What were your eating habits before you started doing this Soylent experience?
"Before I was on Soylent, I had a moderate to healthy diet – nothing too consciously health-stressed, really. Health was never a focus. I eat a salad for lunch every other day, and yogurt for breakfast, but also a lot of pizza and meat and stuff like that. So, I was eating relatively healthy, but not overwhelmingly so."
Would you consider yourself a person who’s moved by this mission? In the film, your girlfriend said, “You like to work all day; this is perfect for you because you can drink your meal and you don’t have to stop working.” I wonder what you think about how this provides this endless stream of energy to complete work. Do we really want or need that?
"First of all, I’m just fascinated by the idea, and it’s a very old idea. I think that’s important, too — people have been trying to invent quick-fix food replacements for over a century. They’ve been dreaming about it for that long. And, we’ve had full food replacements around, but it’s always been a very clinical thing. You know, Optifast is a weight-loss supplement, where you replace your meals with this liquid diet. Usually, you do it under the supervision of a clinician and you get check-ups. So, it’s usually been reserved for people who have sort of more extreme conditions — weight problems, or people who can’t eat solid foods."
And this is the opposite, this is for people that are healthy and want to optimize their health.
"Right. And, the formula is not overwhelmingly different than what you would find in one of those pre-existing solutions. I mean, they’ve definitely hacked it to their own tastes and added certain supplements and nutrients that they think are preferable, but it’s the same basic idea. It’s really sort of the marketing.
One of the things that I was curious about was something that Rob (the creator of Soylent) has said a bunch of times: I made this stuff, I started drinking it, and five days later I felt the best I’ve ever felt in my life. What was your experience? Did you feel amazing?
"Well, I felt like it was a big change. For the first few days, I really felt low-energy, and sort of lethargic, and borderline sickly. But, I realized that because I was used to a normal human-food diet, and I was used to separating the things I eat from the things I drink, I just wasn’t drinking enough water. I would drink the Soylent and I’d be like, ‘Oh, I just drank that water.’ I was getting light-headed and lethargic. So once I started drinking enough water, I started feeling better."
You lost a lot of weight as well, which was not intentional, right?
"Yeah, both Rob and the doctor that I was seeing while I was on soylent were both surprised and kind of alarmed that I lost so much weight. I ended up losing 10 pounds over 30 days, with only changing the diet. On the plus side, I never felt hungry. It definitely wasn’t starved out of me. I didn’t feel like I was malnourished or that I badly wanted food at any point. And, all the weight that I lost according to the lab tests I did, was body fat."
So in a way you were kind of becoming your best body.
"I kind of got healthier. I lost a percentage point of body fat."
What about your future? Will you be ordering any more Soylent?
"I might very well order more Soylent in the future. What I would like them to do is have it subjected to clinical tests, have it actually studied by someone apart from the company. And, once they settle on the final formula, I might.