|Amount||Ingredient||$ / day||Source|
|70||g||whey natural protein powder (unsweetened)||$1.08||Amazon|
|30||ml||Canola Oil (cold pressed, non-GMO)||$0.26||Spectrum, high heat, cold pressed|
|20||g||GNC Mega Men® Sport - Vanilla Bean||$0.69||GNC|
|15||g||Bob's Red Mill Chia Seeds||$0.21||Amazon (S)|
|6||g||NOW Foods Calcium/magnesium 1000/500 mg||$0.26||Amazon|
|4.2||g||Potassium Citrate||$0.17||PureBulk, Inc.|
|2||portion||Thorne Research Vitamin D / K2 Liquid||$0.04||Amazon|
|0||g||optional ingredients (superfoods and taste)||$0.00|
|10||g||Herseys dark cocoa powder||$0.13||HEB|
|2||g||Organic Ceylon Cinnamon Powder||$0.12||Amazon|
|0.7||g||Now Foods, Probiotic (4 billion)||$0.12||amazon|
|5||g||Creatine||$0.06||Health supplement wholesslers|
|210||g||Strawberries (or other mixed berries)||$1.38||Frozen|
Total Daily Cost:
|$5.76||Add Ingredients |
to Amazon Cart
This is an oat and mesa recipe using bananas and berries to improve taste.
My brother and I are working on this together. Like many, we got so excited about the Soylent idea that we couldn't wait for the official product so we started making our own. At first it was a bit messy to mix all the stuff, but now that we have our system down it's not much trouble. We enjoy researching different ingredients and discussing the merits of each. So now I don't think we'll switch back to the official mix. We've made many choices that we wouldn't be willing to go back on (using MCT oil for example.)
We currently use it for 1/3 - 1/2 of our calories. We started from People Chow and Superfood for Him.
We mix the dry powders in a huge bowl (17.5" diameter) for a week's supply. We measure each with a .1g scale (we use http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001RF3XJ2 ) and then dump them in the bowl.
Soylent does not add oil to the dry mix because it causes clumping. That is their problem! We mix our oil in so we don't have to fuss with it when we want to drink. So we add the oil and vitamin K/D drops and mix until evenly distributed. At first the oil will create many balls of powder. We smash these against the sides of the bowl with our mixing spoon until the big ones are gone. Then we store the mix in the refrigerator or freezer (it remains a powder in the freezer as the only water it has are the drops of K/D.) Also because the water is low it would probably last a long time at room temperature. We've left it at room temperature for as long as three weeks without a noticeable change in taste.
Seven days of the mix will just fit in a 5.4L container.
Our 2,000 calorie recipe calls for about 1 1/2 bananas and 1 1/2 cups of berries. So a 670 calorie meal would be about a cup of powder mix, 1/2 cup of berries, and a half banana.
Soylent recommends making a day batch at a time. But this is primarily done as a consequence of their packaging in "one day" aliquots. If you mix in your oil with your powder in advance, you can just scoop any amount at the time you're ready to eat. This has a side advantage that you avoid the subtle pressure to consume the arbitrary 2000 calories per day.
It is better taste wise to use frozen fruit and consume immediately after blending. The banana is an excellent emulsifier (we've heard the chia seeds also help.) If you make a larger batch to store the fruit (especially the banana) will not taste as good later. And of course you'll lose the great taste of the fruit ice crystals after they melt.
The fruit can also be skipped if a blender is not handy and just add powder to a shaker cup with water. (I always have a Blender Ball cup with 1 1/3 cups of dry Crude powder in the refrigerator at my work. So I can "eat" a healthy meal anytime I'm free for lunch in 5 minutes.)
Thoughts on Ingredient Choices
Designing food powder results in fewer food sources. While we are concerned about missing something important, we were equally concerned about over concentration of things not typically consumed in high quantities. Phytoestrogens in flax and soy is one example of something that might not be a problem consumed occasionally, but we wanted to avoid everyday consumption.
Some things we've included are not necessary to meet RDAs, but we believe there is sufficient (if anecdotal) evidence to be a "superfood". It makes us happy to know there in there!
Whey protein concentrate, unflavored: We opted for the concentrate over isolate as it’s less processed and may contain some beneficial oils, it is also cheaper. We don’t have a strong preference though. We started with Optimum Nuturion’s Natrual Vanilla Whey protein. But after a few weeks felt it was a bit too sweet.
We like whey as it is considered a “complete” protein, providing a good proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids.
This is the only ingredient that keeps the recipe from being vegan.
Cold pressed canola oil (Spectrum): Chosen for its excellent 2:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Other vegetable oils have higher ratios, and studies indicate that may not be good for you (search for “omega 6”). Some people are concerned that canola oil is processed with hexane. We opted for a “cold pressed” alternative that is also non-gmo. In our opinion there seems to be a bit of a smear campaign against canola oil that is unjustified, and except for the more expensive MCT oil this is probably one of the better oils that can be used. If anyone has a different opinion please give us your reasons in the comment section. We are always looking for new information which will help improve our mixture.
We did not like the taste of olive oil in our mix. And it would require a source of omega-3 like from flaxseed oil. We avoid flaxseed oil as it is high in phytoestrogens. We do add chia seeds to help our omega-3 ratio.
MCT Oil: A saturated fat that has no Omega-6 (which contributes to inflammation when too much is present). MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides and is easily absorbed into the bloodstream to be used as a quick fuel. Some studies have reported a reduction of visceral fat on diets with MCT oils and claim they help with overall fat loss. This fat is almost tasteless and as long as you don’t buy into the ‘saturated fats’ are bad for you claims is probably the best source of calories for your DIY Soylent. Only drawback is high cost.
Corn flour/ Oat flour: This provides the bulk of carbohydrates. Note: they are also a source of omega-6 and thus necessitate some form of omega-3 supplementation like fish oil or chia seeds. Some DIY’s claim bloating problems with oat flour and the manganese levels are high, corn flour is generally grittier and there are concerns about GMO corn. Our recipe originally used Corn mesa as we branched from the People Chow recipe. We added some oats to improve texture and to diversify our list of real food ingredients in case there is a ‘missing something’ that needs to be added to the diet. We felt the oat flour to be a definite improvement, but the cost is much higher unless you buy large 50 lb bags. Even then the oat flour is twice what corn mesa costs.
We did buy a 50 lb bag of Oat flour (for about $55). If you go this route, we highly recommend buying two 6 gallon buckets with gamma seal lids. We bought these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DIHYERC The 50 lb of oat flour will just fill the two buckets. These lids are easy to open and close so your flour will stay fresh.
Fruit: This rounds out the carbohydrate amounts. Bananas are added to help increase the potassium amounts and they tend to help emulsify the mixture and prevent settling. They are the only fruit that requires changes to other ingredients if you don’t include them (add more potassium). They are also cheap. Berries are added for high fiber content as well as lots of antioxidants. In general fruit is not necessary, but greatly enhances the taste. It is also one of the most expensive items in our mix and can be dropped if cost is a concern. We like the added benefit of having some additional ‘real foods’ just in case there are unknown phytonutrients needed.
The bananas will blend more easily if you cut them up before freezing. (I put freeze them on wax paper spread on a cookie sheet. After they freeze I put them in a zip bag.)
Choline Bitartrate: is a very cheap way to get your needed choline, some recipes get around this with soy lecithin, but we are concerned about adding soy products. However this is not a good tasting ingredient and we are considering using pills of alpha CDP as an alternative.
Potassium Citrate: used to increase potassium levels, increase if you don’t use bananas.
Mega Men’s Sport Vanilla Bean: This is our primary source of vitamins, it also contains some protein, branch chain amino acids, and a long list of little superfood extras in very small amounts. It is certainly cheaper to take a vitamin pill instead, but at present we want our soylent to have everything needed in the drink and not to have to take separate pills in addition. Mega Men’s also adds some vanilla flavoring and well as sweetness to the mix. We don’t like the sucralose, but something has to balance out the bitterness of the vitamins and minerals. If you don’t mind taking pills every morning this switch can save about 50 cents a day. We have found that the powder is important for the overall flavor and if you don't use it the taste of the mixture suffers.
Chia Seeds: Adds omega-3 and fiber.
Cinnamon (Ceylon): A "super food". May improve insulin response. Has lower amounts of coumarin than Cassia (aka "Saigon cinnamon".)
Creatine Long used by weight lifters has also been found to improve cognition. It occurs naturally in meat, but as our mix is vegetarian we didn't want to miss out.
Things in Need of Investigation
Head Aches We have noticed that when we start taking Crude after a break we sometimes get a slight head ache. People have reported this also with official Soylent. The effect goes away after a day and does not resume under regular consumption. We really want to know what causes this! Suspicions:
- Potassium: Most people do not get the recommended amount of potassium. A sudden increase in potassium (to recommended levels) could be causing the slight head ache as potassium lowers your blood pressure. Blood pressure is affected by the sodium/potassium ratio.
- Dehydration: It's possible that we're not drinking enough water for the oat, corn, creatine and protein powders we are using.
- Creatine: I wasn't taking this before, so this is something different. It also require more water intake so it could be part of a dehydration problem.
Nootropics (Brain boosters.) Somewhat scary to some people until they realize they are already taking them (caffeine, Monster Drink, Five Hour Energy, fish oil, choline, creatine, B vitamins, etc.)
There a lot to be gained here as who doesn't want to have better sustained focus?
Rice Protein Some studies suggest that animal based proteins may be worse than plant based proteins. So we're considering changing half of our protein to rice protein.
Lowering Carbohydrates We're considering changing or protein/fat/carbohydrate proportions from 20/30/50 to 20/40/40.