This week, myself and Kotaku editor Mark Serrels are eating nothing but bottled Aussielent; a liquid substance that contains all the nutrients and minerals needed to sustain life. This means no solid meals, no snacks and — horrifyingly — no coffee or porridge for a whole week. Today, we hit the halfway mark and really begin to struggle in completely different ways.
Aussielent is a local version of the open source meal-replacement beverage “Soylent”. It meets all the nutritional requirements for an average adult with one bottle roughly equaling a staple meal. A single serve contains 1989kJ of energy, 25g of protein, 40g of low-GI carbohydrates, 25% recommended daily intake (RDI) of 27 vitamins and minerals and the recommended intakes of omegas 3 & 6. (For a full overview of what's inside the bottle, check out Part 1.)
Today marks the halfway point of our soylent experiment and things are not good. What started as a quirky novelty has swiftly descended into a painful and highly regrettable experience. Here's an insight into our head spaces right now:
Just kill me and make it quick. By far the worst part of this challenge is the caffeine withdrawals. I'm typing this in a bleary-eyed agony of my own making that's getting worse by the minute. Every small noise in the office causes my head to pound louder. This is what happens when you attempt to kick a hardcore coffee and soft drink habit overnight.
At first, I thought my caffeine withdrawals were going to be a walk in the park. Sure, there were slight headaches and I was a bit more irritable than usual but it was no worse than an extremely mild hangover. This morning, the symptoms flared up like the goddamn Balrog in Lord Of The Rings. Sadly, I'm not a wizard.
Going cold turkey on caffeine and sugar is probably one of the hardest things I've ever attempted. I'm not really having cravings or even missing the taste of this stuff — but the sudden enforced detox is playing havoc with my nerves and mushy brain parts. I feel WRECKED.
If it wasn't for my body's pathetic chemical dependencies, this challenge actually wouldn't be too bad. I'm not hating the taste of Aussielent and it's refreshing not having to worry about what to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. But man. These headaches. They're absolutely killing me.
Ironically, going cold turkey on caffeine is also messing with my ability to sleep. I probably got three hours last night. I'm hoping — praying — that I've hit peak caffeine withdrawal and will soon be spat out on the other side. I've been too scared to Google how long this pain is supposed to last. Another day of this shit and I'll probably be throwing the towel in.
Soylent is ruining my life.
Last night I get home. I'm hungry as all shit. My wife is in a glorious mood, she's so excited to see me. My son runs towards me arms outstretched for a big bear hug.
Me: stony faced. Asshole mode engaged.
I try so hard to match the incredible vibe created by my beautiful family, but I can't. I'm hungry. I'm on edge. Every time someone touches me my nerve endings hum in frustration. It's like this weird out of body experience. I'm aware that my mood is being adversely affected by the food I'm not eating, but I'm not really in full control. Everything annoys me, so when my three-year-old son refuses to get into his bath, I get a little bit too angry. When my six-month old slaps my glasses off my face, I have to stop myself from reacting.
I type a message to Chris, beating the keyboard noisily. It reads:
Soylent is bullshit.
It's bullshit because, what's the point? Each shake I'm drinking contains 2000kjs. When I finish I feel like I have consumed nothing. If I was to eat 2000kjs worth of chicken salad, or soup I would be fit to burst. I'd need to have a lie down. Right now I just feel hungry all the goddamn time for no benefit.
I've felt this way before — on a juice diet — but I was losing weight then. There was light at the end of the tunnel. There was method in the madness. This is like... why the hell am I even bothering with this shit?
- I'm not going to lose weight.
- My body probably won't metabolise these nutrients as well as actual, proper food.
- I feel tired. I have no energy.
- I feel hungry as hell
I hate this. I put my three-year-old to sleep and I crawl into my bed starving and miserable. It's 7.30pm.
Join us tomorrow for Part 4 of the Soylent challenge... If we're still here to tell you about it.