FAQ (also requesting frequently asked questions to add)


#1

Tangential discussion from Information Overload. Where to start?!

I’ve been slowly building up an FAQ for the subreddit , but I could use some help. I’ve got a template of thoughts as they’ve come and gone throughout the weeks below. If you’ve repeatedly encountered the same questions, thoughts, or concerns, or would simply like to add your own questions / solutions / modifications, please comment and I’ll add them in!

General

  • What is Soylent? It’s a partial or complete meal replacement that builds a nutrient profile from the ground up. This as opposed to the common top-down approach; grabbing a burger, eggs, some veggies, and a potato during your day and hoping you’ve got your bases covered. There’s a very large DIY community since the original creation by Rob Rhinehart, but since then there have been a number of variations, but otherwise all following the core idea of a food source that has everything the body needs, that’s cheap on the resources of the individual in both time and money.

  • Wait, seriously? Yup. It’s not a marketing gimmick for a new movie, or a cult, nor does it contain people (though recipes will vary from person to person). Most recipes also contain neither soy nor lentils.

  • But chemicals are bad! / I love food! / Ew. Except, y’know, foods are chemicals. And nobody has sworn off normal food completely. We’re just looking at what the body needs from a different perspective. Think of if this way; instead of waiting around for an animal or plant to incorporate and create the nutrients we need, and then us having to consume it to get those same nutrients, why not just get what we need directly? We’re cutting out the middle cow, as it were. Obviously many nutrients are derived from plant and secondary animal products (eg: whey protein), but many others can be synthesized through much cheaper methods than through tomatoes or pigs. Some recipes are based on using as little of plant products as possible, while most all are vegetarian with the occasional secondary animal by product (eg: whey protein).

  • Okay, I’ll bite, where do I start?

  • Where can I buy some? If you’d like to just order for yourself, head on over to the official Soylent page and pick some up! Keep in mind the formula is still being perfected, and as of this writing shipments will be out at the end of September.

  • Can I make some for myself? Absolutely! Check out the DIY section below to learn more.

DIY

  • Okay, I want to do it myself, where do I start? -I have no idea how to answer this question just yet.-

  • How much of X is in X? If you’re using a more complex source (like many protein or fiber sources), you can look up nutrient data at (nutrition link), or try Wolfram Alpha (wolframalpha.com example).

  • Google Docs Useful Tips:

    • Locking Columns / rows ($) Locking cells (to copy / paste) Custom Formats (g, mg, IU) Cross-spreadsheet cell reference Hyperlink formula (=hyperlink(“LINK”,“NAME”) )
  • Common DIY road blocks:

    • … Malto concerns, oat powder cooking, liquid multi taste,
  • Resources … (pull from sidebar links)

This is a work in progress, updates and changes coming soon.


I’ll be happy to update this as more people fill in gaps, or think of sections to add. I know other attempts at wikis have failed (or have they? any updates?), so I’d like to at least have a quick spot to reference for the community at large.


#2

Here is a first cut at DIY soylent instructions.

The first step is to adopt a nutrition profile. http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/dietary-guidance/dietary-reference-intakes is one source that will tailor its information to your age, sex, weight and activity level.

Macronutrients include protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The bulk of a soylent recipe is made up of sources of these three macronutrients, plus fiber sources. Common protein sources are soy protein isolate and whey protein isolate. Oat flour and flax seed also contain a significant amount of quality protein. Not all protein sources are equal, since humans require a balanced set of essential amino acids. If you do not choose a balanced source of proteins, you will have to choose multiple protein sources which, together, contain the correct balance of all essential amino acids. Recipes for an active male with a 2000 calorie goal usually aim for 85 grams of quality protein. The US DRI is 56 grams. It is important that you correctly calculate the vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, and minerals in your protein source, since it forms a large part of your recipe.

Fats. Olive oil and flax seed are common sources of fat. Flax oil and flax flour go rancid quickly if you are not grinding your own flour. Flax seed also contains fiber and quality protein, as well as micronutrients, which must be added to your formula. A typical recipe for an active male aiming at 2000 calories will contain 65 grams of fat.

Carbohydrates. Considerable controversy exists over carbohydrate sources. Oat flour is a common source of complex carbohydrates, and often forms the bulk of many DIY soylent mixes. Concerns have been raised regarding consumption of uncooked grains and the presence of phytic acid in oat flour. In addition to oat flour, maltodextrin is another source of carbohydrates. Molasses, sugar, brown sugar, and isomaltulose have also been proposed and used in various mixes. There should be a combination of complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. Oat flour contains many micronutrients and fiber, which must be calculated. Molasses contains many micronutrients. Generally, carbohydrates for a 2000 calorie diet are approximately 250 grams.

Fiber sources include psyllium husks and oat flour. The fiber target is 38 grams for a 2000 calorie diet. Changes in fiber intake often take time for new users of soylent to adjust to, according to many reports.

In addition, water or some other fluid consisting mostly of water will be used to hydrate most soylent mixes. Daily water intake should be 3.7 liters for men, and many DIY soylent users fail to drink enough extra water with their soylent mix, causing headaches and other dehydration symptoms.

Micronutrients in Soylent. The macronutrients above will contain a great deal of micronutrients. Most DIY soylent makers supplement their macronutrients with a carefully selected multivitamin. This is the safesst way to prepare DIY soylent. Excessive amounts of difficult to measure micronutrients are poisonous.

There are numerous recipes on www.makesoylent.com. As you read through those recipes, you will see that mistakes in entering values are not uncommon, since some nutrients are measured in grams, many in milligrams, some in international units, and still others in micrograms.

In spite of the warnings, some DIY soylent makers choose to add their own micronutrients directly. Another approach is to use whole foods known to be high in particular micronutrients. Careful spreadsheet analysis and posting of a recipe for commentary can help minimize mistakes.

Also, with respect to vitamins and minerals, you must keep track of upper limits. Often these upper limits apply primarily to supplements rather than food. Potassium and choline usually need to be supplemented. Be careful not to have Vitamin A, manganese, or magnesium in excess, and note that oat flour is pretty high in magnesium.

Once you have tested your recipe, you will need a scale, some mixing bowls, and a blender to measure and prepare your ingredients. A bladed coffee grinder can be used for whole oats and flaxseed. Most DIY soylent makers seem to make a batch for a day at a time.