In which I preview my perception of things to come.
I’ll be the first to admit that this whole project is quite abnormal.
I’m sure that the idea of replacing a “traditional food” diet with a mysterious nutrient-replacement powder disgusts many, if not all, of you. Conversations with friends and family reveal a polarized split between support and criticism.
My surgeon father said it “looks gross” and bet $100 that I don’t last two weeks (easy money, thanks PoppaDoc). My art-school sister was curious about the color and consistency of Soylent-only poops (don’t worry Katie, I’ll keep you updated!). My cross-fit addicted committed roommate (and former rugby teammate) matched my order for a month’s supply faster than I could say “burpee.” The only lukewarm reply came as three simple words via email from exhibitionist viral-youtuber Casey Neistat: “good luck alex.”
To be honest, I’ve built up a lot of internal anticipation regarding this project.
I placed my order for Soylent over 12 months ago. In that time, I’ve talked it up to friends, family, and anyone else who will put up with my quasi-radical rants.
During these conversations, I feel like my motives are generally misunderstood. Most simply, this project is an entertaining combination of a few areas of personal interest. Technology, food, writing, sharing, testing myself… all wrapped up in a web platform that I designed from scratch.
On the pure utilitarian level, food consumes a healthy portion of my two most valuable resources: time & money.
Between grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, chewing, driving, dining out, getting drinks, deciding, waiting, and digesting, food has a high monetary cost and, arguably an even higher opportunity cost. And the more fine fare I enjoy, the more often I desire it.
However, a good meal provides me with more pleasure than almost anything else per dollar and minute spent.
My expectations are influenced by the “reviews” I’ve read by early testers and the experiences of creator Rob Rhinehart, who’s been quoted eating 90% Soylent meals for the past 18 months. I expect to lose weight — or maybe just trim down a few body fat percentage points — due to caloric restriction. I expect my hunger to be unfulfilled at the tail-end of meal blocks. I expect to be envious of friends going out for drinks and dinner. I expect craving munchies in the cupboard and long looks at beer in the fridge in the evenings.
I also expect to enjoy the free time gained by not planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, eating, cleaning, and thinking about food. Perhaps a change of habit on the same level as a Tesla owner eluding gas stations. I expect to be awkward at social engagements that revolve around food and drink. I expect to seek out other social opportunities that don’t revolve around food. I expect to have more than one awkward conversation explaining the project. I expect to practice letting go.
Most of all, I expect to learn more about myself and enjoy the process of doing so.