26 October 2014

Could I Make My Own Soylent to Save Money?

Normally I spend about $10 to $20 on lunch. It is a lot of money, and many of my colleague like to bring lunch in from home. The problem is that I simply don’t want to cook. It is too much hassle. Furthermore, bringing in lunch to work and letting it decay and smell is just not an option. I have been reading about soylent, which is an open-source nutritional powder that can replace food. I am not sure the product ships to where I live, but given it is an open-source drink, I can simply make it myself. Supposedly soylent is about 50% carbs using maltodextrin and powdered oats and about 25% rice protein, with the rest being fats, vitamins, nutrients, enzymes, and so forth. I have already been mixing in rice and pea protein with powdered oats to create a “gainer” that will help me gain more weight and build more muscle, so I largely already have something that is similar to soylent anyway. (I am thinking of replacing powdered oats with waxy maize starch because the powdered oats usually clump up when mixed with my protein shake. Plus powdered oats have high GI.)

On the weekend, I love to browse the aisles of the local chemist and check out the latest “greens” powder. I have already purchased a powder that mixes many greens, e.g. chlorella, spirulina, and barley grass. I have mixed a small amount of greens powder into my protein shake. I find that these greens powder (especially spirulina) taste horrible, so I now try to minimize it to just a few teaspoons per week. By mixing multivitamin-type powders with protein and carb powders, I am making my protein shake something that is starting to resemble normal food.

Anyway, if my protein shakes have carbs and a little bit of greens powder in it, I figure I can probably use this as a replacement for my lunch at work. Given that powdered oats cost about $10 per kilogram and pea and rice protein cost about $25 per kilogram, then assuming each day at work you have two serves (two scoops or 60 grams) then the cost works out to be about $1 per day. That is a massive difference compared to $15 for lunch! I eat whole foods for dinner at home, eat out every now and then with friends and family, and take multivitamins, so it’s not as if I will rely on these powders completely. If I want to socialise and go out, then I am happy to do so, but often at work I am just hungry and need to eat something and I go out and eat alone, and I spend about $15 for that when I could be drinking something equivalent for $1. An excuse I used to use for myself to eat out is that I like to get out of the office and walk around and breathe in the fresh air. But I am always free, after drinking my shake, to go out for a walk in the park.

Two days ago, I purchased a bottle of iced coffee and drank it for lunch. I mainly wanted to buy it because it was an HDPE bottle, which is supposedly safe for reuse. I was going to mix my protein shake in it. However, I noticed that in the afternoon I was farting a lot. I may have developed lactose intolerance. I used to drink milk a lot. Recently I’ve experimented with vegan foods. It turns out that maybe my body has gotten used to it, and now I find I cannot drink cows milk. That’s okay for me because there are plenty of other alternatives e.g. oat milk or almond milk. Some people argue that cow milk has essential calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D for bone health, but the reality is that most of these are additives in the milk, and most milk alternatives are fortified with these anyway, and even if they are not, I take multivitamins.