How to explain Soylent to relatives?


#1

I have recently started the DIY soylent and everything is fine on that part. I have however hit the wall of misunderstanding with the people that care about me, especially my mom and granny. I have already lived away from home for last 7 years and I would encounter this type of quarrel only seldom. With a dangerous hike it is easier, because you are done after two weeks. With Soylent it’s going to be a long-term battle.
They have all kinds of superstitions and wouldn’t even listen or decide to research the topic on their own. How do I explain them the Soylent from the positive side taking into account their disbelief in whatever is not proven for centuries? How do I bridge Soylent to usual food? Has anyone had such a problem and what did you do about it?


#2

Well, it all depends on how you frame it. I can honestly say I’ve not met much skepticism from the people I’ve talked to re: soylent, though I haven’t made a point of communicating what I’m doing with my parents/immediate relatives. It all depends on where people are coming from.

My brother is a fitness therapist, so talking about the ability to maintain steady macro/micro ratios would be the way to address it to him.

Both my parents are optometrist, so they have a more scientific way of looking at things. I guess that background helps with openmindedness when you’re showing that you are basically outsourcing nutrition to a single staple.

If they’re sci-fi fans, broaching the subject joking about the original movie might be a way to ease tension.

If you have a weight problem (as I do) talk about it like it’s the slimfast shake, but better from a nutrient perspective. It’s easy, convenient, cheap, and follows all nutrition guidelines established scientifically by the USDA.

In any case, you can tell them that this is just an attempt to experiment and see how it works for you. There’s nothing that says you can’t eat regular food again - there are lots of soylent articles where they talk about the social aspect of food. Maybe your family is just concerned you’ll bring your own meals for Thanksgiving.

In many ways, it’s the same sort of opposition people can face from their families whenever they make a noticeable change - how does this potentially distance you from me? Reassure them that you’ll still be eating granny’s pumpkin pie, mom’s turkey, etc. This is just a way to make family meals more special.

And good luck!


#3

Another thing to note - I’ve been baking my soylent rather than consuming it as a shake. It’s primary ingredients, after all, are oat flour and (in my case) whey powder.

It’s more appealing to me that way, and I can experiment with different flavor combinations. If I tell them that I’m essentially making a carefully crafted, nutritionally fortified cheesecake, that sounds better than “food-type chemical liquid shake.” The more you can connect it to actual food, the easier it will be for them to swallow. (badum-tish!)


#4

Thank you very much for your response! It’s probably a tough call as my parents are neither scientists, nor sci-fi fans). However the idea to make it look like normal food like cookies is the right one. It is interesting, but even the fact that I will eat a little bit of normal food every day made them less worried.


#5

I’ve made a cookie recipe precisely for this purpose. You don’t need to use the word “soylent”, you don’t need to say it’s a “meal replacement”, you don’t need to explicitly say you can live on eating only these cookies all day long.

You just say it has protein, and each has 200 calories with 12% of all of the vitamins/minerals/omega3s/etc you need. If they don’t care, they’ll just appreciate the cookie; if they do, they can put 2 and 2 together themselves. People are much less confrontational when they think they figured something out themselves.

If you talk about the official Soylent, just do the same thing, call it an “Oat&Rice Smoothie”. Say it has an acquired taste, but you like it. Don’t say you’re not eating anything else - they’re not living with you, they don’t care. If they want to go out to dinner with you, don’t be a douche and bring a thermos of Soylent, just eat with them! :slight_smile:

If you go DIY, it’ll be even easier, since most DIY recipes seem to taste pretty good and have more ingredients that are recognizable as food. Call them X&Y Smoothies with Z, and leave the supplements out of the conversation.


#6

I’ve noticed that it’s almost impossible to advocate Soylent to a person not only without at least a college degree, but one that is intellectually inquisitive.
Most just dismiss it out of hand, “eating powder, GTFO!”

Of course, it doesn’t help that the price of Soylent is so exorbitant that it doesn’t make it a viable alternative anyway, even for me who would eat Soylent for the rest of my life.
But the pricing is just horrible, even if it goes down by 30%.


#7

That’s funny, I haven’t had any trouble at all selling people on the idea of Soylent, degree or not - everyone I’ve spoken to about Soylent has received the idea favorably. Then again, I’m in the most health conscious state in America, Colorado, and people with blender bottles are a common sight everywhere you go.

You are a totally unrealistic individual.


#11

As one of the answers to my own topic I found out, that it’s also radicalism that repels people.
If you mention that you might be eating salad along, or you eat soylent only 2/3 of the time, or you use milk instead of water to prepare it, it sort of returns you a little bit to the realm of normality.


#22

I found this gem deep within the comments of a soylent article over at Ars I think it does a great job explaining why its not nearly as simple as “cooking is easy, if it hard you’re doing it wrong”

[quote=“Lee Hutchinson”]I’ve been making a lot more of an effort lately to keep the house stocked with ingredients to cook things, and I think where a lot of people have trouble is the fact that cooking requires planning. Words like “grind” and “chore” that a lot of people are using to characterize the preparation of food aren’t necessarily about the act of popping over to the stove and creating an omelet in 5 minutes so much as they’re about the support activities.

So, you say, “I can whip up an omelette with whatever – say, onion, green pepper, and cheddar – in less than 15 (really 10, depending on the ingredients) minutes start to finish, the entire process.” But that’s presupposing you’ve shopped for and purchased eggs, onions, green pepper, and cheddar. If you don’t have any of those things, then you can’t make that omelet without a trip to the store, and that adds another N minutes, where N == time driving and shopping.

You therefore can’t just whip up an omelet unless you either specifically planned to make the omelet in advance and bought exactly the needed ingredients, or you bought omelet ingredients as part of a regular grocery store trip (and the stuff you listed are definitely staple type ingredients, so it’s absolutely reasonable to assume that someone grocery shopping regularly would have them). Depending on where in the world you are, you might be an every-day grocery shopper or a once-weekly grocery hoarder (folks where I live tend to be the latter, but I’m definitely the former). That’s more time that needs to be taken out of the day in order to support that 15 or 10 minute cooking activity. Worse, if you’re not cooking regularly, staples like cheese and milk and eggs (and peppers and onions, too) will go bad, so further planning is needed to make sure they’re utilized before they’re thrown away.

That’s a fair amount of time taken out of most days, every week, to keep the right food stocked (and not enough people can get home-delivery of groceries, so I’m not considering that). Cooking requires planning and strategy, and if you don’t want to be eating that omelet every day, you need to be able to juggle a big list of ingredients for multiple dishes and remember what you have and what you need and when you need it.

It doesn’t sound like a lot of work if you’re already used to doing it regularly and cooking is a normal part of your life, but frankly, if you’re not cooking regularly and you don’t know much about it, it’s a big deal. It’s a tremendous hassle and it’s also incredibly intimidating if you’re not used to doing it. If you’ve already got an established daily routine, carving out another hour or two several times a week for shopping, prep, and cooking is in fact difficult. That 15 minute omelet has a really, really long tail. A thing like Soylent means you can eat healthy—or at least eat better than taco bell—and not be chained to a giant treadmill of grocery store/ingredients/cooking/cleanup.

Remember that everyone’s perspective is different. Just because you can’t understand why going to the grocery store every couple of days and managing ingredients is hard doesn’t mean that some people don’t find it baffling and scary. [/quote]


#23

Please keep this on topic: justifying / explaining Soylent to relatives. If you want to discuss pricing, create a new topic.


#24

I’ve already told my family and friends that I’m interested in trying
Soylent, and that I’ve already sent away for a weeks supply.

But I’m not planning to do it 100% of the time, I currently eat out
with friends usually three or four times a week, and I intend to
continue doing so. And I’m very fond of my morning coffee, I expect
that will continue as well.

I’m planning to use it as Bachelor Chow, what to have when I’m home
and dining alone anyway. Friends and family shouldn’t notice any
change. Under those conditions, the week supply I ordered will
probably last nine or ten days.

So I can explain to them that it’s really just an experiment. I think
it’s a good idea, and I’ve paid $65 to try it, just to see see how
well it works for me. If it works out well, which I hope it does,
then I’ll go out and buy some more.

p.s. Does anyone else remember the Dilberito?


#25

No I had not heard of that, interesting:


#26

I got two reactions mainly:

  1. It’s not fun, think of the social benefits. Answer: I don’t plan to substitute social meals, but only my personal ones when i don’t like to cook

  2. Please, Please don’t kill yourself! (with always the same arguments:

  • Science doesn’t know enough yet aka the hidden souce in natural food
  • healthy sensuary pleasures
  • Artificial vitamins are bad

@Daiceman By the way, i used to be a daily grocery shopper, now i’ve rationalized to weekly shopping and simple meals as staple food. The savings in time are indeed tremendous


#27

It was an earlier attempt to create a convenient, nutritionally
complete and healthy meal, carefully formulated to to contain
everything you needed.

The inventor, Scott Adams, said: “It’s the perfect solution for people
who are shy, lazy or just plain busy. I plan to cut a hole in my door
that’s the exact size of one Dilberito delivery container.”

I found them to be reasonably tasty, but to me the best feature was
that even though they were fairly small, I could eat one and not get
hungry again for a quite a long time.

I’m hoping that Soylent will have the same property.