The summer of 2022 was strange. I broke my foot and bruised my abdomen in a skateboarding accident and learned that I apparently have an extra bone in my foot called the os-trigonum, which basically just means it took my foot longer to heal. I lived on the top floor of a steep three-story walk-up in Boston where it was constantly 95+ degrees. No air conditioning.
My light? Soylent.
It was hard to cook for myself, hard to get groceries, and my roommates insisted the fridge remain on the lowest temp setting despite the fact that the yogurt went bad almost immediately. Soylent, though, doesn’t need to be refrigerated until it’s opened. I caught a massive sale on Amazon and got as much as I’d need while I healed: three month’s worth, which came out to be just over 100 bottles (I accounted for about three to four bottles a day).
Important to note: I lived off the RTD (ready-to-drink) variety. A more cost-effective option would have been the Soylent meal replacement powder. But that wasn’t an option for me, due not only to my bruised abdomen and broken foot, but also because my roommates refused to clean. The kitchen became a gross nightmare once I was unable to clean it. Dishes stayed stacked in the sink. Avoiding the kitchen was in my best interest for many reasons.
RTD Soylent bottles are shelf-stable and don’t take up much fridge space anyways. So whether you want to drink them cold or room temperature, they’re accessible.
The first week or so was a bit rough on my stomach. Soylent is made of sunflower oil, canola oil, a vitamin/mineral blend, and a lot of soy protein—that much soy is tough for a body to take. But eventually I adjusted. I was getting the nutrition I needed. I started to feel good, even clear-headed.
Here’s what Soylent tastes like: chalky cereal-milk mixed with soy (but in a very good way). I figured I should try multiple flavors. I grabbed the Sampler Pack, which contains Chocolate, Mint Chocolate, Mocha, Vanilla, Strawberry, and Banana. For breakfast I tried to stick with the Mocha (or Cafe Chai / Cafe Latte when they were available). Getting the caffeine boost was essential for me to focus on what little physical therapy I could do for the day.
Instead of lunch I’d have two bottles—one at 11 a.m. and another around 3 p.m.
I preferred Gingerbread when it was available (it’s a seasonal flavor, I’ll let you guess the season), but Strawberry and Banana were also great for a midday boost. For dinner I’d go for the Chocolate, Mint Chocolate, or Vanilla.
You would think I’d have gotten tired of the same flavors, the same textures day-in and day-out for weeks on end, but I did not. There were definitely times where I had intense carb cravings, but at no point did I dread my next bottle of Soylent. I just really like the taste. I think Soylent has really cracked the meal-replacement shake, both in flavor and actual nutrition. What are my favorites, ranked? Glad you asked: Chocolate Mocha, Strawberry, Chocolate, Gingerbread (when it’s in season), and Vanilla, in that order.
What I don’t recommend is that anyone ever live off of only Soylent forever unless you absolutely have to. It even says on the bottle, “Soylent can replace any meal, it is not intended to replace every meal.” You should have solid food in your life if you can. A banana, an English muffin pizza, eggs, something other than liquid for the love of all that is edible.
In a time of immense physical and mental stress, Soylent was able to bring a level of convenience to my life that I needed. The price is certainly a bit steep, I was only able to get as much as I did thanks to a sale and EBT, but if the brand continues to expand it will hopefully become more and more accessible.
If you’re curious about the idea of meal-replacement shakes though, you could do far worse than Soylent. What isn’t worth a try, though, is attempting to Ollie North onto a poorly paved sidewalk from a poorly paved street. Don’t do it. You will taste pavement. Get good at hopping well-maintained sidewalks first.