Over the next five days, myself and Kotaku editor Mark Serrels will be replacing all meals with 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. Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies...
Aussielent is a local version of the open source meal-replacement beverage "Soylent". Originally only available in powdered form, the company now offers ready-made, single-serve bottles for roughly $4 a pop (12 for $49).
Aussielent 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.
Here's a full breakdown of what's inside each bottle:
Aussielent Nutritional Information
Servings per package:1 Serving size:450ml Per Serve % RDI: (Carbs: 33%, Protein: 20%, Fat: 47%)
|Content||Av Qty Per Serve||Av Qty Per 100ml|
|Vitamins||Per Serve % RDI *||Av Qty Per Serve|
|Minerals||Per Serve % RDI *||Av Qty Per Serve|
While it isn’t recommended by health experts, it would be technically possible to live off nothing but four bottles of Aussielent per day — which is exactly what we're doing for the next week.
We'll be reporting back each day to let you know how we're faring, but to kick things off, here are our initial thoughts about the impending challenge:
You're looking at my final caffeine injection for the next five days. This is my chief concern about this soylent challenge. On average, I put back away three cans of V and one cup of coffee per day. At noon, I'll be going cold turkey. Eep.
Otherwise, I'm not particularly fussed about the whole "no solid food" thing: As documented elsewhere on Lifehacker, I generally skip breakfast on weekdays and sometimes don't eat anything at all until well after 2pm. Hunger pangs have never really bothered me.
With that said, I'm definitely going to miss my late afternoon snacks. Like an idiot, I purchased my usual selection of sugar-and-sodium laden goodies on Friday for the week ahead, completely forgetting about this stupid challenge. They're sitting on my desk right now, taunting me. Somehow, I suspect a bottle of lightly flavoured "liquid nutrition" isn't going to cut it.
I'm actually a little bit nervous about this.
Which is weird, because I've done way worse . I've done week-long juice diets, where one endures an awkward, aching emptiness in your stomach. I've done insane sleep deprivation experiments that literally drove me to hallucinations. Soylent should be a piece of piss compared to those.
But I just don't know about this. I have reservations. Serious reservations.
The first is my own relationship to food. I'm super into rock climbing, a sport that relies heavily to strength-to-weight ratio. Because of that I'm almost always trying to eat at a calorie deficit. I'm almost always trying to eat less carbs, eat a bit more protein. I'm always experimenting with my diet.
Here's a list of what I generally do and don't eat.
- I don't eat any dairy. At all. No milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter.
- I don't eat processed sugar at all, although I will use honey.
- Porridge in the morning in my main source of carbs. I don't eat bread or pasta.
- I eat a shit ton of eggs, lean chicken and turkey.
- I eat loads of veggies: carrots, zucchini, celery, onions, etc.
I usually sit at around 65-66kgs, which is my prime climbing weight. After a three-week holiday where I totally cut loose and went off the rails, I'm currently sitting at 68kgs. This is a place I don't want to be and I'm in the process of getting back into climbing shape. This involves a lot of exercise and a lot of watching what I eat.
Will soylent provide my body with the nutrients it needs? I kind of doubt it. Will it hold me back? Will I be getting enough protein? I have a lot of questions.
So yes — again — I'm a little bit nervous about this.