Our Week On Soylent Day 3: Hump Day Grumbling

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:

Chris

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.

Mark

Soylent is ruining my life.

I'm serious.

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.


Comments

    Hey guys, perhaps this will help your experience... ;-)
    http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/08/if-youve-been-waiting-for-soylent-coffee-your-wait-is-over/

      ROFL...
      "According to the founder, neither Coffiest nor the Soylent Bar will cause consumers to erupt with what I once referred to as "horse-killing farts.""

    Sorry to hear its not going so well today!! We generally advise not going cold turkey on a complete change of diet, best to take it a bit more slowly and introduce/remove new foods over time.

      I've been genuinely interested in this for a while. I was pestering the US Soylent mob to come to Australia. I didn't know you existed!

      On the fact sheet it clearly states "NOT TO BE USED AS A SOLE SOURCE OF NUTRITION"... So what additional things should I be consuming to complete my complete meal?

        You can replace any meal with aussielent and combine with a regular diet. We find a lot of people use it as a breakfast or lunch substitute and it works pretty well, particularly during the working week. A lot of people think it has to be all or nothing but that's not the case. We include the advisory text that our products are not to be used as a sole source of nutrition in alignment with Aus/NZ food labelling laws for meal replacements.

          Thank you. I'm looking forward to trying out your products. (I'm tougher than Chris and Mark)

          I wondered how it compared to something like Up & Go that's marketed as a breakfast replacement. Sounds pretty similar (maybe a few more vitamins).

      I use it for breakfast every morning and it works perfectly for that.

        Yeah I think a one-off meal replacement is good for this kind of thing.

          Absolutely, if i head out for an early game of golf or an early flight I know I can just grab a bottle and I'm good to go, also the days that I'm working from home sometimes i don't realise that it's lunchtime til i'm already hungry so i can just smash down a bottle and problemo resuelto

    Haha this is more entertaining than most of the stuff on Netflix. Good luck surviving the rest of the week guys!

    This is what happens when you attempt to kick a hardcore coffee and soft drink habit overnight.Will you use this as a chance to cut back on your daily caffeine intake, or will it be straight back to it at the end of the week?

      I genuinely haven't decided yet.

      I'm truly, madly in love with the soft drink V and don't want to cut that joy from my life. But I'll probably scale things back to say, one can per day.

        @chrisjager Its should be better tomorrow. I was once the subject of a uni study where I was given coffee for a month and wasn't allowed to have any other caffeine. They blindly assigned you decaf or real coffee. I was asked on day three which one I was assigned, I was on the pain inducing decaf and told them quite clearly. After day four or five, I felt great, like better than I ever have before. That continued all through being completely caffeine free. I told myself I would not return to caffeine, I did and very strongly. The point is, the pain will go and you will feel spectacular.

        Last edited 11/08/16 10:47 am

    It takes about two weeks to be fully over coffee I found. The first few days are the hardest and then it gets easier. 2 week to be fully off the tiredness that you get from it.

    You know there have been genuine meal replacement drinks that have been around for decades... Medically tested, peer reviewed ones, not just fad stuff. They feed it to people who can't take solid food: Ensure Plus I think is the main one.

    I've come to find that nearly every one is a drug addict of some kind.

    I'm confused. Was the intention of this piece to investigate the effects of a 100% soylent diet for a week? Or was it to investigate the effects of a 100% soylent diet AND the effects of going cold turkey on caffeine for the same week?

    Seems like a waste of time since the effects of going cold turkey on caffeine are well known and we will have no more meaningful information about the effects of switching to a 100% soylent diet after this.

      Was the intention of this piece to investigate the effects of a 100% soylent diet for a week? Or was it to investigate the effects of a 100% soylent diet AND the effects of going cold turkey on caffeine for the same week?

      Both. There are two people taking part in the challenge -- Mark, who leads an active, healthy lifestyle with no chemical dependencies (apart from porridge) and myself -- a sedentary office worker addicted to sugar and caffeine.

      If you're planning to go on an all-Soylent diet yourself, you should obviously pay attention to the person whose lifestyle you share the most in common with.

        Chris the reason why scientists try and cut out all the variables bar the one they are interested in is to avoid the sort of stupid results like 'went on soylent challenge and all my results were about something else).

        We have no idea what Aussielent did for you because your reaction is muddled by the far more powerful effect of caffeine withdrawal.

        You do know you can get caffeine in pill form right? Or black coffee?

        I get that Lifehacker is 99% frivolous gibberish but talk about painting 99% in neon.

          Luckily you have Mark's results to compare with, seeing as he doesn't drink caffeine :)

            Yes definitely. It's just a pity though because we really missed a great opportunity at seeing a usable juxtaposition between who someone who wasn't enjoying the soylent and someone who was but was battling caffeine withdrawal.

          Scientists?

          You do realise that this experiment has a sample size of 2, right? And that sudden changes in diet can have all sorts of weird side effects?

          Expecting this kind of thing to produce any sort of meaningful data would not be wise, even if Chris wasn't withdrawing from caffeine.

    Umm... what happened to Day 2's coverage?

    Oh man, sounds like hell. Hang in there, fellas.

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