The Scarcity of Time
I'm not sure how primary and secondary (elementary and high school in other regions) school schedules were like outside of Singapore, but for us we had 6 years of primary school and 4-5 years of secondary school from age 6 to 16. Every day from Monday to Friday we had to report to school by 6.45 am - that meant waking at 6 am if you were lucky enough to live near your school, and even earlier if you weren't. 10 years of waking up before the sun rose meant that we seldom had time for a proper breakfast, and our first meal of the day would be recess at 10 am.
After becoming a working adult I found that working hours were typically 8 or 8.30 am, and that most people would get through 4 hours of work before their first meal of the day at lunch. Then it was 10-15 minute queues for food that'd been eaten dozens of times before, craning necks for available seats otherwise it was lunch at the desk.
I apologise if I paint a bleak picture! But these are my own experiences, which must have been shared across decades by the working professional.
How did the machines know what Tasty Wheat tasted like?
Props if you recognised the reference to the ageless Matrix (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oEnJfZ9joY). I learnt about Soylent through an article (http://thehustle.co/soylent-what-happened-when-i-went-30-days-without-food) by a marathon runner who had decided to live for 30 days on Soylent, a meal replacement powder designed in the USA that sounded like the solution to my constant annoyance. Perfect! I thought. It might not be a magic pill to pop and be full, but close enough. To my dismay it could not be purchased outside of the USA due to production constraints. Soylent had however kindly provided a recipe app where you could design your own homemade soylent and brew it up like a potion. I did hours of research, threw together ingredients I thought would fulfill my nutritional requirements and got them from the supermarket, hardly able to contain my glee.
The resulting mixture was horrible. I had bought raw soybean powder that vastly overpowered in taste and smell, I could only manage a sip before pouring everything down the sink. Subsequently, I sought the help of a professional food technologist who gave me a great formula, before I found a factory with their own R&D team that perfected the formula and made me samples, giving birth to zoylent. I've since tasted Soylent and Joylent (the European version based in Amsterdam), and it's clear that zoylent is the best tasting so far. No bias at all cough.
Moment of truth
I tried living on zoylent alone for 5 days just to see how it would affect me. It's hard to express how much change in my lifestyle zoylent brought - for most people it's a solution to a problem they don't know they have, but once experienced it's not easily forgotten. I used to dread having to decide between greasy or expensive meals which I'd eaten thrice over the past week, but now I had only to spend 5 minutes to down 2 cups of water mixed with zoylent to be full for the next 4 hours without any interruption in my productivity or train of thought. Since I had an hour for lunch, I was able to use the remaining 50 minutes for leisure, relaxing walks and sometimes half hour naps, which were great for replenishing energy. The first two days I was worried if zoylent was actually providing me with enough nutrition, but I found that I was feeling hungry every 4 hours like clockwork, and sufficiently satiated in between. The experience of breaking the habit of eating that we've cultivated our whole life can be quite mentally jarring indeed.
I also found that there was no post-meal crash, which I tend to find particularly pronounced as I am 1.72 metres tall, weigh 60 kilograms and process carbs very fast. After a meal I would be nearly comatose. On zoylent, instead of being sleepy I would actually have more energy than I knew what to do with. The R&D team tells me it's because of the low-GI oat flour which releases energy slowly over time instead of the white rice that I'm used to eating, which spikes my blood sugar fast and results in the crash. I felt a lot more energetic physically and sharper mentally, and was able to focus for longer periods of time. My beer belly had noticably shrunk, though not to the point of washboard abs so sorry no pictures! My skin was clearer and tighter, and my hair was not falling out as much. My bowel movements were more solid and regular, perhaps due to that I was actually consistently getting enough fibre - I am not a big fan of eating greens, especially having to eat two servings a day. It's a great sense of security knowing that there is zoylent as a source of nutrition, especially late at night when the only options are Indian food or instant noodles.
Next you'll be telling me we don't need clothes
I have since stopped living on zoylent alone, but now consume it for at least one meal every day or every other day - usually my breakfast as it's when I'm most pressed for time to get out of the house. It's been wonderfully freeing - obligatory meals, food eaten simply for nutrients with minimal enjoyment, are now a thing of the past. I enjoy meals even more now that I know that every time I eat it is because I choose to, to savour good flavours and better company, and not because I have to.
Apart from saving a lot of time in my daily life, I have also saved a lot of money from not having to eat out all the time. A basic plate of chicken rice would cost me SGD$3.50, while a meal out in the city would be from $6 to $15, averaging daily at $28. zoylent cost me $5.50 a meal, which resulted in saving over $10 a day or $350 a month. Over a year that equates to about a month's salary! Saving on meals I didn't want to eat meant that I had more money to spend on dishes I did want to eat, like sushi and upsizing meals without guilt.
Is this the start of the end of our humanity? Or a new futuristic age?
This is to my fellow professionals and entrepreneurs, the dreamers and the adventurers, who are not afraid to step into the future together. I still have a few samples of zoylent which I'm more than happy to give to anyone who'll like to try it, email me at email@example.com. They are very limited however so if I'm not able to get any to you please subscribe to my newsletter and you'll be the first I tell when I get more in!
“If there was a way that I could not eat, so I could work more, I would not eat. I wish there was a way to get nutrients without sitting down for a meal.’ ” — Elon Musk. I came across this quote when I read Ashlee Vance's autobiography of Elon Musk. Of course not many of us have his appetite for work but it does illustrate how time consuming getting food is, and we could always use a little extra time. Please feel free to ask me anything or share your opinion with me via email or the Lembas Facebook page . I look forward to hearing from you!