RealFoods Analogue Soylent -- analogue biohacking: a different approach to soylent?


#1

Right up front I’m posting (with considerable trepidation) the current version of my own very personal soylent recipe. I say recipe rather than formula, because it is composed of “real food” ingredients. I’m sorry for the “essentialism” but that’s the easiest shorthand way to distinguish between my food-ingredients approach and the pure-nutrients approach that Rob and others have taken. It is a PERSONAL recipe that was never intended to become a public resource or a template for the use of others. I’m posting it publicly for two reasons: (1) people keep asking me for it and (2) I’ve come to realise that it’s about time we had some dialogue about how we approach this question of formulating a full-time meal-replacement drink intended to provide complete nutrition. Here is the ingredients list plus a link to the spreadsheet, before I go any further.

RealFoods Analogue Soylent Recipe

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp. Ready Reserve Whole Egg Solids
1 Cup Ready Reserve Regular Nonfat Dry Milk
3/4 Cup Ready Reserve Peanut Butter Powder
~1/3 Cup Whey from homemade yoghourt
1/2 Cup Oat Powder (ground in VitaMix from rolled oats)
1/4 Buckwheat Powder (ground in VitaMix from whole raw hulled buckwheat)
2 Tbsp Bulk Barn Spelt Flour
2 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
2 Tbsp Psyllium Husk
2 Tbsp Dry Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. Aunt Jemima Original table syrup
2 Tbsp Blackstrap Molasses
2 Tbsp Diamond V XPC dried yeast culture
1 tsp Kelp Meal
8 Ounces Ripe Banana, sliced with skin included
water q. s. total volume 8 cups

RFA Soylent Spreadsheet


#2

Thanks for the reveal! I was curious about what you had behind the curtain. I like the idea of a food-based soylent (as long as the cost is permissive).

It seems the spreadsheet requires an access request, btw.


#3

Preparation:

In a quart-size glass jar, combine the oats, buckwheat, spelt, cocoa powder and peanut butter powder and mix together thoroughly. Add the yoghourt whey and enough slightly warm water to wet the dry ingredients well; a quart jar will be perhaps two-thirds full. Set aside and let it all soak for at least 24 hours at room temperature.

When the premix has had its thorough soaking period, empty the jar into a saucepan. Mix in the dry egg solids add just enough water to ensure liquidity (bearing in mind you need to add more water to the dry milk powder and that the final result quantity shouldn’t go over 8 cups) and cook over very low heat, stirring quite frequently to avoid any sticking or burning; a very low gas flame is best. Bring it slowly just to a boil and simmer, stirring almost continuously, until the cereals and egg form a thick gruel. It wants to cook maybe ten or fifteen minutes.

Remove from the heat and let it cool a bit. While it’s cooling, put the dry milk powder into the VitaMix with a couple cups of water and blend; let it stand awhile for the reconstituted milk to blend. Add the coconut oil and the olive oil to the cooked gruel and stir them in well. Then add the other dry ingredients, the molasses and the syrup. Cut up the banana without peeling it and toss it into the VitaMix with the milk, and liquify the banana. Finally, add the dark brown gruel mixture to the milk/banana mix and process (with the lid on!) on high – be careful, blending the thick stuff in is a challenge even for the powerful VitaMix and if you aren’t careful it may engage its automatic protective cutout, in which case you’ll have a long wait on hands before you can finish the job.

The resulting soylent will be THICK, thicker than a milkshake, more like the Dairy Queen frozen-yoghourt Blizzard used to be before they quit selling it. You can consume it on the spot, or put it in the freezer! I do the latter and partially thaw it in the microwave as needed – but I don’t live on soylent. For me at the moment it’s still an adjunct to a regular healthy-foods diet, something I use when I’m too tired to prepare a meal, or I take in the truck when I’ve got a long afternoon of driving ahead of me. You’ll need a soup spoon to eat this stuff.

The flavour is indescribable. Neither the molasses nor the peanut butter nor the banana nor the cocoa predominate, in fact they are hard to identify as individual flavours. It’s intriguing and indefinite – qualities which I think will keep my soylent from becoming boring over the long haul. If I’m wrong, well, it’ll be dead simple to change the recipe enough to have a totally different taste – by adding some vanilla pudding mix and axing the blackstrap and cocoa, for instance.

Remember we are dealing with food ingredients here and this is a recipe not a formula, so it can be altered on a whim or for taste reasons. It’s permanently subject to change without notice! For the same reason, it doesn’t need to be perfectly balanced – if, as I do, you sometimes fancy a superfood, by all means toss in a couple tablespoons of hempseed, or chia, or moringa, or whatever your food fad of the moment might be! Dietary diversity is good not evil, we are evolved to eat a diverse diet and our ancestors’ food choices were far more diverse than our own are today.

I’m sure considerable discussion may ensue here, but there are the basics anyway. I should note that I chose those particular ingredients because I had all of them on hand already and wanted to use them rather than spending a lot of money to build a special soylent from scratch – I’m pretty well broke at the moment, so I had to use the resources I have on hand. If the result looks strange – well, so what? It’s my PERSONAL soylent and no one else’s.


#4

Just give me a minute or two, I have to change the permissions.


#5

Thanks for sharing. Interesting blend there. Certainly much more daily prep-work than the more “raw” based recipes, but I like the option. My recipe is a little bit hybrid in that I use a banana, brown sugar, vanilla, and peanut butter in my mix, but after that the rest of the stuff is pretty standard.

I am trying to track down raw oats so I can sprout and cook them in a batch to reduce the phytic acid and hopefully cut down on my tootiness in the process.


#6

Yep, BE, it’s a lot of work, although I suppose if I were doing it each day it would get routinised and efficient pretty quickly. The thing is, I don’t know of any less laborious way to cope with phytic acid – and the peanut butter, the cocoa, and the oats are all high in phytates. Most people don’t even know there’s a problem, of those who do, most just ignore it. But I’ve watched people here experimenting with their formulae and some are definitely having problems with the oat powder. I used to eat raw rolled oats in a muesli-type mix and can’t recall having any trouble with that; whether I can put that down to the preliminary processing that rolled oats get (kilning at least, and I can’t recall whether they have also been steam-treated, I should research that) I just don’t know. People’s sensitivity to these things do vary a lot.

I may experiment more with other grains. Rye would be good, but its taste is so much less attractive than oats. Spelt is highly digestible; I may have a look at using just spelt and buckwheat; do some macro and micro analysis, then make up a batch without the oats and see what that’s like; but I think I’d still want to cook the cereals. Knowing what I do now, I can’t undo that, and I think eating uncooked cereal grains is sort of asking for digestive trouble. Despite the urgings of the raw-food faction, I don’t think humans have the sort of extended digestive tract that copes well with high percentages of cellulose, tons of roughage and raw starches. Of course we sometimes go too far in the opposite direction and don’t get enough fibre. I think the middle way is best.


#7

A question I have about the problem of phytic acid is that is seems to only reduce absorption of certain nutrients by a small percentage. Can’t the intake of those particular nutrients simply be increased an appropriate amount if blood work reveals a deficiency? Everything I’ve read indicates the only people who encounter problems from it are those living on the borderline of malnutrition to start with. I wish there were more conclusive clinical studies on it.


#8

So do I, BE, so do I. But I’m not so sure it’s just a “little bit” that gets tied up. Phytates are a big-time binder of several crucial minerals – phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium for example. And some of those you wouldn’t want to just blindly increase the quantity to offset, guesswork would be out of order. If I have to do blood work in order to eat, that’s a real downer. I’ve watched the more serious CRON people doing blood work all the time, worrying about insulin spike, IGF and what-not. That’s no way to live. Not for me; not until and unless we get little wristwatch-type monitors for our blood biomarkers, which may indeed be coming in the very near future (already available for things like temp, blood pressure and pulse rate). Phytates also interfere with or inhibit the digestive enzymes amylase, pepsin and trypsin, messing up both starch and protein absorption.


#9

I’m planning on bloodwork at 30 days into my diet to verify that I’m getting what I need and think I’m getting. I also want to chart my cholesterol, etc to see how much diet impacts it compared to before.

I read one website that showed the amount of absorption that was retarded was at most 10%.

To be safe I’m planning on sprouting my oats and cooking them for now.


#10

Or for the extremely frugal with good blenders…http://www.miketuritzin.com/writing/eating-healthily-for-3-a-day/


#11

Just a quick update on RFA Soylent. Until today I was using it just as a convenience stopgap on days when I had to spend several hours on the highway picking up supplies. It has been totally satisfactory for that application. But I was feeling guilty for never having gone even one entire day on RFA Soylent alone.

Today, having built up a backlog of about ten meals’ worth in my freezer, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. So today it was nothing but soylent, apart from a pot of hot tea with milk and sugar. I found I have a huge mental resistance to doing this – I love my hot wholegrain cereal breakfasts and my wild greens too much to drop them easily even for a day.

Nevertheless, I did it, and by the third soylent meal, incredibly and unexpectedly, I found I was feeling a weird well-being absent from my usual daily routine. The mix I’ve evolved is satisfactorily filling, for one thing, so I had less hunger today than what I’ve come to regard as normal (I’m still doing CRON, albeit a very moderate version, 2200 kcal/day, which is either equilibrium-point for me or very slight weekly weight loss); but more than that, at the moment I feel better, more upbeat.

So perhaps I’ll attempt to continue with soylent tomorrow – if I don’t awake with an overpowering craving for some hot cereal (no promises). I must say I’m intrigued. No adverse physical reactions, and I expect none as my formula is food-based on ingredients that I know cause me no problems. The difference, if any, will lie entirely in the realm of nutritional balance and adequacy. And THAT – for my money – is what soylent is all about, apart from the convenience factor.

We’ll see. I will admit to enough curiosity to want to know how I’d feel about this after a week of nothing but soylent. My problem is I have very little motivation for doing that, as I enjoy my usual food very much and don’t object to preparing it. Still and all, I’m gradually coming to believe strongly in the RealFoods Analogue approach to the soylent concept, so perhaps it’s ding-ding, time to shit or get off the pot, time to prove the RFA approach personally at least – so as not to have to feel I should just quit talking about it. :wink2:

I’ll try to do the decent thing and keep you all posted – I’ve been frustrated by people who promise feedback from a “30-day soylent challenge” and then fail to deliver. (I’m looking at you, Marshall Jarreau!)


#12

Day two. Doing much better than I had expected: plenty of energy, no cravings that I can’t handle, upbeat mood. It’s 7:30 p.m. and I only just finished my second soylent feed of the day. I don’t know if I’ll have another one later or just a second pot of tea and perhaps a couple of Peek Frean Lifestyle bikkies; I’m a lot less hungry than I expected. This RealFoods Analogue Soylent really stays with you! I have experienced no rushes and/or crashes with it. The whole grain base with eggs and milk seems to tame the relatively small amount of sugars in the mix (from the table syrup and blackstrap molasses).

I’m liking the flavour if anything more not less though I still wouldn’t know how to describe it: it’s not molasses, nor peanut butter, nor cocoa. Although they are unquestionably there, perceptible, the flavour is a gestalt that seems to transcend its component ingredients.

I still intend to concoct a lighter-flavoured alternate version if this turns out to become a permanent large item in my diet – perhaps using tapioca, coconut and vanilla along with the eggs and milk, keeping the banana as well but removing the dark stuff (cocoa, peanut butter and molasses). That would make it totally different in flavour, but probably just as rich and sustaining. I must work on that idea.

Meanwhile I must cook up another batch, as I have only enough for tomorrow left in the freezer. I set ingredients to soak a day and a half ago so it’s time to cook them up this evening.

Thus far: success beyond my expectations. I’m sticking with this for awhile, though I may slip a bowl of hot cereal in one morning soon. I’m quite surprised how completely satisfied my body feels with this soylent; very little hunger and few cravings.


#13

Day three. So far, this is a breeze; I can’t quite believe it, as I thought it would be much harder to adjust. Physically it’s less strain than usual for me, even though I seem to be consuming fewer calories. I’ve become accustomed to more hunger and light-headedness than this under my usual CRON regime (which admittedly I do not take much care to balance and suspect I’m not getting enough fats). Thus far today I’ve had two Soylents at 621.5 kcal each, plus a pot of tea with milk and sugar (207 cal). I’ll probably have one more Soylent and that’s it.

Made another batch up and froze it down last night, and must do that again tonite or tomorrow as I have to be on the road all day Friday and sure don’t want to run out. I’ll freeze two meals in insulated plastic mugs for good keeping on the road.

I dunno – maybe I’ll crash hard at some point, but up till now it has been just too easy! Obviously I have a pretty good formula at least for my own personal needs, bearing in mind that I’m a 68-year-old guy who now weighs ~145 pounds after coming down from something like ~215 last November when I became disgusted with myself and started Calorie Restriction by the seat of my pants (I didn’t discover it as a formal discipline until just after New Year’s day).

At this point I can say in all honesty that RealFoods Analogue Soylent works far better than I ever had any clue or hope it would. “Something tells me I’m into something good!” :smiley:


#14

Day four. I decided to pull a tub of precooked hot cereal out of the freezer for breakfast and enjoyed it with a pot of tea, but it wasn’t really like any grand homecoming, and afterward I could feel that it was demanding a bit more work from the digestive system than my soylent.

Had a long hard day’s work, my usual chores plus getting things ready for tomorrow’s day-long trip to Brandon. By 6:15 I was in mild distress and SO glad I didn’t have to cook any supper. I just wanted my SOYLENT! And what a soylent it was… last night I made up another batch and on impulse, since I’m using 650 g yoghourt tubs but only putting 500 ml of soylent in each one, I quickly stirred up a saucepan of instant chocolate pudding and used it to add 125 ml to each tub; I just poured it in along with the soylent and gave a halfhearted stir (for a kind of fudge-ripple effect). So curious, that’s what I had just now, and BOYOBOY, what that did to my soylent! The combination was scandalously delicious; I shall be greatly tempted to do that routinely – it helps the texture and hugely boosts the taste, whilst adding a mere 72.5 calories per meal, for a total of 694.

I’ve worked out an alternate recipe for a white soylent as a change from the brown original; it’s on my Google spreadsheet as Sheet 2. A few more calories, mostly higher fat. I scrubbed the peanut butter powder, cocoa, and blackstrap, replacing them with ground blanched almonds, dried coconut, a bit of brown sugar and artificial vanilla extract, adding another 2 Tbsp of egg powder as well. It should be great; The combo of almond and coconut adds some extra fat, but I’m okay with that. I don’t know if I’ll get time to make it up tonight, I probably will try. Looking forward to soylent-on-the-road, no more hunger on that 6-hour drive!


#15

Late evening update. I got busy and made up a batch of the new recipe. Discovered I had one packet of Shirriff’s coconut pudding on the shelf, so cooked it up (it wasn’t instant) and mixed it with the finished soylent, dividing the stuff into five portions, 740 cal each with the pudding included. I’ll try it on the drive tomorrow.

I hope to pick up some ground almonds, coconut flour, bulk psyllium husk and suchlike at Bulk Barn in Brandon; also some coconut oil either there or at the Tim Tom Asian food store where it’s probably cheaper. (Great little ethnic food supply store! Only discovered them a couple months ago on last trip to Brandon.)

Had a second Soylent late; I’m going to bed happy.


#16

Thx for all the reports. Nice to read. Im on holiday’s now for a couple of weeks. Atm in germany, munich. The food is just great around here, and we have all the time to buy it and digest it. Muhahaha!
But when back ill dive into your recipes.


#17

Day five. A hard day on the road in my 3/4T 4WD pickup on Manitoba’s frost-heaved, pitted and potholed secondary highways for 350 km in blazing heat that had the engine running hot. Usually these supply runs have been exercises in starvation. Today I hit the road with a mug of cafe con leche to wake up, plus two rations of Soylent slowly thawing in the crewcab, one in a yoghourt tub, the other in an insulated mug with a jacket wrapped around it. I stopped at the one decent public rest area halfway to Brandon and had the first Soylent mid-morning – one with chocolate pudding stirred in, which tasted like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! Magnificent. That set me up for supplies pickup and shopping in Brandon all afternoon – no hunger.

The day, which had started cloudy, just got hotter and hotter as the cloud cover disappeared. I got out of the city at 4 p.m. just ahead of the rush traffic and drove at high speed to Oak River to get there in time to pick up slaughterhouse scrap for my dogs before the freezer plant closed at 5. Just made it! As soon as I had that done I stopped at the Oak River campground, parked, and had the second Soylent, last night’s experimental version with the ground almonds and coconut. I was afraid it would be HOT after so long in the truck, but the insulated mug (even without a lid) and jacket kept it still pleasantly cool though it had completely defrosted. It was GREAT.

Back home at last, I made an abortive effort at a dandelion-green salad, as I’m concerned about getting no green leafy stuff. But the raw dandelion greens are getting long in the tooth and pretty bitter, and dressed with just lemon juice it was a bit much; I didn’t finish it. I’m thinking hard about this issue. For me it’s a major drawback of the soylent approach. I guess I could take chlorella tabs, or spirulina, or wheat-grass extract, any one of which should cover adequately. Meanwhile as I have lots of hard red wheat on hand, perhaps I’ll sprout some of it, let it mature to the grass stage, and liquify it at high speed in the VitaMix, and just see to what extent it will mix agreeably into my soylent. Yes… I’ll do that.

So I just had a final pot of tea and let it go at that for tonight. I’m not all that hungry, surprisingly, despite the very stressful day on the road.

The trouble is, I’m NOT looking to become a full-time soylent consumer. I’ve already said I like my food too well to consider doing that. However – the convenience of having soylent in the freezer, and the comfortable satiety it seems to induce (rather superior to my current diet for equivalent calorie content) argue the soylent case powerfully. And I dunno – it seems almost sort of addictive. Since this is the RealFoods kind of soylent I’m perfectly sure it’s as innocuous as it well could be, which I honestly cannot say for the chemical versions, which will need to be proven over time. (A risky proposition which at age 68 I’ve decided I’m not eager to undertake personally; I’m content to leave that to those who are younger and more rash than I.)

I do want to obtain one or two weeks’ worth of Rob’s brew, though, once it becomes generally available, whenever I can afford it; I would just like to see how it compares with RealFoods Analogue Soylent on three points: (1) palatability, (2) adverse body/digestive reactions, if any, and (3) favourable effects on mood, energy and metabolism, if any. That should give me a better perspective on the whole meal-replacement issue; then I can buy a week’s worth of Ensure Plus to round out the picture. (I may yet become an authority on this subject!) :wink2:


#18

I am interested in trying this but I am sure finding the equivalent ingredients in Malta will be tough…I’ll print Jeff’s list (from the first post) and go “hunt” for them…


#19

Chris, there’s no need to try to duplicate my ingredients-- it’s the approach that matters here. I just took stuff I already had on hand (well, admittedly, it’s a well stocked larder) and combined them. No need to be overly meticulous about balancing or about not getting too much of this or that, because you’re dealing with foods not chemicals and the body just isn’t bothered by the kind of mineral imbalances in your food intake that would send it into spasms if they happened with a chemical soylent.

The principles for success here are pretty simple: eggs and milk combine to give you a strong calcium, sulphur and protein base; peanut butter provides another protein kick, or alternatively ground almonds, and both also contribute to the fat content. Simple food sugars (not in huge quantities like maltodextrin-based soylents) such as table syrup, molasses, brown sugar, sweeten the mix and increase palatability. Whole grains ground to flour, soaked (preferably with some whey from active yoghourt, or just use a good lively yoghourt culture if you have one going) and cooked, give you digestible carbs and a nice mouth feel (assuming you like pudding); the cooked eggs and cereals also hold your oils in perfect suspension, no separation and no need for emulsifiers. Brewers yeast or nutritional yeast is a good addition; in fact almost any of the more common “superfoods” will blend in nicely. Kelp meal will give you an easy iodine source if you can locate it, also several other minor minerals. Always chuck in a banana! Flavour, potassium, texture. You can throw in some other fruits like blueberries or strawberries as available. Do you get the picture? It’s more a way of thinking than it is a recipe.

And hey – give my regards to the yachties on Sliema Creek, Manoel Island and Ta’Xbiex! Is “Brit Bill’s” Britannia Bar still in existence? :wink2:


Building a better tasting soylent: almond flour based recipe
#20

…not to derail the topic too much, but I enjoyed reading about your day quite a bit. The idea of trudging out for supply runs that are “exercises in starvation” put an awesome image of some post-apocalyptic, low-key survival scene in my head. Awesome writing.