Discussing soylent with friends


I agree 100% Whevever I tell anybody about Soylent they always think it is a diet fad. I try to tell them that I hate to cook/am really bad at cooking and I don’t like the time it takes cooking, shopping, cleaning, and even eating my food. This never seems to penetrate. My family especially cannot wrap their heads around this not being a diet like Slim Fast.


It is not socially/culturally acceptable to “not like to eat”. This is at the core of most people’s negative reactions to Soylent - or indeed most people’s reactions to my eating habits my entire life. It’s been said before, food is as religion to many (most) people, and to say you don’t like it is akin to saying you don’t believe in God (which again as I’m sure we all know, is not a generally socially/culturally acceptable thing to say, even though I’d wager that a majority of us in this forum probably do share that sentiment to varying degrees since we tend to be a data/science-oriented bunch)

It’s going to come down to time. Once years have passed with people living mostly or even 100% on Soylent with absolutely no ill health effects, and even many doctor-measured health benefits… then there will be no leg to stand on for the naysayers, and they will fade into the background.


I think you hit the nail on the head perfectly vanclute. It really isn’t acceptable in our society (USA, not sure about other places) to not like eating. It is indeed like a religion. We have whole channels on TV devoted to it. Some people go to school so they can spend the rest of their lives doing a job where they are essentially making edible matter warm enough or prepared enough to consume (chef/cook).

Unfortunately, much like I don’t think religion will ever go away, I don’t really see this stigma ever going away either. Even with mountains of evidence pointing at Soylent or similar DIYs being the pinnacle of nutrition and health, I think people will still shy away from it.


Yep, the majority will for a long time at least. Eating is something that’s been done largely the same for thousands upon thousands upon tens of thousands of years. It’s not going to change quickly, if at all. But that’s ok, as long as we here can get what we need. :slight_smile:


It’s not a necessary dichotomy between food lovers and Soylenteers, though, especially since most of us eat plenty of regular food meals along with our Soylent. I happen to love food and could even be accused of being a foodie. On the other hand, at least half the time, I find eating a chore and distraction from whatever I’m focused on, I can’t cook, and I developed a deeply entrenched habit of eating a lot of unhealthy food because it could be quickly and effortlessly prepared (i.e., microwavable, pre-packaged processed food or food bought from a fast food outlet). Soylent replaces all of those meals and thus perfectly suits my lifestyle and relationship with food. But when I want “real” food, I really, really appreciate a good meal. I like food that goes well with good wine, and found France to be very congenial based on that culture’s attitude towards food. But I nevertheless plan to increase my consumption of Soylent to 75% of my meals–if the gas issue is solved. I’m not sure why my fellow foodies are so darned closed-minded.


I think that the fact that people put so much importance on food may be because historically food was so important. You have to eat food to continue to live so it becomes a big deal. And then eventually technology advances to the degree that eating is more of a given (in the developed world that is) but the urgency surrounding food in the human psyche still exists.

It’s interesting to note how experts in various fields behave. Some people are computer geeks that love computers but althought they like it when others appreciate computers, they still want the masses to be able to use computers. Some people love cars and they’d like it if others appreciated cars too they still want others to be able to use cars. Etc. I could list the same for many fields.

But for some reason, when it comes to food the experts in food not only love their field and want others to appreciate it but also they become upset and offended when others DON’T become experts in their field.

So if you’re a computer expert and a regular person can’t do something simple you roll your eyes and you make it simpler for them. But if you’re a cooking expert and a regular person can’t do something simple you try to convert them to being a cooking expert.

Some people don’t know or want to know how to cook. Why do people like Jamie Oliver respond to that by trying to teach them how to cook instead of figuring out ways to provide them with good food without having to learn how to cook?


Your kidding. I believe in god and i know tons of data/science oriented people that do, so i am guessing a lot of them here do too. I dont see how having a science bent of mind means not believing in god? Did you mean not believing in religion?


It’s always dangerous to even begin to talk about that - as dangerous as to talk about Soylent :slight_smile: - but I am with vanclute on this.

After all it depends on the personal concept of your deity. Sciene and an Einstein god -personified laws of the universe or ultimate benevolent force- may work out just well. Sciene and Creationism, or certain strains of American (or international for that matter) evangelism, not so much (I think).

That may be just what you said, Mr.Tark with your ‘not believing in religion’.

NOTE: No offense to anybody intended. I am just really interested in this issue, although a bit offtopic (really not much, since we are talking about dogmatics and baseless fears here :grin:


I caught myself lying to someone the other day about my Soylent consumption when she had an extremely negative reaction after I broached the topic. “I’d try it,” I said, “if the wait for new orders wasn’t so long.” Not, as I should have said, “I’ve been eating it for months and it’s great!”

I’m not sure how to come out :slight_smile:

I did, at least, help change her initial negative reaction to one that was much more open-minded. But I did so as someone who apparently would never back a kickstarter for some kind of nutrient slurry I’d have to wait over a year to recieve. Cough, cough


I agree with vanclute, too. Also, I’m atheist.

We atheists are never surprised to hear that someone else is an atheist, and we hear it often. The catch is that most of us are not loud and arrogant, like the few militant atheists you might have been exposed to.

Basically, when we hear people talking god, we usually just stay out of the conversation. I spend a fair amount of time thanking people for their well-meant religious wishes. Most of them think I’m just not actively religious, or lapsed, when I’m actually very solidly atheist.

I’d have written all of this off as “off-topic,” but I definitely feel the parallel with discussing Soylent. For an awful lot of people, food is a sacred thing… and for many people, the particular dietary “view” they hold is something that’s accepted more on faith than on fact. When someone is an ardent believer that, for example, all simple carbs are bad for you, or that all GMO’s are killing people, or that only organic food can be healthy, it’s hard to have a reasonable discussion. If their positions is set and unbendable, there’s no point in you having a discussion with them in hopes of convincing them Soylent is OK. On the other hand, they may want to continue the discussion with you, in hopes of convincing you to quit that “evil Soylent.”


You make a valid point. It is definitely not all or nothing for either Soylenteers or food lovers but I think the point remains that it is taboo to suggest that you feel like eating Soylent sometimes because it is more convenient than cooking a “regular” meal.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a well made meal. I just don’t subscribe to the “religion of food” like most people seem to.


One thing I have learned while explaining soylent to people:

-> Don’t expect sympathy/appreciation for the idea of fluid nutrition at once.

If you do not happen to encounter (my prejudice, but seems to be true) a special kind of geeky/nerdy/transhumanist or whatever person, who will instantly embrace the promise of soylent, the first reaction is bound to be negative. They may just ridicule the idea but in some instances there is a very strong repulsive reaction (akin to religious beliefs).
Several people, I considered open-minded, very significant to me, were outright disgusted by the concept.

-> Time helps, so does explaining, dont get upset yourself

What worked out however, is to show that the idea could work, next to some time for people to adjust. There are extremist for every cause out there, so not everybody will see the advantages or will be able to emphatize with soylenteers (which are basically on a quest for freedom!)
But most people (may be true for all of us, only in different areas), rely on emotion/sociological-biological programs for short-time-reactions. They need time to think about it. Thats just how humans work (in my opinion, I can see it in myself very often).

Now Off-Topic (I just love to discuss this :slight_smile: ), @mentalnomad, @Tark

I am an atheist myself, and Im deeply concerned about the influence of religion (organized religion, no offense to you, Mr.Tark) on today’s society.

One of the greatest achievements of humandkind, at least in my eyes, is the scientific principle. One part of its greatness is the fact, that it is practically useable to the end of times (or death of humankind :D), because every new piece of knowledge with enough evidence can just be added to the “science canon”.

Which means, on the other side, that there are things out there, which we dont know yet. This gives us the right to oppose things like chemtrails etc. but you gotta be on your toes not to be as close minded about science as religious fundamentalists about religion.

People may be right about phenomena, but with a totally wrong explanation / theory. They basically connected two or more points of our web of knowledge in a wrong way.

One (non-religious) example: homeopathy

  1. Evidence: Double-blind studies showed that there is no significant beneficial effect on health from homeopathic substances when compared to placebo.
  2. Critic: The explanation of homeopaths are not scientifically sound. Water Memory? Stronger Effect by dilution?
  3. But: There are many accounts of people who felt that these methods worked on them/significant others.

There a some theories why this could happen. To me, the most appealing one is, that the care and attention most “alternative practitioners” tend to give to the patients, compared to cost-sensitive general healthcare, activates selfhealing-capacities of the patients body and other similar phenomena.

In short: People may believe in absurd things. But in some cases not without reason. They only got the explanation wrong.
To the individual person it is against nature to act against subjectives experience. I like to remind myself to that, when I want to get upset about some far-fetched theory.

Sorry for the long read, that’s my favourite topic (How does the human mind work, religion/ worldviews / epistemology). One reason I like being on this board so much is that you rarely find the majority of people in a topic outright dismissing other views - at least not without reasoning.

One more thing I totally forgot, which connects both topics:
With belief in deity(s) there tends to be belief in firm concepts what humans should be/do, what a human is ‘supposed to do’. Which is to eat solid food!
When you believe that humankind forges its own destiny, the ‘willingness to adapt what helps to improve’ tends to be significantly higher.


I wish that I could ‘like’ this post more than once. I think I’ll have to be satisfied with just manually hand you all my like and possibly my daily ‘win’.

Being a Taoist I think my stance with balancing science and belief is something akin to its ok to believe in something that doesn’t have firm proof and working knowledge but its not ok to take it on faith and leave it at that. Its ok to not know why something works the way that it does at first because there is no way for us to know every thing that there is to know. But its not ok to just sit put and leave it as the unknown just because that is how it has always been.

I find that its ok to balance having a belief in something as long as we strive to find truth about it and are open to changing our minds if we find our beliefs are wrong. It is how we flow and change and grow as people.

Maybe this little blurb makes sense… not sure. Sounds right in my head but that is sadly muddled by sinus congestion.


Well… thank you! :smiley: I think I got what you wanted to say.

How I understood you: As long as you are able to reflect about your beliefs, and to evolve them when contradicting evidence shows up, you are safe :slight_smile:

Interesting in this regard, however, would be what is the root of you belief? Experience? Upbringing? Do you believe in (strict sense) ‘supernatural’ phenomena?

In my personal view, there is no knowledge in a strict sense. Nothing is proveable. We cannot even prove that we are not brains in a can :slight_smile: But there are better and worse models. All knowledge is a model of reality, reality itself cannot be understood or explained by the human mind. Which means there will always be a better model of a certain aspect of reality in the future (may be infinite).
Everything we can see, sense or discuss about is a reflection of an aspect of reality (a really tiny fragment) within a human mind.
This is not the type of ‘working knowledge’ we need for daily live, but a philosophical view of course :slight_smile: I use ‘I know, that…’ as often as everybody. We can only strive to get a better model of reality, with no absolute target, I think we will never be ‘done’. But in the meantime, the aquired knowledge (which means the gap between old model and the new one) can help to make the life on earth better (I know, I know, that sounds too optimistic, doenst it? The “other side” may win :frowning: )

-> Taoism
I really dont know much about this. Is it akin to buddhism? Buddhism is my favourite religious system (although I am not a follower) because the quest to reduce human suffering is very compatible to my own views. There are many kinds of buddhists out there, however :slight_smile: , some have adopted shamanistic principles and so on…

Meditation (more specific, mindfulness meditation) is one more example of an often ridiculed (even by myself, shame on me :slight_smile: ) cultural technique, which proved to be beneficial for many people, and its one of the core principles of buddhism.


I have no particular opinion that’s relevant concerning religion, but as for the original topic, if I’m being honest I actually enjoy eating regular food more than Soylent, it’s just everything else about eating normal food that I don’t like, like having to prepare it, or the time it takes to do so, or the higher cost if I feel like being lazy and just getting fast food, not to mention always being worried if I’m getting a balanced diet. I’ve never been able to make heads or tails of most of the stuff I’m supposed to be getting to be healthy, so I usually just end up eating what tastes good to me.


This has to be one of the greatest paragraphs I’ve ever seen forged.

… I want to talk to all of you about these subjects but they’re off topic. Hrflgrnikfaborg.

How do beliefs, both scientific and spiritual, change our views and how does that affect the perception of Soylent

None taken. I am not religious…believing in god doesnt necessarily mean being religious or even believing in religion as a necessary means of believing/worshipping god, to me.



I think it would be perfectly possible to open a seperate thread on the forums here. As long as we manage to keep it civilized and give it a name like ‘Discuss your worldview, but keep it calm’ or something similar.
We could justify it with the thought, that soylent has many philosophical implications aswell, and that talking about it (with regard to society) is often talking about human nature :smile:

I am not proud of our first conversation. Just want to make sure to I keep my socio-biological programming in check this time :slight_smile:


Maybe it’s time to take a kinder look at renaming “other” or “uncategorized” :wink:

To tie religion back to Soylent, MentalNomad struck a chord with this:

A few years ago my father had a biopsy of a painful patch of skin. The results were strange and inconclusive but appeared to be cancerous; he was scheduled for a second biopsy. While he waited for his followup appointment, he started reading about alternative medicine and diet and ended up switching to a vegetarian diet and spending two weeks on the “Master Cleanse” (I refuse to provide a link).

Sure enough, the second biopsy came and went and whatever looked potentially cancerous had cleared up and he was fine. I don’t want to discount the possibility that a dramatic change in diet had a positive effect on a small patch of cancerous tissue, but his story has since become a grand tale of how he “cured his cancer through natural foods” and both parents are now dyed-in-the-wool raw food vegans with a fervor that can only be described as evangelical. So much so that I literally cannot remember the last time I spoke with either of them where the topics of Monsanto, GMO’s, pasteurization, flouride, the “Food Babe,” or my diet (of which they know nothing) were brought up, and this extends to nearly everyone they meet regardless of the setting. I’m genuinely happy that they’re living a healthier and happier lifestyle, but I have zero plans to mention Soylent because, ultimately, we have to pick our battles.

I saw a new and exciting word in the forums here the other day which I’ve already forgotten (I just looked it up, “orthorexia”), describing the ‘unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food.’ At least in my experience, we’re seeing more and more of this every year in the mainstream. It’s having some positive side effects here in the USA; many incremental changes are being made by large food companies to appeal to these people and, as a result, we’re slowing the advance of some of the biggest health problems in the country. But a lot of this is blind evangelism rather than any reasoned concern about nutrition - a case of ‘doing the right things for the wrong reasons’ - and food is still a problem or Soylent wouldn’t have near the market that it does.


Orthorexia has become all the rage now, and has been for a while. I first heard the term I think in 2013. It drives me bonkers, I can’t stand being around people like that.