nuts only tasting water, oat-based-concoction, and what little flavor I could coax out of my gum). I often grumble and fume while biking about various bodily complaints (my feet are tired, my knee is sore, etc.) and indignities (did you just almost door me!!!) but today I found that I was not complaining about aches & pains, I was not feeling as worn as I often do (especially if my schedule doesn’t give me a few minutes’ break to grab lunch until 2pm…when breakfast was at 7am), and either city drivers were incredibly conscientious of cyclists today or I was not as crabby and reactionary while biking.

The dinner portion was a little more difficult for me to consume, but only because my brain and body were locking horns over whether I wanted to eat Chewable Food (which would mean cooking) or finish my soylent (which would mean drinking…more…liquid…). Eventually soylent won out (with a helping of stove-top popcorn, because that’s how I do), and I’m actually really looking forward to Wednesday’s results.

*It should be noted that while my recipe is almost nutritionally complete, the following discrepancies stand: 1) I have yet to receive my shipment of choline bitartrate, which I know will have a great impact on cognition and metabolism of nutrients. 2) My recipe only accounts for about 1800 calories, which is probably pretty low compared to what my Chewable Food diet had been (though I’m not entirely sure, as I didn’t rigorously track that prior to switching). It doesn’t have anything to do with male/female/basal metabolic rate differences (as noted here), but more to do with the fact that I managed to meet or safely exceed RDA’s for micro and macro nutrients without getting to 2000 (or more) calories. {3) Not that I think it’s particularly important for macro-level energy observations, I’d like to point out for posterity that my Vit A intake is only about 80% RDA, and my Vit K is abysmally low.}

**Having learned from others transitioning from Chewable Food to soylent, I did not add any sulfur to this batch, and I only put in about 2/3 the RDA of fiber. My diet was/is pretty high in fiber as it is but I saw no reason to risk aggravating my body unnecessarily.


#2

Sounds like you’re having a good first foray into it, keep us posted as you continue on.


#3

Day 2! (3? Wednesday.)

Again with the busy schedule (office work + 11 visits today, you can refer to the above math to extrapolate the amount of walking/biking), again with the chilly weather (high of 43*F today), but this time with a LOT more wind. I also didn’t get a lot of sleep last night – about 5 hrs as compared to my normal 7.5-8.

But I woke easily this morning, as I expected based on others’ experiences. Had soylent for breakfast (first glassful mixed with a bit of cow’s milk for subtle flavor), was really alert during office hours… I did have a cup of coffee, but that was more to ward off the chill of the converted-warehouse office than for the pick-me-up. Also habit. Physically I felt great. I woke up actually feeling refreshed, which doesn’t always happen after a long/chilly day. While sipping on soylent throughout the day, my body held out marvelously – until I got thoroughly cold. Thankfully this didn’t happen until about 2pm (and I finished my route around 4pm), so I had consumed the majority of my breakfast/lunch portions. However, that last little bit I couldn’t finish even though I was feeling a bit hungry, because I was already cold and putting cold things in a cold body on a cold day is just a Bad Plan. So that sucked. But, even still, physically I was doing better than average.

Cognitively, I noticed some interesting things happening. I was really alert, clear-headed, and in good spirits for about the first … six or so hours of consciousness. Around 11-12, I started lagging. Not only is biking in the city in a residential neighborhood where all the yuppies don’t know how to drive, much less be anything but completely oblivious to bikes, a cognitive task, I also have a lot of dogs with behavioral problems – particularly dog-dog aggression. So most of my dogs keep me on my toes and engaged for the entirety of our time together. [Note: while I’m not specifically a dog trainer, I have enough behavior experience with humans and large animals that I’m more than qualified to handle the sorts of behaviors I encounter on a daily basis. It’s part of the reason I have the route I do.] Lag around lunchtime is normal for me. I made a point to consume soylent at that point to try to head it off, but it had only mediocre success. I figure it was around this time that the lack of sleep was catching up with me. Of course my mental misery peaked around the time I Got Cold, at which point I also realized I hadn’t been drinking water independently of soylent. Ruh-roh. I had mixed this batch with a good bit of water, so I wasn’t in as bad of shape as I might have been. But still with the cognitive effects of dehydration. Blech.

Once I got home, I made tea and potatoes – OH!! That was the OTHER weird thing about today. Completely out of the blue, I had a really strong craving for breakfast potatoes. You know, diced, spiced, fried potatoes? Mhm. Not something I normally crave, at all. It made PRECISELY no sense. I mean, I had carbs, oil, salt, and chewing (thanks to gum) all covered. And its not like fried potatoes have a really stimulating texture, so while that may have been a factor I doubt it.

Anyway, upon returning home I consumed Warm Things. Future notes: 1) I will remember to drink more water 2) Perhaps this weekend, hopefully not later, I will be poking around with making a pancake/cookie/thing for my macros, so that I don’t have to be putting as much Cold Stuff in my probably-already-cold body.

Physical notes: I’m not sure if the perceived improvements in how I feel physically are due to precise/complete nutrition from soylent, or if it has more to do with the fact that I’m not condensing my intake into a few time periods per day. I’m definitely parsing it out throughout the day, which makes me think that my body has more consistent access to fuel, rather than the wild fluctuations of Breakfast At 7am, Oh I Forgot I Had This Tasty Morsel In My Bag At 10-12, Lunch Whenever I Can Find Time Ok I’ll Just Wait Till I’m Done With My Route At 4pm. (Not every day is like that, but breakfast at 7 and lunch around 1:30 was a Very Common Trend.)


#4

Am I the only one who has to look up conversion tables to work out what 43f is in celsius?
I’ll never understand why people still use Imperial measurements ;__;

Nc1701d, even if your increased energy is because of your body’s increased access to fuel as you said, isn’t that exactly what Soylent is meant to do? Give you what your body needs?


#5

@grantadevine I gather it’s to point out the two variables at hand; the added energy you get from just having a nutritionally complete meal vs consuming any kind of meal or food source throughout the day, as opposed to said fluctuations caused by specific meal times (which are usually stretched).

In my experience, you usually don’t get such a noticeable Boost Of All The Things until day three or four, where your body has adjusted to the diet and absorbed the nutrients you might have been missing, so it makes more sense that the boost is because of just having some kind of fuel source throughout the day.


#6

I meant that it amounts to the same thing. Your body operates better because of better nutrition/your body operates better because of better fuel access. Soylent gives both, just because you can’t include time management as an ingredient doesn’t make it any less of a benefit :stuck_out_tongue:


#7

I’d disagree, actually. If anything, the two separate factors have their own perks, that when combined are super levels of awesome. If you took around a thing of chicken noodle soup (let’s say store bought for crappy nutritional value), you may find the same relative benefit for just always having something available to replenish fuel reserves (Obviously this is all very dependent on your basal metabolic rate, but in @nc1701d’s case, this could be ideal as mentioned above. Also lots of conjecture and anecdotal evidence is involved, here, so take with it what you will…)

Adding on the fact that it’s nutritionally complete, I think, is more of a compounding factor; you may not have as much energy with only one or the other, but you’ll definitely feel an even greater boost from both (if your body prefers that sort of distributed consumption).


#8

It’s only because I’m American and Not-Really-A-Scientist, and I don’t know my weather forecasts in Celsius :stuck_out_tongue:


#9

It’s about 6 degrees celsius I think. 0 degrees is the point where water freezes which is a ridiculously good place to base a temperature :stuck_out_tongue:


#10

Days Thursday-Saturday:

Things were weird.

My appetite has fluctuated immensely – moreso than usual. For example, Thursday I was barely hungry, Friday I was moreso but still consumed less than 2/3 batch (plus Chewable Food as dinner)…and today, I’ve not had any soylent, in favor of chewable food, but I’ve still consumed … not a lot of calories.

I had a lot of cognitive difficulties; I’ve struggled for years with depression and more recently with anxiety, and though I made no changes to my medication regimen, there were times I felt like I was back to being unmedicated. (This is both scary and frustrating.) I was kind of expecting an effect like this – a close friend who started soylent before me described it with a warehouse analogy: The mind is a warehouse, but only a certain number of lights were on, and there might be some vandals (mood disorders) in occasionally messing things up, but there’s a cleanup crew as well (medication, therapy, behavior modification)…and since starting soylent, it’s like all the lights in the warehouse are suddenly blazing brightly. We both experienced that phenomenon, but in my case, the big difference was that immediately accompanying the blazing lights, the cleanup crew got laid off and the doors were flung open and the vandals had a field day. Having the cognitive understanding that my mood is being severely impacted by my current diet change, and that these frustrating changes WILL subside as my body adapts, has been immensely helpful.

Frankly, though, I now have a LOT more respect for the family and friends of people with diagnoses (like autism or adhd) whose behaviors are/can be strongly affected by diet.

Physically I’ve been doing fine. Energy levels are pretty stable, body seems to be a lot happier with me in general…my skin has been doing some serious “housecleaning”. The thing I’m still struggling with is making sure I drink enough water in addition to soylent (though in all fairness I’ve always been bad about drinking enough water!)

I’m beginning to suspect that my body is very efficient at extracting calories from food (thank you genetics & gut bacteria), and thus, since soylent is much easier to digest (already liquid, calories are primarily in very accessible forms, etc.), an objective calorie count of 1800-something calories may be a ridiculous overestimation.

EDIT: strong cravings continued. Thankfully not for potatoes, because that was weird. Friday, cravings were for Meat & Cheese. I ended up buying ingredients to make pizza burgers after work… Saturday, no cravings, but also no real appetite.


#11

Yes, what I meant is in line with @mrob’s interpretation. Having experimented with changing my diet in the past, albeit not as drastically as I’m doing now, I can safely say that for me at least, having a nutritionally complete food source and having a consistent intake of calories throughout the day are in fact two separate variables. They both have fantastic results separately, but together, I think, as evidenced by my recent forays into soylent, is the best (at least physically; see my most recent update).


#12

Newer update found here.