DIY approach for real food


I have begun to work in a spreadsheet to optimize a diet similar to how the DIY website works, (including the evolution-inspired solving routine that somebody added on to it). Only in this case I’m abandoning the idea of soylent and just plugging in the nutritional content for real food. My goal is to create a nutritionally complete diet that can be measured, prepped, and cooked on a once-a-week basis. It should be as cheap as possible while still being nutritionally complete to an extent comparable to corporate Soylent, and also not too carb-heavy (personal preference). I’m wondering if anyone has done work in a similar direction, and what their results looked like.

Now, the prices I used were mostly guesstimates, although they should be pretty close when I consider the amount of time and attention I’ve devoted to quantifying what I eat in the last year. Result: $2.90/day

Here’s the very preliminary results. It is 2010 calories, with only 199 grams of carbs. (Not coincidentally, my solver began penalizing it at 200 grams.) I have begun separating into possible recipe groups.

--------------Some kind of bread or cookie
1.2 tbsp of: BUTTER,WITH SALT
2.4 tbsps, packed of: SUGARS,BROWN
12.3 grams of: SEEDS,FLAXSEED
0.2 cups of: OATS

-----------------------mush this together and remind myself it’s for my health:
0.1 pills of: vitamin D
3.2 grams of: emergen C
5.3 grams of: Whey protein powder
0.2 bananas of: BANANAS,RAW

----------------------snack time

2.8 eggs of: EGG,WHL,RAW,FRSH

0.2 tbsp of: SALT,TABLE

Here is the complete nutritional content:

2,010.33 Energ_Kcal
89.35 Protein_(g)
101.63 Lipid_Tot_(g)
17.19 Ash_(g)
198.59 Carbohydrt_(g)
29.75 Fiber_TD_(g)
71.55 Sugar_Tot_(g)
1,072.78 Calcium_(mg)
12.13 Iron_(mg)
563.81 Magnesium_(mg)
1,740.29 Phosphorus_(mg)
3,302.45 Potassium_(mg)
1,755.12 Sodium_(mg)
13.48 Zinc_(mg)
2.02 Copper_mg)
8.42 Manganese_(mg)
87.86 Selenium_(µg)
370.76 Vit_C_(mg)
2.16 Thiamin_(mg)
2.21 Riboflavin_(mg)
17.20 Niacin_(mg)
8.22 Panto_Acid_mg)
5.09 Vit_B6_(mg)
649.69 Folate_Tot_(µg)
17.02 Folic_Acid_(µg)
637.26 Food_Folate_(µg)
658.33 Folate_DFE_(µg)
633.34 Choline_Tot_ (mg)
13.20 Vit_B12_(µg)
4,688.12 Vit_A_IU
731.65 Vit_A_RAE
642.11 Retinol_(µg)
6.39 Alpha_Carot_(µg)
1,603.30 Beta_Carot_(µg)
13.61 Beta_Crypt_(µg)

  •  Lycopene_(µg)

4,118.21 Lut+Zea_ (µg)
10.15 Vit_E_(mg)
3.66 Vit_D_µg
633.22 Vit_D_IU
129.37 Vit_K_(µg)
31.52 FA_Sat_(g)
39.51 FA_Mono_(g)
22.90 FA_Poly_(g)
622.68 Cholestrl_(mg)

Dried Fruit + Tofu + multivitamin vs Soylent

Ha, nice, I just started doing this exact same thing too! :slight_smile:

I managed to concoct a recipe with less than 10 ingredients, at around $10 a day at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods prices. It’s pescetarian and free of gluten, dairy, nuts, and legumes. No supplements needed.

Ax Salad - $10.10
Ax Salad Lite - $8.80

See the Notes tab for more info.

Really excited to try it out. :wink:


Nice job. It’s a lot more expensive than my result, but you have some pretty difficult constraints to work with, apparently.


Thanks! :slight_smile: If you don’t care about buying organic and you just want the cheapest eggs and veggies possible, you could probably cut the costs in half, also.


I put together a nutritionally complete soup and fish recipe that’s decently low carb. The prices aren’t there because it was part of an aqua/hydroponics discussion - all of these can be easily grown to at home, with the fish being the only complication.
I used the USDA cooked values for the vegetables to have a more accurate representation of the vitamin and nutrient content. You would still require supplementation for choline and calcium, though the latter can be dealt with through milk and the former with eggs.

This recipe has the added benefit of being entirely gluten free.


Following. :slight_smile:

More letters.


I was backpacking in Germany and for an entire weekend lived on a few loaves of German bread I bought in a local shop. It was delicious and would have kept eating it the entire trip, but decided it might not have been a nutritionally balanced diet.

I’d love to see a German baker (or any one who is familiar with the style of bread I am talking about) work out a recipe for a loaf of soylent bread. If it were bakable in a bread maker, it would be an awesome product.


@Unsynchronized, a big part of my motivation here is the memory of being soooo hungry in France. I had next to no luck eating gluten free in an affordable and tasty way. Being hangry made my trip a challenge.


Do you remember what it was called or what it looked like? It probably used a decent amount of rye, and may have had other ingredients that could make it more rounded from a nutritional standpoint. I’m sure you could fiddle with some german bread recipes and come up with a good DIY soylent german bread.


You caved and added a multi! lol. Some of those are extremely impractical to produce yourself, like canola oil and soybeans, and flax seed. Not using stuff that is hard to harvest definitely adds a complication to the scenario.


Yeah. I did cave.
It’s damn near impossible to find fiber and fat sources that grow easily and don’t require significant processing.

Unless we add in peanuts? But I didn’t want people complaining about allergies either.

Fine. Canola is out. I added in peanuts, but I’m still very much under for omega 3.

You’ll need a source for salt to make up the necessary chloride - it shows up in the tomatoes and peanuts (which I had to modify to reflect chloride content, since it wasn’t in the USDA database).

I’m keeping the flax seed in there. It’s impossible without it. I took out the soybeans, even though they should be easy to grow hydroponically (beans do well in aquaculture), it requires a lot of post harvest processing to use.

Also almost impossible without the multi:
Chromium, Iodine, and Molybdenum.

Maybe switching to a different fish can resolve the omega 3 issues without using ground flax seed. Sardines, mackerel, and anchovies are all oily fish high in omega 3, but can any of them be grown in aquaculture?

Anchovies are salt water fish, so they’re a definite no.
So are most species of sardines. One (rainbow sardines) are inland, but are bony fish and may require more prep.

Short mackerel may be a good candidate - they grow in shallow water in southeast Asia, and those waters tend to be low in salinity. They subsist on micro-zooplankton, which makes providing for them significantly easier if you set up an ecosystem.

Have at it, @jrowe47!


Lol - didn’t mean to criticize - I caved too, I have a bunch of spreadsheets, and I keep falling back on canola. I’m looking into whether bonsai olive trees could bear fruit, or other oil bearing trees. Sardines and anchovies can definitely be raised in aquaculture, but, well, bleh. I can’t stand em.

Sunflowers might be just the thing - easy to harvest, easy to process. Amaranth might also work out in lieu of canola, but I think sunflowers would do the trick, and are incredibly easy to work with. With the whole seeds, you have a protein source, and I would presume that there’s a relatively simple process to extract the oil.


Don’t let this stop you—please!—but just so you’re aware: there are also people with sunflower seed allergies.

(The bright side? I can honestly say that a loaf of Dave’s Killer Bread nearly killed me.)


Updated the recipe to use freshwater sardines instead of tilapia, enabling me to remove most of the external ingredients.

Currently it requires the following non-aquaculture ingredients:

  • a little bit of added choline
  • some salt (which I removed from the other entries to make it separate)
  • some vitamin D (actually, this is an error - the USDA database lists it as ug, and when you import the ingredient the units change to IU without recalculating the volume. I corrected my ingredient but the website needs fixing)
  • and finally, a Centrum to round it out.


Here’s the latest recipe from my spreadsheet. It’s not going to please anybody with dietary restrictions. (No peanuts, at least) But it is a very nutritionally complete 1980 calories for approximately $102 a month (again, prices are guesstimates). There’s only 9 ingredients, 8 if you don’t count table salt. And I kept the carbs to 250 grams. Not too bad. I will keep working on it.

1 day totals
2.3 tbsp of: BUTTER,WITH SALT
0.1 tbsp of: SALT,TABLE
3.2 eggs of: EGG,WHL,RAW,FRSH
3.6 ounces of: BROCCOLI,RAW

98% of the RDA for Vitamin K.
94% of the RDA for Niacin.
27% of the RDA for Vitamin D (but no biggie – you can make Vitamin D yourself with a little sunshine.)


That is… Fascinating, actually.

A couple sardines will actually help solve the vitamin D and Niacin. Wondering whether your penalties on overages for water soluble vitamins are too high - no reason you can’t bump up the broccoli to deal with vitamin K.

In my case, I’d have to take the chicken separately from the milk and butter, and I’m not sure how to handle the raw ingredients - broccoli raw I can eat, but beans and rice?

Any idea how much .1 ounces of cereal is? That’s such a negligible amount you might as well drop it entirely. It would be great if you could set up a recipe on the DIY site so we can see if there’s ways of either reducing or simplifying these ingredients.

But otherwise? Cool.


Yikes, I probably need to look into this for my own whole food recipe! :open_mouth:


IIRC, @J_Jeffrey_Bragg has done some work on developing a “whole foods” equivalent to Soylent. I’d recommend perusing his post history and searching for terms such as “whole foods” on this forum to find other, related posts.


Have you thought about chia seeds? They have quite a bit of fiber. They also contain omega3. I think they are pretty easy to grow as well.


Seeds may be easy to grow, but how easy are they to harvest? Soybeans also fall into this category, which is why I removed them from the recipe.