A sad day in our Soylent journey.

We recently hit the indefinite pause button on our Soylent subscription.  I hope this isn’t permanent, but that’s where we are at the moment.

To be clear, we still consume Soylent every single day and it is our staple go-to food source.  We tend to have roughly 1 conventional “meal” per day just because we find ourselves in the mood for something different.  We have become absolutely accustomed to the ease and convenience of Soylent, not to mention how much better we feel overall since adding it to our lives.  But the risk of being such an early adopter is that the product in question is still very much in flux, and this is probably more true with Soylent than any other foodstuffs.

When version 1.3 came along, we were thrilled.  For us it had finally nailed everything down from taste to texture to gas (or lack thereof).  It was, and continues to be, the perfect Soylent for us.  But then 1.4 came along.  On paper we were very excited about it and were huge fans of the idea.  It was the largest single update yet, changing a massive number of things.  In particular was the addition of powdered oils – a very strange sounding but exciting concept.  No more little oil bottles to add to each batch!

Unfortunately, it came with a distinct flavor change that we just couldn’t get with.  Some people actually prefer it, but sadly we were not in that camp.  The folks at Rosa Labs acknowledged the change and set about trying to fix it, but “rolling back” to 1.3 was not possible due to the enormous number of changes to the core product.  We hung in with our remaining 1.3 in the hopes that 1.5 would be our salvation.

Then 1.5 came to be, and alas… it was only a slight improvement.  To us, there is this sharp “wet cardboard” taste that we just can’t get past.  I was more willing to experiment, trying many different flavorings and additives in the hopes of masking the taste.  But no… nothing worked.  So we immediately started hoarding all the 1.3 we could find on the secondary markets of eBay and the Soylent forum.

Then came the surprise announcement of Soylent 2.0!  Strangely, it’s only available in pre-mixed bottles for now and not powder.  Our hopes momentarily were raised, until we saw the change in ingredients.  The primary protein source is now Soy Protein Isolate.  Now I’m usually quick to dismiss pseudo-scientific “research” about how horrible (or great) a particular thing is, and Soy has definitely been demonized of late.  In general I don’t expect it’s hugely dangerous or anything, but we have one rather critical extenuating circumstance, which is an extreme family history of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer.

The bottom line is that since I haven’t been able to find any solid research that absolutely does away with the notion that Soy can mimic estrogen in the body, we just can’t take the chance that it might be a possible trigger when we’re talking about our primary nutrition source.  If it was an occasional snack or something, maybe no big deal.  But 70% to 80% of our intake?  Just can’t chance it.

For now we’re in pretty good shape as we have a huge stockpile of 1.3 Soylent and it should last us probably another 5 or 6 months.  But after that… we’re more than a little concerned.  I know that Soylent eventually wants to move towards a totally algae-based protein, which again on paper I think is just awesome.  But for us if the taste isn’t tolerable than we’re just not going to consume it, period.  We’re not in that camp of people who will just eat or drink something gross “because it’s good for you.”  Either we like it, or it doesn’t go in.

Our fingers are nervously crossed that one of the next couple versions of powdered Soylent will finally solve this taste issue so that we can be comfortable that we can once again buy Soylent directly from the manufacturer, but there’s no way to know for sure what the future of Soylent will be.  It’s possible – though I’m loathe to admit it – that this is the end of out Soylent journey.  If that looks to be the case when we’re down to our last month or two of Soylent 1.3, then we’ll have to look at some of the other soylent providers who have popped up since Soylent’s success.  The thought of going without soylent is truly terrible now that we’ve had it for a year and a half.  It’s truly changed our lives for the better, and going back to a purely conventional-food-diet is just a miserable thought.

Here’s hoping we’re back in the fold again soon!