Building a better tasting soylent: almond flour based recipe


#1

For a while I have been trying to make a soylent recipe which tastes better than what I’ve got. Recently I had some success, and I wanted to share. The main new idea is to use almond flour instead of oats. I also use a bunch of ideas from the hacker school soylent recipe, and a couple other ideas. The recipe is here:

http://makesoylent.com/recipes/51e1cf952d1c68020000009f

I came around to this recipe in the following way. For a long time I was using maltodextrin as my only carbohydrate source. I think this made the drink a little thin and unsatisfying. Unfortunately, adding oat powder (as is usually done) does a lot to hurt the texture, in my opinion.

Soaking the drink for a long time reduces some of the “oatiness,” in a positive way. It also presumably deactivates some of the phytic acid. @J_Jeffrey_Bragg suggests going further and actually cooking the oats (and in his case the other grains, since his recipe uses multiple grains). He thinks that this not only deactives more of the phytic acid, but also transforms the carbohydrates to be more digestible.

He goes so far as to suggest that eating uncooked oats is just a very silly thing to do. That is one of those things that seems very obvious in retrospect to me. So I was thinking that either I ought to cook my oats before I put them in the soylent, or I ought to dispense with oats (and any cereal grains, for the same reasons).

Right now I am preparing for a new living situation in which I won’t have the ability to cook food; so that option is out the window for me. Thinking about alternatives to oats, almond flour occurred to me as a good one. Almonds can serve a function in soylent similar to that of oats, providing some carbs, fat, protein, and fiber, as well as minerals, and in particular the “tricky” minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese. Plus, they are delicious!

Unfortunately almonds don’t provide enough fiber by themselves. Fiber is tricky, because most fiber supplements I’ve tried have an unpleasant taste and/or texture. To solve this issue, I thought to try dextrin. Dextrin is a fiber which dissolves completely in water and is tasteless. Perfect, from a culinary standpoint. From a health standpoint it seems imperfect, because dextrin is all soluble fiber, and we probably also want some insoluble fiber. Conveniently, the fiber in almonds is mostly insoluble.

A few more tricks bring the taste and texture the rest of the way home. Following the hacker school soylent recipe, we use soy lecithin as an emulsifier (and a choline source). Also following the hacker schoool soylent, we let some of the carbs be sugar, for flavor. (You can substitute stevia if you don’t want sugar.) We add a bit of cinnamon and vanilla.

So that was the idea behind the recipe. Now the detailed breakdown.

The almond flour [130g] provides all of the fat the mix needs, some protein and carbs, insoluble fiber, and phosphorus and magnesium.

Because all of the fat comes from almond flour, we don’t need to add any oil. This is advantageous from a texture standpoint. If one mixes oil-including soylent powder ahead of time (to mix into a shake at a future time), the oil congeals into crystals, which may not vanish in the mixing process, thus creating nasty chunks.

To top off the carbs, I add maltodextrin [150g] and sugar [50g]. The sugar can be replaced with 50g maltodextrin and 19g stevia.

To top off the fiber, I add dextrin [25g].

To top off the protein, I add soy protein [70g]. This could be replaced with whatever your favorite protein is.

Next I add soy lecithin [20g]. This provides some fat, supplies most of the choline, and acts as an emulsifier, keeping the mix stable.

The rest of the micronutrients are covered by an Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women multivitamin [1 pill], potassium gluconate [20g], calcium carbonate [1.5g], MSM sulfur [2g], and salt [2.5g]. This isn’t a women’s formula; the idea to use the Opti-Women vitamin (regardless of sex) comes from the hacker school soylent recipe.

For flavor, I add cinnamon [1g approx. = 1tsp] and vanilla [5ml approx. = 1tsp]. You could also add cocoa powder [20g], if you want it chocolate flavored.

I recommend letting the drink sit for a while (the more the better, up to ~24hrs) after making it. This does something to the almond flour which substantially improves the texture. It should also deactivate (some of) the phytic acid in the almond flour.

My biggest dissatisfaction with this recipe right now is the remaining “floury” texture. In particular the almond flour has a bothersome tendency to get stuck in my throat. I am thinking about things one might do about this. Using almond milk instead of almond flour is one thought, but I am almost certain that the fiber in almond milk is only soluble fiber. Basically it seems like it’s logically impossible to have a drink which contains insoluble fiber and doesn’t contain particles of stuff. Anybody have any ideas?


What about fiber?
#2

If you are consuming 450 GRAMS of magnesium you will absolutely die. Might want to check your units. Even 450 milligrams is too high.


#3

Well, now; someone has put his thinking cap on – with positive results. Bravo! I, too, am an admirer of the Hacker School Soylent recipe and would like to give it a try one of these days when I’ve got the time and money for the project. As it happens, I brought some almond flour back from Brandon – not as much as I might have liked, but enough to do a few more batches of my “light-coloured” RFA Soylent option (which actually came out a very dark beige, much darker than Apple Computer beige, I guess you’d really have to call it taupe. That may well have mostly been due to frozen banana skin; the spelt flour is also a little on the dark side. I’m not bothered by the colour, though.)

In my trial batch using almond flour, the almonds went into the soaked ingredients (phytate) and therefore got cooked along with the cereals. That removed any throat-catching grittiness. I’m fortunate to be able to cook conveniently; I find it short-circuits SOOO many soylent issues! No need for emulsifiers, for example – the gelatinised cooked starches hold oils in perfect suspension. And cooking evens out the texture wonderfully. For me, it’s definitely well worth the trouble. So consequently I have zero digestive issues with any of the starches.

My problem seems to be that this cooked soylent is so easy on the digestion that it’s spoiling me for regular food; I’ll discuss that this evening on my update.

I see no reason why you shouldn’t use almond milk, if you can afford it and aren’t bothered by having constantly to ensure a fresh supply and be sure it doesn’t go off. Whether you use almond flour or almond milk, either way you pay the cost of almonds; not cheap, but perhaps worth it, and as you pointed out, you get the oils in the bargain.

Yes. I think you’re onto something, @nwthomas, moving in a productive direction. Congratulations!

@Dylan, elements like manganese, magnesium, potassium and sulphur tend to build up impressively in any food-based soylent (and in human diet generally), because most components are then multiply-sourced. It’s not like one source for oil, one for carb, one for phosphorus, one for potassium, etc.; that only works in the case of raw element-based soylents. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, though (with the possible exception of iron); every time I’ve checked this out I’ve read that the major concern with ULs of minerals is in respect of raw mineral supplementation. I’ve seen no evidence citing any alarm over high levels of potassium, manganese, or magnesium when they are food-borne. So I’m not worrying about that issue until/unless someone with a diploma in biochemistry or nutritrional science (if there is such a thing) tells me otherwise.


#4

@Dylan: Thanks for catching that! I think you’re actually picking up on a bug in the makesoylent.com software. When it asks for magnesium amounts it asks for milligrams. But then as you notice, it appears to represent its target amount in grams. A lot of those target amounts seem a little wonky to me; I’ve asked the developer when we will be able to change them! Anyway the U.S. government’s RDA for magnesium for men is 420mg, so I’m about on target here.

@J_Jeffrey_Bragg: Thanks for the positive feedback, and for sharing your own experiences! I’m really gonna have to try cooking my soylent sometime, even if I won’t be able to do it up in Connecticut. It sounds really beneficial. I’m now idly wondering whether it would be possible, and whether it would provide the same effect, to have pre-cooked powdered ingredients… Do you know anything about that?

I’m also idly wondering about using powdered almond milk. I mean, I’m sure that such a thing could be made: just make almond milk, then dry it out. I’m picturing getting something like almond flour, but with only the water soluble parts of the almond. Only trouble is I doubt this is commercially available.

Edit: Looks like it is! https://www.organicbuyersgroup.com.au/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=49. However, I’m not yet sure I can get it without shipping from Australia.

Thanks guys!


#5

Update: adding a banana improves the texture enormously. Thanks to @melkor2 for the idea. I am going to try to see if adding banana powder produces the same effect.


#6

How about this then?
Bachelor chow!!


#7

Some helpful hints from another thread:

“Always chuck in a banana!” :wink2: