|Amount||Ingredient||$ / day||Source|
|65||g||Soy protein isolate||$1.02||Amazon|
|60||ml||Extra Virgin Olive Oil||$1.16||Amazon|
|5||pill||AOR Ortho Core||$1.50||Amazon|
|2||g||Jarrow Formulas, MSM Sulfur Powder||$0.07||Amazon|
Total Daily Cost:
|$6.75||Add Ingredients |
to Amazon Cart
Soylent is a breakthrough from an animal rights perspective. We can no longer say it's too hard to be vegan, or that we aren't sure we're getting all required nutrients.
Liberation Chow favors locally-sourced, non-gmo ingredients. Unlike many Soylent recipes, the nutrition profile does not deviate from the most recent U.S. government DRI recommendations, and is almost exactly 2000 calories.
It's easy to make several weeks worth of the dry powder, and keep it at work and home. When ready to eat, just grab a pint glass, fill it a third of the way with the chow, add a dash of oil (slightly less than a shot glass), and fill the remainder of the glass with water. Mix thoroughly and enjoy!
You can see the photos page for the glass and storage bins I use.
While the recipe is great to drink without additional flavoring, I've found a couple different flavorings that work well. To get an apple pie or pumpkin pie flavoring, add about 20g of cinnamon, 10g of brown sugar, and some small combination of ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves.
The macronutrient calorie ratios end up at 48/17/35 carbs/protein/fat, which is in the slightly lower-carb, higher-fat ranges of RDI. For comparison, RDI ratios typically hover around 55/20/25, Crossfit and Zone diets suggest 40/30/30, Paleo suggests 20/15/65, Keto is somewhere around 5/20/75, and body-building recommendations range from 40/40/20 to 50/30/20. I tried to remain conservative and stick to government recommendations. For lower-carb options or as a way to make room for flavoring, you can remove about 50g of the Masa Harina and the recipe will still fall within DRI ranges. Let me know if you find ways to achieve any other interesting ratios. I've found the ingredients here to be somewhat flexible.
Are all the ingredients vegan?
I have not verfied all the ingredients in the AOR Ortho Core are vegan, and it's possible some aren't. So you may wish to choose another multivitamin. The methylcobalamin in the Ortho Core is synthetically-produced, and is physiologically equivalent to B12, which is reassuring.
Why is there so much niacin?
The excess niacin comes mostly from the AOR Ortho Core multivitamin. The multivitamin is supposed to be taken over the course of the day and uses a form of niacin known as IHN, a no-flush niacin whose safe upper limit is much higher than what the recipe contains. A larger quantity is necessary to account for IHN's relatively slow absorbtion into the bloodstream.
Supplementing with microalgae
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) are one of the most important considerations in plant-based diets. Animal-based ω-3 fats DHA and EPA provide broad health benefits, promting cardiovascular and cognitive health. Excessive intake of plant-based ω-6 is associated with an increase in cancer and heart disease. Humans have the enzymes to produce the DHA and EPA fats from plant-based ω-3, but nearly none of the plant-based ω-3 is converted, and relying on these reactions is not considered optimal for development and health. For this reason, it may be worth supplementing with microalgae and reducing the olive oil intake.
I'm using a modified nutrient profile to highlight the ratio of ω-3 to ω-6, which in Liberation Chow is about 1:2. Research suggests keeping the ratio between 1:1 and 1:4. Before Soylent, my ratio was probably around 1:10 or 1:20! For those interested, about 8% of total calories come from ω-6. Also, lowering total PUFA to less than 10% of calories would require changing the recipe completely, making it incompatible with DRI recommendations.
The soy protein contributes about a third of the iron, and much comes from the corn masa and oat flour. In a private copy of Liberation Chow, the soy protein is replaced with raw amino acid powder, the oat flour is increased and the corn masa decreased, the other ingredients are adjusted, and it was possible to get below 20mg of iron and still remain vegan!
The main ingredients are non-GMO, even though there appears to be a lot of pro-GMO research by reputable sources. The non-GMO label just seems safer to me, given the number and variety of GMO techniques and uncertainty about which ones have been validated over the long term. As far as the supplement sources go, I could not determine if they contain GMOs or not. Note that the cost is almost double with non-GMO, so feel free to swap out ingredients for cheaper options. This appears to be a good source of research for those interested http://www.biofortified.org/genera/studies-for-genera/.
I am not a nutritionist or medical expert. If you're interested, here's a summary of relevant info about me.
- Software developer
- Member of the DIY Soylent commjunity for a little over a year, and regularly eat modified versions the People Chow and Hacker School recipes
- Participate in the animal rights activism group Direct Action Everwhere
Beyond simply being interested in Soylent and wanting to learn more, I made this recipe as a statement against the daily atrocities happening in factory farms, waterways, and oceans.
The World Health Organization now considers antibiotic resistance a serious threat, with resistance to common strains found in 114 countries. It is suspected that antibiotic use for animal growth is a major contributor.
Meat production requires significantly more "virtual water" than vegetable faming, dwarfing water saved in conservation efforts around the home and workplace. Lastly, climate change is known to be largely driven by beef consumption.
Rob Reinhart posted to his blog after the 20M Andreessen Horowitz fundraising:
Agriculture butchers billions of animals, covers over a third of the earth’s habitable land and uses 80% of our water supply.
I would like to believe that any responsible member of society would do their part to reduce meat consumption, if not just for their health.
Update 10/2014: I've purchased some hazelnut and almond extract, and I'd like to try mixing with various teas (chai, rooibos, spiced tea). This thread had a number of great ideas: http://discourse.soylent.me/t/the-flavoring-soylent-thread.
Update 1/2015: Added a section on high iron after a recent blood test showed iron levels at 158 ug/dL and bilirubin at 2.2 mg/dL. A followup a couple days later showed iron serum back at 124 ug/dl and everything else right on target. I'm not sure what happened, but I'll speak to my doctor, and keep tracking progress to this recipe. I tried the extracts, and they didn't really do much for flavor. The winner seems to still be the brown sugar.