See here, for the latest update
Background: I’m a 22 Web Developer. Prior to Soylent I probably ate semi-healthy, but got most of my nutrition from a multivitamin which provided good results. I’ve been dealing with recent bouts in fatigue caused by I-don’t-know-what.
The juicy stuff: I just finished day one on official Soylent. It was a little gritty until I figured out how to shake it right. I read elsewhere on the forums that official Soylent is not quite 100% on sodium, so I added two teaspoons of iodized salt. I felt pretty good through the morning, though a little anxious about not talking my vitamins, as I often have difficulty focusing without them. Around 1 or 2 I started dragging, similar to how I feel when I go without my vitamins. I started craving normal food after a while, specifically meat for whatever reason. Unfortunately, it did not get better throughout the day. I’ve had these days off and on before, so I don’t know yet if its because of Soylent or its just timing. I’m going to keep going tomorrow and see if I improve after some good sleep. I also experienced strong thirst that didn’t seem to go away when drinking water.
Hitting alot of the same mental issues as last time. Trouble focusing, mental scatteredness. I think it even hit me earlier in the day… On the other other hand, it tastes alot better with the salt amount down to 1 tsp.
Afternoon: I’ve noticed that my problems seem to occur a certain period after I eat, and seem to go away once I take more Soylent. So I started consciously eating more, since my body is getting really confused about hunger. This seems to have helped, though I did have a bout of diarrhea and find myself burping frequently.
Evening/Night: so either my plan worked or I just needed an adjustment period. I feel much better, though still not up to 100% yet. I may have drank too quickly as the gas has been far more prevalent today. The excessive thirst from yesterday is gone and I’m back to my normal water habits. Mood also returned to normal, though I’m still tired.
[update] forgot to mention that cravings also subsided to barely noticeable levels.
Pyschologically looked forward to my soylent this morning. Felt good up until 11. Had a temporary mental disruption. It almost felt like a headache without the pain; felt pressure in my left temple and forehead. May be related to an up and coming wisdom tooth, located just below said temple. Had another bout of diarrhea, but less sever than yesterday. Feeling similar to yesterday morning.
Afternoon Evening: Not particularly good. Felt kind of sick once I got home plus deal with same personal chaos. So I forgot to post and can’t remember what happened other than I cheated and had some rice with salsa, because it sounded delicious.
Morning: delicious sleep. Though more chaos occured. Started my day off with soup, because I felt sick. Other than that, felt pretty good. Was feeling nauseous before, but was able to sip down Soylent without problem. Didn’t seem to deal with any mental issues, but being a saturday, my mental strength wasn’t exactly taxed.
Afternoon: Continued to feel good, other than frustration at Code Combat’s “optimizations” making some of my code effectively NOOPs. Hit a rapid decline at about 4:30, after which I realized I forgot to eat the rest of my lunch. Consuming lunch and some extra water resulted in a slow recovery. Not quite 100% as of 5:00, but significantly improved from 4:30. Added in a handful of cookies and a bowl of Matza ball soup, because party food. Poop quality has significantly improved. Not ideal just yet, but also not diarrhetic anymore.
Evening: Recovered most of the way from previous decline. Forgot to log experiences.
Morning: Spent the night away from home and forgot to bring some Soylent. Partook of some Soy-base chorizo quiche-esque thing. Poop quality significantly improved. Started to drag slightly, but not too bad. The food settled strangely in my stomach, and I began finding all other foods less desirable than Soylent.
Afternoon: Reached the haven of my Soylent storage and partook. The smell of vanilla was particularly strong. Felt better after the Soylent made its way through me.
Evening: nothing exciting to report. Felt good. Ate my Soylent. Hoping my days continue like this.
Morning: Finally up to 100%. All known cravings are gone now (I kept wanting to eat the miniature Reese’s I walk by every time I fill up my cup ). Poop activities returned to a stable state.
Afternoon: Same as morning until 2:30. Slight mental degradation, possibly related to wisdom tooth coming in. Still decent overall. Poop quality slightly decreased. My appetite increased significantly, causing me to eat my lunch a couple hours early, and my dinner a couple hours after that.
Evening: Felt good overall, but ended up getting hungry again later that night. Consumed a plate of rice and beans. I’m guessing that adding a solid meal intermittently will help smooth out some of my transition issues.
Morning: Either my experiment worked or I’m getting used to the Soylent. Had a pleasant poop this morning, though I think the rice and beans managed to race past my soylent, strangely enough… Focus is good today. Productivity is up.
Began experimenting with non-Soylent foods for digestive aid. Couscous seemed to cause the most dramatic improvement in both my digestive process and mental energy. Gas was radically reduced overall and I finally began feeling the burst of energy and clarity of mind reported by other members of the forum.
I added 1g of soluble via psyllium husk to my dinner on day 13. Went up to add 2g of soluble fiber to full mix on day 14.
Random side note: my fiance and I finally tapped into our second month’s worth of supplies.
So, on the note of adding soluble fiber… 1g seems to be more than sufficient to rectify the majority of my issues. I’d like to experiment with a bit less, but my spoons only let me measure 1g worth of psyllium husk at the moment.
I feel mentally energized and motivated to do things, though physical energy still lags at times.
I can finally smell things. Haven’t been able to smell much for quite some time. Unfortunately this was realized when I noticed the eggy smell of my farts.
Craving wise: For the most part, non-existent. Though I do crave fatty foods such as cheese and fish. Will probably experiment on what resolves those cravings.
I’ve officially been on almost exclusively Soylent for a month today. That’s exciting.
So, for a number of reasons, but oil experiment got interrupted a few times. But I have a answer. The addition of two-thirds to one tablespoon of grapeseed oil has pretty much quashed my cravings for cheese and fatty foods. In addition, it makes my Soylent more satisfying and enjoyable. The one day I added an extra half a bottle of oil was the the most motivated, driven, and focused day I’ve had in quite some time. Unfortunately, sleep problems prevented me from seeing if the same benefits occur with just grapeseed oil. The only weird side effect from the extra oil was a distinct increase in the heat my body produced. Though that might be from this sick-type thing I seem to be going through.
But… I highly recommend being careful: overdoing the oil (as a result of not having spoons at the moment) results in a nearly undrinkable beast. I had to soak up the surface oil with bread in order to finish it.
Weird symptoms I haven’t tracked down the source of yet are nausea and trouble sleeping. Not sure if its Soylent or just me getting sick. I’ve unfortunately trained my body to slog through illness instead of properly addressing the issue. >.>
And new cravings cropped up. This time, the common thread between all the cravings was Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Since I think my experience matches up with Vitamin A deficiency symptoms more than the Vitamin C and I want to limit my experiments to one variable at a time, I’ll be tackling the Vitamin A first.
Onward, for science!
Sorry for the late update. The vitamin a experiment worked on the first try. added 25% (via 1/8 of a supplement pill) and the cravings have pretty much disappeared. Excepting the case when I leave my Soylent behind, I pretty much of no interest in non-Soylent foods at this point.
So, since I’m no longer craving anything, I might simply be done with experimentation and just carry on as is. So far, when I’m properly rested, I have greater energy, drive, and clarity of mind. I also can handle lack of sleep better, though it does still impact my performance. Additionally, it takes significantly less time to recover from an all-nighter.
update: I forgot to say, I think my body is finally adjusting gas-wise. My gas is severely diminished and limited to only a handful of times at the end of the day.
Turns out I was wrong. I apparently need more vitamin c (explains why I always loved salsa…). My gums were just straight up bleeding one morning, and rather consistently bled whenever I brushed my teeth. I don’t imagine that’s a good thing.
Kind of freaked me out when I realized I had some symptoms matching the early onset of Scurvy.
Early symptoms are malaise and lethargy. After 1–3 months, patients develop shortness of breath
Not exactly sure what malaise is, but I was definitely feeling lethargy and occasional shortness of breath. And looking back on it again, I see emotional changes as one of the symptoms. Which explains why I felt weird the past few days…
Also, today I randomly felt like adding vinegar to my Soylent, due to memories of the deliciousness of vinegar and oil together. I have no idea if I’ll horribly regret this or find it awesome.
Hopefully I can start my Vitamin C experiment next, but I recently lost my wallet. So it will have to wait until I can get a new card or find my wallet.
Thanks to @axcho, I determined that the vinegar cravings were possibly from the increased oil intake and my body’s inability to properly break it down. This seems to be confirmed by the vinegar craving disappearing when I dropped the additional oil from my Soylent.
I didn’t find my wallet, and laziness meant it took me until yesterday to actually call in for my new card. Fortunately, I rustled up some cash bills to buy the vitamin c yesterday. Unfortunately, its not pure vitamin C, so there are unfortunately some added variables involved (rose hips, flavoring, and other unwanted crap).
I’m adding 75g of vitamin C (125%) on top of the amount included in Soylent. It does affect the taste, but is diluted enough to be forgotten/ignored. The scurvy-like symptoms seem to be gone, or at least my gums don’t insta-bleed at this point. I’ll know more on the next week.
Midway through the week I started experiencing nausea and rather strong disinclination to consume my Soylent. I tried dropping the added oil and salt (not precisely sure why, but gut instinct and a dis-desire for oily foods and the vinegar cravings I was experiencing alongside it made me suspect the oil), This surprisingly made an quick difference in nausea and dis-desire, though I still found myself preferring non-Soylent throughout the day. I found this odd given that I usually pick Soylent as preferable over other foods. This seem to be fixed after taking a day off from Soylent (conveniently compensated with food from a friend’s going away party that day) and adding a tiny bit non-Soylent the next couple days.
I also dropped the psyllium husk while I was at it, as I noticed I was experiencing mild constipation and thought I might as well zero out that as well. Counter to my expectations (and last attempt) this did not quickly become a regretful trip to the bathroom and my stools have been ideal for the past three or four days. I’ll be continuing to leave out the psyllium husk for as long as it turns out like this. This encourages me to think that that the bowel issues are, in fact, only temporary.
So, this was an unexpectedly eventful week. I should be able to provide more precise feedback on the results of my vitamin C experiment.
##Midweek update: Day 51
So, I figured out the source of my nausea. And I feel like an idiot for not figuring it out sooner.
I’m lactose intolerant, but conveniently “forget” from time to time, because cheese and ranch are tasty. Normally this just results in gas/diarrhea. And a couple weeks ago, my cheat moments didn’t seem to have any effect. Well, it seems that now, with the adjustment in gut flora, the addition of cheese results in nausea and loss of appetite. Every instance of the recent bout of nausea can be directly correlated with the ingestion of dairy.
So, no worries about Soylent causing nausea; at least for me.
Woo! 2 months on Soylent now! Is exciting.
So, on the Vitamin C. Since increasing the vitamin C, I’m experiencing lethargy less, haven’t experienced any weird emotional states, and except for this morning my gums no longer bleed when I brush my teeth. So no more scurvy for me.
I’ve also relearned that the body is lazy and doesn’t like burning too much fat at once. Had a number of moments where I felt sick when I tried adding extra oil (official Soylent blend this time. :D). So I’m going to try reintroducing it more slowly from now on and see where it takes me.
Also, not adding salt is a bad idea. I had a headache yesterday and keep craving Takis… Why is that all the salty food I crave is also high in saturated fat? Oh well, hoping that remembering to add the salt I need will get rid of the cravings.
Other than that, all is well. Once the oil and salt situation get re-stabilized, I’ll see if I make any more modifications from there.
##Week 9 (and change)
First of all, sorry for the late update. There’s a lot of stuff I wanted to put into this, and wanted to make sure I linked to relevant information (even if I forgot half of the links I meant to add).
Two things: 1, salt is back to normal. Esque. 2, Apparently my body was actually craving the saturated fat. Takis, ramen, and their kin still sound delicious (except oriental flavor top ramen. That was not enjoyable).
So, as you might have noticed from my subtitle, I think following my cravings led me inadvertently to a ketogenic diet (or a low-carbohydrate diet according to wikipedia). A number of my previous weirdnesses might have been related to the introduction of supplementary fat.
I had previously suspected that Soylent’s oil blend improved my mental performance based on some non-scientific experiences when I added it. These were not benefits I noticed when on grapeseed oil. I got my hands on some extra Soylent oil thanks to @vanclute and went to sciencing.
The mental benefits are real. In general, I’m more focused, have greater drive to follow through with activities, and improved self control. Though the benefits are diminished in varying amounts when the fatigue of processing the fat kicks in. Seems to be improving as I’m adjusting. First day of each period has the greatest benefits, turning subpar on the second day, just under normal on the third day. Yesterday, I as a little bit above my mental functionality, but its also far more stable. Today I was feeling unfocused, but its probably the result of having stayed up rather late yesterday (picking up fiance from work) on top of staying up late a few other in the preceding days for legitimate and illegitimate reasons. Hoping that rest will restore the benefits.
So much thirst. So much pee. I had previously been concerned with the the seemingly excessive level of thirst when I had been supplementing with grapeseed oil for a consistent period of time. I had previously attributed it to increased sweat from the California heat, but I’m experiencing the same symptoms without the same sweating as a cause. Turns out that both the frequent urination and excessive thirst are common symptoms of ketogenic diets. I’ve increased my salt intake by an additional 1/2 tsp on top of my existing 1tsp supplementation. The increase in salt seems to help with the thirst, though I’m still peeing like a racehorse every day. The last three days I’ve actually had to wake up to go pee, and still wake up thirsty on half the days.
Fatigue. Ironically, while my mental energy has been pretty awesome lately, my physical energy has been terrible and I get ridiculously sleepy at the end of the day (which does help with making sure I go to bed on time, so downside with benefits?). According to the previously linked post, fatigue is kind of an issue too. One of the threads I found explained it as being the result of it being harder to burn fats than carbs.
The weird thing is, I read around the interwebs that saturated fats are actually recommended for ketogenic diets. And saturated fats are in half the things I’ve been craving recently, despite the fact that I never had these cravings before, or at least no this strong. The logic supposedly is that saturated fats burn like other fats, promoting the adaptation process, but are still closer to carbs in the difficulty level of breaking it down. Don’t quote me, though, because I’m mostly just trying figure things out here. I’m going to buy some coconut oil soon and try doing a mixture of the Soylent blend and the coconut oil to see if helps with the fatigue and cravings issues.
- My dreams are become more vivid and memorable in the mornings, since starting the oil.
- Even prior to the oil inclusion, I had been noticing an improved ability to wake up in the morning. This has reached its pinnacle in that, before the last two days, I has actually managed to wake up consistently at 6:40 for nearly a week.
- Past two-ish days my neck has felt kind of stiff, and its now starting to worry me.
Aside from the saturated fats (ala Takis, Turbos, Ramen, ranch), the cravings I’ve been noting lately are tomatoes (again?) and these sweet potato fries from Johnny Rockets which were surprisingly delicious. Last time I had them, I didn’t particularly like them. Went out on a date night and went “yep! I want that!”. Haven’t quite determined the reason for these cravings, but I’m guessing some changes resulted in an increased need for vitamin A or I finally ran out of Vitamin E. I upped my supplemental Vitamin A intake to 50% of the DV (on top of Soylent) to see if that helps. Day two of that and I still want a tomato. Will probably go back to 25% supplemental if the tomato craving doesn’t go away. The other weird craving which just started about half way through today is for sugary foods. Not candy, but pie or ice cream. I’m usually not much of a sweets go, so this was a bit confusing.
Bread is currently my anti-craving. I find myself avoiding bread when I eat non-Soylent and actually removed a slice of bread from a sandwich I was eating which significantly improved my enjoyment of that sandwich (mostly from the tomato). This is really bizarre because I’ve always been a bread guy, because its delicious.
Its almost like my body is trying to put me on a ketogenic diet. Apart from the aforementioned sugar craving. I’m going along with my body’s recommendations for the moment but might override the decision if I can’t get these issues stabilized soon, or at least assurance that they will stabilize on their own.
I had found other cool things to link to, but in my current sleep deprived state I can’t remember them anymore… If I remember, I’ll edit this post with the proper links.
Finally, is anyone on an intentional ketogenic diet that could give me some pointers on anything I missed or misunderstood above? I hadn’t planned on it going this way, it kind of just happened, and consequently I’m rather confused on what should be considered an adaptation risk Any advice is greatly appreciated…
In the double digits now. I’m also getting worse at setting aside time on Tuesdays to write this.
So, I didn’t get around to test for Ketones, but all my fatigue and other negative symptoms of my increased oil seemed to break around Friday evening and have stayed away since.
The good stuff however (mental focus and drive) has stayed, though as always, less prevalent when I don’t sleep properly. I’ve managed to get a lot of things done that have been put off for a while now. I think part of it might be a feedback effect from feeling empowered, thus doing. I’m definitely keeping the increased oil intake as an indefinite part of my Soylent experience.
The achey neck went away. Thirst and urination have decreased slightly, but still higher than pre-oil. I confirmed that the salt wasn’t the problem for the thirst and frequent urination given that my thirst increased when I lowered the salt, but urination stayed constant.
Also, I screwed up slightly over the weekend by adding some non-Soylent food, which prevented me from finishing my daily portion. This combined with eating the remaining bit along with some more non-Soylent food, and then leaving behind all my additives (oil, salt, vitamin c, vitamin a) on Monday made monday a terrible day.
New problems: My new found energy is making it even harder to get to sleep at night than it was before. The resulting tiredness is restricting my ability to take advantage of the benefits of the increased oil. But at the same time, I’m far more functional with the sleep deprivation than I think I have a right to be.
My cravings for saturated fat disappeared approximately the same time as my body finished adjusting to burning fat. So I’m guessing that was just desired as a crutch, rather than as a long term need. I might have to look into isolating some experiments away from the Soylent, to see whether my desire for the supplementation fades away after a period of time.
For the most part, I’m back to craving Soylent over other foods (which is awesome), and I look forward to it each time I have some, like I did originally. The only craving I’ve noticed since adjusting is a continued desire for tomatoes (and they are delicious when I indulge), eggs (only indulged once, moderately enjoyable), and lunch meat or fish. The lunch meat/fish desire only started a day or two ago. What’s strange about the lunch meat, is it is specifically lunch meat. Hamburgers and less processed meats don’t particularly sound interesting, but lunch meat sounds delicious. No idea, yet, what’s behind that last one. I’ll be looking into what’s the difference in nutrients between lunch meat and its source material, as well as what I might still want from the tomatoes.
I also intend to try adding a moderately intense workout at the end of my day to see if it helps clear the residual energy so I can sleep.
And I almost forgot! I finally started to lose weight! Or fat at least. I went down a belt notch, and it already is starting to feel a little looser.
In aesthetic news, I decided to rebrand my log as something less generic.
In regards to the sleep issues, getting to bed after midnight three nights in a row (volunteering at Harvest Crusade), made it so I had no ability to test the effect of working out on getting to bed. I usually crashed as soon as possible. But! Amazingly enough, I’ve recovered incredibly well from a single good night’s sleep last night. Normally an adventure that extensive would mess me up for at least three or four days.
The higher energy levels and focus ability are continuing to hold at their current levels (not counting the effects of sleep deprivation). I’ve also noticed that, now that my responses to the Soylent have stabilized, my hunger is increasing again, similar to when I was younger. I’m trying to wade out the next few days and see if it continues, as I’d prefer not to have to increase my costs by consuming more Soylent on a monthly basis.
Most cravings have gone away, including the meat cravings. This might be the result of having had in-n-out a few days ago though, so I’ll see if they return later in the week.
I’m having a little trouble getting accurate results from my cravings these days, as they’re not as strong as before, and I’ve hit a few false positives when testing with whole food. The only one that seems to have been persistent is the desire for In-N-Out, but specifically the animal style additions. Based on an analysis of thousand island dressing (a major component of animal style), I’m thinking I should test an increase of vitamin K in my diet., since other than thiamin, its the most significant nutrient in the dressing. Further support for pursuing vitamin K is that its been on my list before, as something to increase.
Hopefully the Vitamin K change will quell most of my cravings, and possible decrease the hunger (my hunger levels often decrease upon satisfying the craved nutrient).
Sorry that this update was a bit short, but I’ve been running around too much to spend time tweaking things. I’ll have a less chaotic schedule this week.
##12 Weeks / 3 Months
Its been three months since I started Soylent. Kind of an exciting milestone.
I definitely feel better with more sleep (which should be encouragement to go to sleep now). I ended getting side tracked from Vitamin K and tackled thiamin and manganese instead. Normally I’d prefer to only do one at a time, but those two hit me a bit harder recently, so I decided to get them out of the way. Also bought some coconut MCT oil.
The meat cravings did come back, until my most recent changes.
I’m adding about 104% DV of thiamin (starting point was 6667%, sheesh…). About 156% DV of Manganese (starting at 2500%, which according to someone on the internet is in the unsafe zone as is…). Adding half a teaspoon of MCT oil.
The thiamin, manganese, and MCT oik seem to be have quelched most of my cravings, but I still occasionally crave animal style things from in-n-out and onions, so I’ll probably still go after the vitamin K, when I get the chance. However, the MCT oil did satisfy my cravings for saturated fat.
I also bought some ketone testing strips, so tomorrow I’ll skip the vitamin C, per @mentalnomad’s suggestion and see what the tests come up with.
Recent changes: My appetite has gone up significantly. Seemed to go lower today, but was very high for most of the preceding week.
Sorry for the lack of cohesion in this post, I’m up later than I should be and not fully functional. Next week should be better.
Lucky 13! How cool. Also, it bugs me that I never seem to actually post on tuesdays. So its usually Week N + 1 day
Anyways, in regards to the ketone strips, I never quite managed to test under the conditions mentalnomad prescribed. However, none of the times I tested showed any effect on the strips, so I think its safe to call this myth…
In other news, finally bought my vitamin K today. So I’ll start that tomorrow.
I stated earlier that I lost my taste for carbs. And this is still mostly true, but I found an exception… toasted bagels. Specifically toasted everything bagels; I’m not sure if it applies to other bagels, but toast in general sounds good. I have no idea why toasted bread would be desirable, yet untoasted remains undesirable for the most part.
Other than the toast, I have no particular cravings for anything. When I do eat non-soylent, I usually pick chicken, egg, or something with marinara.
In other news, since my updates are getting lighter, and my experiments seem to be lasting 2 weeks, rather than 1, after week 14, I’ll be switching to updating every 2 weeks.
Failures on my part meant that I didn’t get as reliable of data on the Vitamin K, but so far, on the days I add my Vitamin K (63% DV extra) I don’t have the same cravings for Animal Style In-N-Out. Midway through the week I noticed that I would periodically want meat (a craving that previously only showed up when I was short on Soylent or having absorption issues) or protein bars. The sheer amount of variations and unnecessary flavorings on protein made me hesitate to add a protein mix to my Soylent, so my cravings decided on Beef Jerky. So that will be my protein supplement for the next week or so.
In other news, I’m considering DIY for the future. My tweaks are going much farther than I expected, and currently my additions consist of 4 different pills which have to be opened and split into sane amounts (50% Vitamin A, 63% Vitamin K, 156.25% Manganese, 104% thiamin), two additional oils (1 tablespoon official Soylent Oil blend, 1/2 tsp Coconut MCT oil), liquid vitamin C (125%), salt (1.5 tsp non-iodized salt), generic Beano (1 tablespoon), and now beef Jerky (amount varies, because I’m too lazy to get a powder). I’m in some weird hybrid official/DIY state at this point, and its getting annoying. So I might as well go all the way, and be able to change some other things that I can’t with official (e.g., removing Sucralose/vanillin, switching the maltodextrin out for a slower carb, etc.).
So on the one hand, there’s greater optimization opportunities and room to experiment. On the other hand, there’s effort… And I’m lazy. I’ll probably be thinking it over for the next month or two.
So, the second bag of jerky ended up lasting me for 3-4 days, due to unexpectedly low cravings.
None of the cravings linked to Vitamin K have resurfaced since the introduction of Vitamin K. So that experiment seems to be successful.
The salt taste in my Soylent was exceptionally strong lately, so I tried dropping it down. 1/2 tsp was still too little, but 3/4 tsp seems to be satisfactory. In conjunction with this, I’ve noticed my thirst has been less extreme than before, so I think my body is learning to properly adjust to the increased oil intake. Going to keep watching this to see what happens.
For the most part, non-Soylent has not appealed to me up until yesterday. No coherent patterns in the cravings emerged. Had a mixture of scrambled egg whites with south western salsa with lunch, which satisfied most of the cravings I was experiencing at the time, except the lack of yoke was disappointing. For dinner, I visited the grocery store to satisfy remaining cravings. The cravings were varied, and at times seemed to provide contradicting results, such as chicken parmesan not appealing but fried chicken (which normally does not appeal) did. The strongest craving I noticed was for artichoke, though uncertainty in preparation kept me from purchasing them Despite walking around the store for 5 minutes, I ended up getting Chinese food, which I’m not typically into… Orange Chicken sated the cravings after a few bites.