Shiny’s Holly and Sadie are doing 10 days on Joylent, the EU equivalent of Soylent, which is a powdered complete food for humans. Find out more about the project here.
Our Joylent arrived as a giant cardboard box full of mostly-unmarked plastic bags of powder. Yes, it looked like a shipment of drugs. The strawberry-flavoured Joylent was in nicely-branded, resealable sachets, but all the others were in your typical foodsaver bags with a black marker letter to let us know the flavour (vanilla, chocolate and banana).
There were two shakers, since we got two sets of 10 days’ supply. They each had a little silver spiral thing inside, which we surmised must be for mixing. There was no information in the box or on the website to help us figure it out – I think Joylent assume we’ve done Soylent before, and so know how this all works. It’s not great for newbies.
For your info, then, you put the amount of Joylent powder you want (1/3 of a bag for most people) into the shaker and top it up with as much water as you like, then shake it.
Time to get munching.
Day 1 – Holly
I was pretty excited to get started with Joylent, so I started yesterday! I mixed up a quarter-bag of strawberry flavour and topped the shaker up to 600ml. I expected a thick, milkshake texture but it was very liquidy, with quite an unpleasant powdery feel. It stuck in my throat and felt odd in my mouth. I decided I’d added too much water, so next time I only topped it up to 400ml, which was a bit better.
You do get used to the powdery texture, but it’s very weird at first. I had strawberry Joylent for dinner last night, banana for breakfast this morning, and chocolate for lunch. I haven’t disliked any of the flavours so far – they’re quite bland, and neither the banana nor chocolate taste as strong as they smell, but there’s nothing to dislike. You wouldn’t want a strong flavour, because you’d get sick of having it every day. I’m already thinking about new flavours I could make by mixing the powders!
I’ve felt a bit hungry today, but I’m not sure if it’s from actual physical feelings or being used to grazing on food all day. My colleagues all had sandwiches at lunch (including Sadie, who’s cheating!) and I was a bit jealous, but I do genuinely quite like the Joylent shake. I could drink it all day if I didn’t need to limit my calories.
Everyone says Soylent and the like is nicer if you leave it in the fridge for a bit, but I’ve never been fond of cold drinks so I have mine at room temperature. I’d like to try it warm or hot (the chocolate one might make a nice hot-choc substitute) but I’m not sure if that would affect the composition.
Day 1 – Sadie
My first impression of Joylent powder was shock at just how much there seemed to be – each bag constitutes a day’s worth of recommended calories (2,000). Like Holly I expected the mixture to be more like a milkshake, and so knowing that she had found it quite powdery, I decided to blend it with hot water instead of cold. The result? A bit like lukewarm porridge – it’s not altogether unpleasant, but after getting about halfway through the 600ml flask, I have to admit that the powdery texture and bland flavour (supposed to be “vanilla”) made me balk. I am interested to try other flavours to see how they fare.
Tomorrow will be my first full day on Joylent (I had a sneaky sandwich at lunch) and I’m a little apprehensive about how I’ll feel sipping from a powdery shake all day! The texture is the worst thing about it so far – I suspect it’s the combination of a lot of water with the dense powder – but despite this, it did make me feel full. I’ve been keeping my evening Joylent mix in the office fridge today, so I wonder if it will taste a bit better cold…
Day 2 – Holly
Considering how excited I was about this, I’m not enjoying it much so far. Since I’m only doing 1300 calories, measuring the right amount for each shake was quite difficult yesterday so today I put the whole lot in one shaker and topped it up with water. I read on the Soylent subreddit that it tastes nicer and less gritty if you make it with warm water (be careful using hot – someone’s Soylent exploded out of their shaker, but I didn’t have that problem with my Joylent. They recommend using a blender rather than a shaker to be safe) and then put it in the fridge overnight, so I did that.
It seemed to work a bit, the shake was less gritty but also tasted even blander, to the point where I could hardly taste anything. I think I prefer it when it hasn’t been cooled.
The main problem today, though, has been that it just isn’t enough volume. One day’s worth of shake topped up to 600ml was still only about half a shaker once it had all mixed, and I couldn’t believe that’s all I got for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Granted, most people will eat twice as many calories as me, but I get a lot more for that amount when I eat food.
By the time dinner came around, there was a depressingly small amount of Joylent left in my shaker, so I topped it up with water again. Mistake. It’s now ridiculously thin and tasteless. Sigh. I’ll get the hang of this eventually!
Day 2 – Sadie
I tried out some different flavours today, and it did make the process a bit less dull. However, my main problem is that I just didn’t feel full. As you’re swallowing the stuff, it tricks you into feeling fuller because of how much liquid is mixed in – but once that liquid has drained away, I’m left with a hollow feeling in my stomach. Ultimately, I found myself needing something solid and casting about for the nearest thing which might satisfy that craving without cheating. This came in the form of a box of tic-tacs, and oh my, that mild minty flavour was never more satisfying.
Having chilled my Joylent flask, I’ve decided it’s definitely best at either room temperature or cold. When warmed, it’s just a bit … gross.
But I am going to bed hungry tonight. This is trickier than I thought it would be.
Day 3 – Holly
Major fail today. By the time I got to work, I was feeling seriously ill and lightheaded. I wasn’t sure if I was going to pass out or throw up. After sitting at my desk trying to recover for 15 minutes or so, I caved in and had a breakfast bar. Then some toast. Then a pastry. Yeah, today didn’t go well!
The food helped me recover a lot, and when I was feeling better I re-did the maths I did yesterday to see if I’d eaten enough Joylent. I have NO idea what I did, but I massively underestimated the amount I needed, to the point that I think I ate about 400-500 calories for the whole of yesterday when I needed 1300. Oops! I think I probably mistook the measurement for one shake (ie. a third of my daily amount) for the whole day and just drank that.
So, after eating lots of proper food (and a doughnut, it was someone’s birthday at work), I got back on the wagon and had Joylent for lunch and tea. I went to two birthday parties this evening, and took my Joylent ration with me, which I sipped on on the way there and in between. It made it much cheaper and more convenient to eat – otherwise I’d have had to buy some food at a pub, which would have cost about a tenner and not been anywhere near as healthy.
I did cave and have some chips at the party at 2am though. Sorry! I’m trying!
Day 3 – Sadie
Today I caved bigtime, thanks to the huge array of doughnuts someone had brought into the office. There’s no other way to describe it, but I simply wasn’t feeling it. A powdered drink just wasn’t going to cut the mustard.
I was OK until lunch, and actually enjoy the banana flavour quite a lot. After the first doughnut, however, a Joylent dinner was never going to happen, so I went the whole hog and treated myself to something satisfyingly flavoursome at my favourite Ethiopian restaurant. I will definitely try harder this weekend though!
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