Dry mixing up ingredients for a week of DIY at a time


#1

I posted this to the Reddit but forgot to post it here. In 4 days I’ll have been doing DIY soylent (specifically People Chow) for 6 months. Time to share some tips! One major change in how I mix up and prepare my soylent started when I bought a 50lb bag of masa and needed to store it somehow. I ended up using the large Utz Cheese Puff bottles. One day when I had just emptied one of the bottles I wondered if I could use it as a mixing container. Up until that point I was mixing the ingredients for each day individually (first in quart mason jars, then gallon zip-loc bags, then rubbermaid containers and back to the bags) and often I would get a blender bottle that was rather bitter (too much of calcium or potassium that time) or too sweet (to much Mega Man) and I also was mixing the stevia into each bottle when I added water as a tiny amount (grain of rice sized was enough for the bottle) which was another hassle. Initially I tried mixing 3 days of dry ingredients at a time in the cheese puff bottle and that worked extremely well. So I moved up to 5 and then 7, then 10… which didn’t work. Although the math is easier when you multiply by 10 there isn’t enough space in the big bottle to shake up the powder. So I’ve standardized on 7 along with 1/4 teaspoon of stevia for the seven days. The stevia is the real mark of how well the mixing works since it’s pretty evenly distributing the 1/4 teaspoon through the entire mixture and each meal tastes the same.

Here’s the video of how I do it:

As noted in the video I also use an old Mega Man canister to keep my daily powder in. There’s a 1/2 cup scoop in it and I just put two scoops into a blender bottle and shake it up. No more shaking 1/4 of a bag into the bottle. It’s easy food made even easier.


#2

People on this forum have expressed their concerns regarding mixing up several days at a time, as the heavier ingredients could end up more in the bottom half than in the top half, and vice versa. The stevia may be properly mixed, but does this truly indicate how well the other ingredients were mixed? I hope it does, as it would indeed save a lot of time. Hopefully, someone can clear this up.

Edit: after further reading, I see that some people are concerned and some aren’t…


#3

Most of the concerns were due to thinking I was talking about mixing the water and everything together, not just the dry ingredients. That’s why I made sure to have that absolutely clear this time around.


#4

Oh haha, that doesn’t sound like a great idea. Also, that would take up a huge amount of space. But about mixing the dry ingredients only, have you been doing that for a while now (without any mixing issues)?

Also, did you forget to add the oil at the end, or do you add that later? The color difference between the two blender bottles was pretty evident.


#5

No, it’s a turrible idea =) I’ve been doing it this way for about a month now, haven’t had any problems. To the contrary it’s made drinking the people chow much moar betterer.

One is a yellow blender bottle and the other is clear (I also have blue and red ones). As for the oil - to do that you would take daily amount / meals, converted to teaspoons = how mush to put into each bottle. So if you’re doing 50ml of oil a day you would have a container of oil and put 3.5 teaspoons of oil into each bottle, probably using a measuring spoon that you wipe off real good pulling the oil from a small to medium sized tupperware style container.

That said, you are correct that I didn’t add oil in the video. Here’s my explanation on the reddit thread: http://www.reddit.com/r/soylent/comments/27q56x/mixing_7_days_of_diy_soylent_takes_12_minutes/ci3kap4


#6

What scale are you using? It’s looks exactly like my American Weigh scale, but mine will only weigh 100g max at a time.


#7

You have got to start putting water in the bottle before the powder. Enough so the ball is covered in the water with powder plus oil in the middle and then fill with water mostly to the top. It mixes amazingly well. I don’t shake all that much and haven’t gotten a lump yet.

BTW, counters look great!


#8

Seems like a good way to save time and plastic bags. But since I’m selling to other people (and now so are you, @chris_bair!) I’m more wary of cutting corners in a way that might negatively impact my customers. Are there any studies we can look at or empirical tests we could do to see how consistent the mixing is?


#9

Here is my scale http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B002SC3LLS

I’ll have to try that mixing method.

@axcho you’ve got a blend with Coco powder, that should show how well it mixes


#10

Good idea - I will give that a try.


#11

“… will it blend?”


#12

a guy at work just sent me this: http://www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/an-ode-to-utz-cheese-ball-barrels


#13

Added 5 tablespoons of cocoa powder to a week of low-cal people chow

Then I mixed it up. The “flash” on my phone makes it hard to see but it was for realsies the same color all the way that I dug down


#14

Thanks @chris_bair. It would be interesting to see how little cocoa powder you could use (say, a teaspoon?) while still having an even mix.


#15

As long as you invert the bottle several times while mixing, an even mix is not really a problem. It’s more of a worry if you then take the whole bottle and vibrate it for a while without inverting - for example, like putting it on a shipping truck to warehouse, and then another to a grocery store. The vibration can bring lighter ingredients to the top, and heavier to the bottom.

If in doubt, before mixing a daily dose, just tumble the bottle end-for-end a couple of times. The rolling action redistributes well.


#16

I can’t quote you studies, but you can borrow from the following:

  • most commercial methods don’t shake, they tumble; shaking puts more wear on the machinery and tends to get the lightest ingredients airborne; tumbling in a tub is consistent and doesn’t suffer that problem; the tub should not be round, it should have iregularities or paddles on the inner edges to mix best
  • the biggest measurement errors tend to happen in the smallest ingredients. If the ratios for those ingredients remain the same, you can consider pre-blending a large quantity of the “minor” ingredients separately from the “bulk” dry ingredients (flour and protein); this way, you can put great care into the blending of the small items, but when you dose down into the weekly containers, you don’t have to be quite so careful
  • if your “minor” ingredients, after combining them, are still an inconveniently small size to measure easily and accurately, mix an appropriate amount of a bulk ingredient to create a “fortified” bulk four. It takes some math, but then you can create a convenient daily routine such x scoops of flour, x scoops of protein, x scoops of “fortified” flour
  • vibration settling and/or separation of ingredients is mostly a problem in shipping and handling, not in the mixing. Plastic bags appear to suffer less, but that just because they collapse, so settling is not as apparent - in truth, they fare no better than solid containers

#17

Cheap or small-scale tumble mixers are hard to find.

This is interesting:
http://www.amazon.com/Scepter-04239-7-Gallon-Odjob-Mixer/dp/B000BPK766

Fill it up, and roll it back and forth in a hallway… But poly drums meant for cement are not necessarily food-grade.

I’m seeing lots of DIY project making tumblers out of retired front-loading washers or dryers… but you’d need to line it with a food-grade drum.

Or get a used cement mixer, and line it with a food-grade drum.

Obviously, overkill for mixing a week, but the DIY’ers making enough to sell online may want to think about it.