Probably most people reading this have heard of Soylent, the powdered meal replacement currently the fashion with computer programmery types. These may look like either diet shakes or protein shakes favoured by body builders, however they are probably much better for you than either of those as they aim for a totally nutritionally balanced meal replacement, so exactly 100% RDA of everything nutritious plus exactly 100% of RDA calories. Albeit, of course, that they are the epitome of utterly processed food - they are quite literally a bag of powdered chemicals mixed together, McDonaldisation taken to its logical extreme.
Nevertheless, they do appeal because they offer very easy portion and snack control and have the ultimate convenience factor. Readers may remember that this time last year after getting back some scary blood work from the tests for the causes of the RSI which began last year, I embarked on the Exante Diet which is a nutritionally balanced meal replacement with about 210 calories per meal to try and shift the weight I brought back from Canada.
And indeed, there was substantial success. My weight fell, energy levels improved, and bloods improved markedly - not as anaemic, and much reduced cholesterol. However I began to realise this was going to become a permanent thing now I'm older and my metabolism has slowed again, especially so long as my commute is walking into the office and as a result of which I sometimes don't leave the house for five or six days with a corresponding lack of motion or exercise, especially since Christmas with the 60+ hour weeks. And Exante changed their formula in 2015, making it much more artificially sweeter. As we now know as of last year that artificial sweeteners cause type II diabetes due to modification of the gut flora, I thought it best I get off the diet food and onto something better for you, and it would help if it were also cheaper.
This time last year Soylent was the only game in town, however as I type this Soylent clones have multiplied (see http://synectar.sk/en/soylent-alternatives-around-the-world-part-1/ for a long list and review of each). Which is especially good for us Europeans as Soylent won't readily supply outside the US. Enter Joylent, a budget Dutch mass market alternative to Soylent.
Joylent in Summer 2014 was identical to Soylent back then, but since the recipes have diverged. Soylent is now onto its fourth formulation, it originally required you to mix in essential (omega) amino acids held in separate oil bottles but its fourth formulation replaced those with powdered oils which aren't as bioavailable, but then you simply overcompensate the supply. Joylent as of Nov 2014 also no longer needs mixing with bottles of oil, the fats are bound to flaxseed and maltodextrin, a complex carbohydrate, and come bound in the powder. Joylent is quite a bit cheaper than Soylent and that shows in the ingredients. It uses soyflour and maltodextrin instead of the more expensive rice flour and isomaltulose, and generally has a much more simple list of ingredients:
* oatflour (short carbohydrates)
* soyflour (protein)
* whey protein (protein)
* maltodextrin (long carbohydrates, fats binder)
* vitamin powder (everything not provided by the other ingredients to match RDA)
* ground flaxseed (omegas)
* flash-dried fruit powder (flavouring)
* cacao powder (flavouring)
As you can see, no artificial sweeteners nor thickeners - this stuff isn't pretending to be anything it is not.
The body loading of this formulation is unfortunately relatively high. I tried it out for a few days before vacation and I found it less easy to digest than the Exante food simulants. However, I was chugging 600 ml at a time which definitely leaves you feeling very full with a bit of heartburn, so from tomorrow I'm splitting that into two separate lots of 300 ml for breakfast and lunch and we'll see how that fares. As a comparator, each of those 300 ml portions is about 350 calories, so far more than the Exante diet meals and I'm hoping the 5pm light headedness from hunger will be gone as of tomorrow onwards.
So, the big question most ask: what does the stuff taste like? It's not unpleasant, though there is a very fine balance of how much water to add against the effect on taste. Add slightly too little water, and it gets a vague sweet and chalky taste, these being the maltodextrin and the soy flour. Which isn't unpleasant either actually. Megan had some and also thought it not unpleasant. Like with eating the same thing every day though, it does get boring quickly, but I'll supplement it with some fresh fruit such as an orange as a kind of dessert.
And don't get me wrong, I still am taking dinner as normal. Some people go on this stuff and nothing else, and then find their teeth and jaw go weird from the lack of chewing. People forget that eating isn't just about calories and vitamins and fibre. I like my food, so I'll be retaining dinner as normal, just using the Joylent to reign in my non-dinner calories to 700-800 per day.