Lion of the Blogosphere

Soylent, it’s not just a movie with Charlton Heston

According to the NY Times, liquid food-replacement products, such as “Solyent,” have become very popular in Silicon Valley, because the coders are too busy coding to have time to eat anything else.

Soylent, Schmilk and some others typically taste like bland, gritty pancake batter. But never mind that, since the meal replacements save techies money and time. While a meal generally costs upward of $50 at Silicon Valley-area restaurants, a week’s worth of Soylent or Schmoylent totals $85

That sounds pretty disgusting. And not worth $85/week, which isn’t cheap considering the icky factor. If I wanted to eat practical and super cheap, I’d go with peanut butter and bread, plus a multi-vitamin in case that’s missing anything. Not saying I’d enjoy living only on peanut butter and bread, but it sounds more appetizing than Soylent for half the price, and it doesn’t require refrigeration. Plus it has a more wholesome name. Didn’t they bother to watch the end of the movie?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 25, 2015 at 10:08 AM

Posted in Technology

86 Responses

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  1. I would add some ramen as well.

    O/T: RIP John Nash

    I find it interesting the Nash died on the same stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike that Tracy Morgan almost died on.


    May 25, 2015 at 10:32 AM

    • Ramen is only wheat, therefore it’s not enough to provide complete nutrition. Peanuts are a complementary protein to wheat.

    • I noticed that too. The New Jersey Turnpike is so dangerous it kills people on exact opposite ends of the IQ spectrum with equal disregard.

      Also died the same day as Paul Fussell and Elliot Rodgers. I’m not sure what that means.

      Lion of the Judah-sphere

      May 25, 2015 at 12:48 PM

      • It doesn’t “mean” anything.


        May 25, 2015 at 1:32 PM

      • It means Paul Fussell was Elliot Rogers.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 25, 2015 at 9:02 PM

  2. Eating Soylent they feel like a cyborg! It’s cool! Eating peanut butter and bread or drinking Ensure because you have no time or money for anything else (as I did, oddly enough when I was living close to Silicon Valley) just makes you feel like a loser.

    The really important people in Silicon Valley- like Sheryl Sandberg and Marisa Mayer- are certainly not eating Soylent though. They aren’t busy coding- I don’t think they even know how. They are having very nice expense account lunches at the best restaurants. While the geek losers work like slaves in a salt mine to make them rich.


    May 25, 2015 at 10:50 AM

    • A good question to ask: Why do these guys become programmers in the 1st place? Do these facilities provide them with hearty meals, due to their insane hours. It must be more stressful to work in SV as a programmer, more so than a financier on Wall St or an attorney in BIGLAW.


      May 25, 2015 at 12:51 PM

      • Engineers at well established infotech companies don’t do crazy hours, mostly the typical ~48 hours that corporate drones everywhere do. There are a couple outliers, like Apple is known to be run by psychos where people suffer through their 2.5 years as a resume bullet point before moving on. But in general the field is not comparable to law or IB in terms of crazy hours.


        May 25, 2015 at 3:58 PM

      • Don’t extend this silly story to all of SV. It’s still the rule that these people have the option to eat well. I’ve been to enough interviews and know enough people in tech to know that imported granola bars, artisanal sodas and pho are standard fare.


        May 25, 2015 at 5:54 PM

      • Although I have to say, the SF-Bay Area is the zaniest and most entrepreneurial regions in the nation (never mind the large East Asian Demographic). Uber is the most recent addition of all the mainstream companies coming from that region.


        May 25, 2015 at 10:00 PM

    • Smart people often believe dumb things. Steve Jobs avoided seeking proper treatment for his cancer because of his beliefs in alternative medicine.

      This post relates to Lion’s “people believe what the people around them believe” motif.


      May 25, 2015 at 1:36 PM

    • Mayer has an M.S. in computer science from Stanford, so I’m guessing she can code. But she’s a CEO, so it would make as much sense for her to do computer programming in that role as it would to mop the floors.

      Sandberg’s background is in business, economics, and government. She wasn’t hired to program, but to run the business end of Facebook as its COO. Heck, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t code anymore either. Why would he? He’s the CEO, and has better programmers than him working for the company.

      Dave Pinsen

      May 25, 2015 at 9:15 PM

  3. Milk or cheese gets you over 80% of the way there in terms of complete nutrition. Add some fruit like bananas or OJ and you’re about covered. Some of the breakfast cereals are pretty good, too. You could live on miniwheats in whole milk for a very long time before you had any problems.

    This bulk powdered food thing makes no sense when it is so cheap and easy to buy good, clean food 24/7 all over the place in modern America. You can walk into any McDonalds or gas station and get milk and OJ.


    May 25, 2015 at 11:12 AM

    • Correct! But we are talking about special SWPL snowflakes, and peanut butter, milk, and juice from concentrate are prole.


      May 25, 2015 at 6:26 PM

  4. Each ounce of spergy food substitute consumed, each minute of saved time, = more upside for their owners/investors.

    mid ea ea

    May 25, 2015 at 11:45 AM

  5. As if Silicon Valley didn’t know POC don’t digest milk very well. One more way that minorities are kept out of high tech if you ask me.


    May 25, 2015 at 11:45 AM

  6. During WWII, Elsie Widdowson proved that a person could stay healthy indefinitely by eating only potatoes, bread, and cabbage. That sounds a lot better than soylent.


    May 25, 2015 at 12:09 PM

  7. That’s nothing less than sad. They really do want to be part machine.

    young god

    May 25, 2015 at 12:10 PM

    • Nothing more!

      young god

      May 25, 2015 at 12:11 PM

    • There are so many better ways to eat cheap, healthy, tasty, and fast.

      young god

      May 25, 2015 at 12:14 PM

  8. They just like the weirdness factor. Anybody can buy some apples, peanut butter, bread, luncheon meats, and cheese and get by OK, particularly when young. It really doesn’t take that long to make a sandwich.

    ice hole

    May 25, 2015 at 12:19 PM

    • Bananas are the cheapest fruit, I think. They must grow like weeds.

      • The cheapness of bananas has more to do with the fact that they are a mass produced commodity from low wage countries.


        May 26, 2015 at 12:18 AM

    • Lunch meat is horrible for your health. Full of salt and nitrates.


      May 29, 2015 at 12:44 AM

  9. Agree, this sounds gross.

    A lot of programmer guys I meet are late 20s guys who are just in terrible shape.


    May 25, 2015 at 12:33 PM

    • You are right about the terrible shape part. Meal replacements have been around forever. There are some really tasty and healthy ones available in any nutrition shop or section. They are designed for the health conscience person to get a well rounded, protein packed meal on the go. Anyone excited about soylent must not have picked up any kind of workout or nutritional magazine in a very long time.


      May 25, 2015 at 1:09 PM

    • There are some really tasty and healthy ones available in any nutrition shop or section.

      There are also less tasty ones in hospital rooms holding patients on feeding tubes.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      May 25, 2015 at 8:49 PM

    • It appears that most programmers aren’t remotely good looking to begin with. And 99% of them live in the expensive liberal centers, and are not White.


      May 26, 2015 at 9:38 AM

      • Give us an example of a “handsome” profession, dude. Law? Medicine? Banking?

        Hank Rearden

        May 28, 2015 at 10:08 AM

      • Banking would be the perfect example. Plenty of handsome jock types who work on Wall St.


        May 28, 2015 at 12:21 PM

      • Furthermore, NYC is full of aggressive, tall, White guys in their value transference schemes. Can you say the same of Silicon Valley and its IT field? I think not!


        May 28, 2015 at 12:25 PM

      • Look, buddy, I worked in New York for years and met quite a few Wall Street types, and most of them didn’t look like movie stars by any stretch of the imagination. What they looked like, by and large – and this held truer and truer the older they got – was simply “greedy”. Smarmy, pot-bellied, and lacquered with East Hampton tans and the sebaceous oils of pure self-indulgence. More like movie producers than movie stars.

        Hank Rearden

        May 28, 2015 at 4:01 PM

      • As for Silicon Valley, I’ve never worked there, but remember – it’s in California, the land of sun-drenched blond folk more than NYC ever was. Also, please consider that many tech types were engineers first and foremost and, judging from most of the engineering students I met in college, there are plenty of jocks and good-looking regular guys in that crowd. Robert Noyce, one of the founders of Intel, was an amateur actor during his grad student days and as a young man strongly resembled the British actor Tom Hardy. And consider this also – who do you think is (or was) better looking, Steve Jobs at the time when he founded Apple or that would-be silver fox, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs? QED, buddy boy.

        Hank Rearden

        May 28, 2015 at 4:10 PM

  10. Sperg food substitute, mid ea ea has it right. No idea why this caught on.

    It isn’t difficult to eat a repetitive, somewhat inexpensive diet that’s fast and easy to prepare without relying on meal replacement shakes. I usually eat the same breakfast and lunch and rotate dinner through a few choices to get some variety. Eat out once a week.


    May 25, 2015 at 1:05 PM

  11. First the high IQ peeps waste our time with their crappy computers, now they want to be better slaves for their masters by eating Matrix glop.

    It’s fascinating how deeply embedded is social hierarchy – the smart slaves voluntarily dig themselves deeper into servitude.


    May 25, 2015 at 1:19 PM

  12. They don’t have time to eat. But I’ll bet they still had time for video games and porn.


    May 25, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    • Haha, probably.


      May 26, 2015 at 9:58 AM

    • and masturbation

      E. Rekshun

      May 27, 2015 at 5:41 AM

  13. I once heard about a man who spent 14 years on a diet consisting solely of Hostess Twinkies, hard boiled eggs, and Scotch whiskey. He was in excellent health.



    May 25, 2015 at 1:51 PM

    • Alexander Imich, the oldest man in the world, at least then, lived on a diet of chicken soup and ritz crackers.

      If I were poor and couldn’t cook I’d probably live off whole milk & oatmeal. This assumes I could heat up water to pour over the oatmeal. There are plug-in electric kettles where all you have to do is press a button.

      slithy toves

      May 25, 2015 at 5:15 PM

      • Oatmeal is pretty cheap.

      • Some economists (well, one at least) foresee a future of rice and beans for the non-ivy leaguers.


        May 26, 2015 at 2:40 AM

  14. You can eat cheaper and much tastier than that in midtown/wall street. Bagel w/cream cheese for breakfast is about a dollar at Duane Reade. Chicken/lamb with rice and salad at the halal cart is $5. And there are a bunch of $1 pizza slice places.


    May 25, 2015 at 2:12 PM

    • Halal Guys charge $7 for that, and last time I tried it I didn’t like it.

      • Halal Guys is the “Starbucks” of the halal street carts. They are a name-brand franchise now that is able to raise prices by $1 every couple of years and people will still buy it even though the quality is getting worse and worse. There are still independent halal carts such as Halal Kabab Express on 55th and 6th which still charge $5 for chicken over rice and salad and it tastes much better than the commercialized Halal Guys.


        May 25, 2015 at 4:22 PM

  15. I eat two bananas or two apples w/ peanut butter every morning.

    E. Rekshun

    May 25, 2015 at 2:14 PM

    • Here’s a Vice documentary about a guy consuming nothing but Soylent for a 30 days. It also features an interview with the creator of Soylent — who by the way consumes nothing but Soylent himself.


      May 25, 2015 at 7:43 PM

      • At least he literally puts his money (making product) where his mouth his.

      • Oh jeez, added canola oil, fish oil, gum, and iron. This shit is poisonous and this guy has no idea what he’s doing.


        May 25, 2015 at 10:03 PM

      • “Supersize me!” except this food is for SWPLs so it gets the good spin.


        May 26, 2015 at 2:42 AM

      • He looks like he’s sucking a…oh, aaah, never mind.

        E. Rekshun

        May 26, 2015 at 5:33 AM

  16. For $85 I can build a pretty good and healthy menu for 5 days of work, will take about 2 hours of preparation during the weekend. This is just stupid kids who are too lazy taking care of themselves, I am sure they got much more money and time for video games or hours of browsing reddit, they are not that busy.


    May 25, 2015 at 3:09 PM

  17. lion, OT:

    15 Art Institutes Shut Down Around The Country

    how soon till law schools start shutting down?


    May 25, 2015 at 3:39 PM

  18. This piece on Vox about Soylent is worth reading. Apparently it’s gross, but more importantly a lot more hassle to make and store than the propaganda lets on. There are much easier alternatives for the lazy:


    May 25, 2015 at 3:57 PM

  19. Silicon valley males have a thin sickly look. Even successful guys like Zuckerman, Brei, and Hughes look thin, weak, and pale. I have a feeling the soylent diet will only exaggerate this look.


    May 25, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    • In a country like this where obesity is so common, the rare not-fat person stands out and seems emaciated. Soylent is literally oatmeal, and not necessarily unhealthy.


      May 26, 2015 at 3:11 AM

      • Yes, I think this is true. I’m 6-1, 160 lbs., fit and lean with a slim frame. I’m just ten pounds heavier than when I graduated from high school 30 years ago. At work and in public, it seems like I’m mostly surrounded by people carrying 50 to 100 extra pounds and they have the chutzpah to say I’m “too skinny.”

        E. Rekshun

        May 26, 2015 at 11:30 AM

  20. I have a question for Lion:

    Is it better to attend an elite LAC (Amherst, Swarthmore, Bowdoin, etc.), or an elite university (HYPSM), or does it not matter as long as the college is considered elite?

    average joe

    May 25, 2015 at 5:30 PM

    • The cost of attending LAC probably no longer justifies their exorbitant tuition. For the same price (and more tuition assistance) HYPS is likelier to land graduates elite positions. While it’s possible to become elite by going to LAC, the odds are worse than HYPS. For the price Swarthmore, etc, are asking for, they owe their students a near-Harvard guarantee.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      May 25, 2015 at 9:19 PM

      • Is Stanford considered elite, or is it too nouveau riche?

        average joe

        May 25, 2015 at 10:20 PM

      • I don’t think anybody in the know would assume a Swarthmore grad is dumber than some Harvard asshole. I’m certain Swarthmore has fewer jocks, for one thing – oh, but wait, jocks from elite schools are what they hire on Wall Street, aren’t they? I stand corrected then.

        Hank Rearden

        May 28, 2015 at 10:13 AM

    • TUJ is probably right, but choosing a school like Amherst or Williams over HYPS would not be at all crazy.


      May 26, 2015 at 3:33 PM

  21. I saw a video of a Crossfit girl who eats eggs mixed with peanut butter, and an apple for breakfast everyday. I tried the eggs peanut butter combo yesterday and it’s good.


    May 25, 2015 at 5:34 PM

  22. Lion, off topic but I thought you might find this interesting:

    The four categories of people in america:

    1. Shitlibs – upper class and college educated coastal whites who view cisgendered white males and America as evil incarnate. They want to see American power diminished and race based income redistribution. The more angry and aggressive the minority is, the better (especially blacks and Muslims). Unprincipled exception where they don’t want to live next to minorities.

    2. Conservatives – contains the values of the last generations’s shitlib (especially on race), except anti abortion and pro gun. White and middle class. Bulk of the taxpaying class.

    3. Blacks – mainly used as a club by shitlbs against conservatives to extract further race based income redistribution. Problem with them is that their representation as a percentage of the population is static so it’s harder for the shitlibs to institute change at the rate they want. Hence..,

    4. Muslims – being imported by shitlibs in vast quantities to america to increase the rate of race based income redistribution. Favorite class of the shitlibs because the most anti-American. The more anti-American they are and the more they promote sharia law, the louder the shitlibs call their critics racist and islamaphobe.

    Long term end result: shitlibs import enough Muslims to institute sharia law and shuttle off white males in trains.


    May 25, 2015 at 7:59 PM

    • Further along in Europe, so look there for what’s to come. I seem to recall trial balloons for sharia law in the UK (just for the wogs, my good man), though I don’t think they’ve gone anywhere yet.

      While some have focused on complaining about sharia family law, I think it would be interesting to see whether hands would be chopped off for thieves, etc. Well, probably not in the first step.


      May 26, 2015 at 2:51 AM

  23. Soylent is okay.

    “have become very popular in Silicon Valley, because the coders are too busy coding to have time to eat anything else.”

    I’m not sure where you got the impression that Silicon Valley is really busy. I work in a big tech company (Google/MSFT/Amazon/Facebook) and most people work like 10-5. Even if people are busier, do you know of any companies that are so busy that people don’t have time to eat? Google/Facebook/Amazon certainly aren’t like that.

    I actually dislike this and I’d prefer to work longer hours on more interesting problems.

    “Is it better to attend an elite LAC (Amherst, Swarthmore, Bowdoin, etc.), or an elite university (HYPSM), or does it not matter as long as the college is considered elite?”

    HYPSM imo.


    May 25, 2015 at 8:01 PM

  24. almond butter is better but at least 2x as much. and apples are better and by weight cheaper than bread.

    but putting work above health and real food is prole…that is, american.

    in les etats unis merdeux there are japanese, chinese, mexican, italian, even german restaurants.

    in the rest of the world there are american restaurants.

    the world give the us nobu. the us gives the world kfc. those with taste have already dropped out. the proles/roaches won. the exterminators can do nothing. vereeniging was signed when yahoo had positve earnings.

    off topic ranting guy

    May 25, 2015 at 8:47 PM

    • It does seem even proles are shunning fast food places like McDonald’s. Places like Chopotle, In-N-Out, and 5 Guys with more sustainable, better working conditions, and healthier choices are on the rise. If even Proles shun it, it’s near the point of no return.


      May 26, 2015 at 2:26 AM

      • I don’t know why 5 Guys’ big greasy hamburgers are any healthier than McDonalds.

      • McDonalds certainly has healthy options that five guys doesnt but I wouldnt be surprised if Five Guys food was made in a much more conventional manner than mcdonalds is and that equivalent menu items are healthier at five guys.

        Lloyd Llewellyn

        May 26, 2015 at 9:16 AM

      • The burgers at 5 Guys are real beef, while the patty in the Big Mac might be a meat product. Doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy just because some bread is mixed into it.

        You are confusing “prole” with “unhealthy.”

        If anything, grilling the burgers causes carcinogens, so the 5 Guys burger is probably less healthy.

      • To make this assertion, I think there is also the supposition that one does not eat burgers daily.

        Someone with a disciplined diet might eat a burger a couple times each month, at the most. In which case, eating a “clean burger” at 5 Guys or Farmer Boys is preferable that the reconstituted garbage at McD’s.

        Socially Extinct

        May 26, 2015 at 9:25 AM

      • The burger at 5 Guys tastes better (at least that’s how I perceive it, which may not be how people who like to eat at McDonalds perceive it), but it’s not any healthier. It won’t make you live longer or prevent illness or anything. It’s the same ingredients.

      • “Healthy” is a whole quandary in itself. My basis for healthy is generally a “clean” food that was naturally allowed to grow (animal or plant). It’s up to us whether we over-indulge or not. Any “healthy” food in the world can be made unhealthy by gluttony.

        My mom is one of those people who would prefer McDonald’s hamburgers, but that is because she stems from that older, McDonald’s generation. I imagine that in 50 years, today’s generations will cling tenaciously to their outdated tastes as well while being mocked by youngsters!

        Socially Extinct

        May 26, 2015 at 10:26 AM

  25. It seems like a silly fad.

    A Silicon Valley boiler room operation could just put a refurbished Vitamix in the break room, and keep some peanut butter, whey protein powder, frozen fruit, oatmeal, etc. nearby. Would take 2 minutes to make a smoothie with a combination of that stuff which would taste better than Soylent and give you as much or more nutrition.

    Dave Pinsen

    May 25, 2015 at 9:21 PM

  26. A couple of coder types at work were raving about this stuff to me a while back. It’s a heaven sent potion for people who spend hours on end in front of a keyboard and who require little in the way of human interaction of which food intake is about 90% of. I could get into it, but not as a pure sustenance. It is more of an ancillary nutrition item for those periods I really don’t need to waste time with people and their weird food affectations.

    Gamers are another fringe who are all over this stuff.

    Socially Extinct

    May 25, 2015 at 10:32 PM

  27. For everyone posting stereotypes of programmers and silicon valley culture, you can read the last part of the article and see that this really isnt a thing:

    “Soon after, Mr. Mittal said, some co-workers approached him to ask if they could try some.

    “I’ve been a little bit of a Soylent dealer to a number of my co-workers,” Mr. Mittal said.

    But Soylent, Schmilk and Schmoylent are acquired tastes. Mr. Mittal said many of his colleagues did not end up getting hooked on Soylent. The few who were still drinking it weren’t too enthusiastic.”


    May 26, 2015 at 12:06 AM

  28. When’s your review of Silicon Valley coming up?


    May 26, 2015 at 12:22 AM

  29. WTF? Meat and veggies. Gotta be swole.

    Galil Jones

    May 26, 2015 at 2:51 AM

  30. what is the secret of soylent green?

    james n.s.w

    May 26, 2015 at 10:07 AM

  31. Maybe this is another reason why women avoid software jobs – their taste buds are too refined for this slop. Either that or they don’t want to work around the kind of males that would.

    E. Rekshun

    May 27, 2015 at 5:45 AM

    • Naw. They just aren’t keen on the work.

      I know I’m in a minority here, but I’m the kind of person who would drink this stuff (or be willing to try it, at least.) (And I’m female.) There’s no way I’d consume it exclusively, but I could certainly see it as a snack or accompanying a meal, just like regular Ensure. It’s not that I don’t like food, but I don’t really like eating, and anything that makes that eating business faster and easier to get done is something I’d be willing to consider.

      I suspect a lot of the appeal is the “hey look, science food!” factor.


      May 30, 2015 at 2:58 AM

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