Discussing
Soylent and the Cost of Convenience

Tamara Hill Murphy

Tamara Hill Murphy
November 15, 2016

Soylent bills itself as a smart meal substitute, but what if we were created for more than convenient nutrition?

Daniel D.
November 16, 2016

I don't think I will be eating anything by the name of "Soylent"
Soylent Green, anyone? No thanks...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070723/

JKana
November 16, 2016

I can't stop picturing the scene in "The Matrix" where Neo is eating that beige sludge for the first time on board the Nebuchadnezzar. Matrix-born Mouse tries to help Neo eat it by suggesting that if he closes his eyes it tastes like Tasty Wheat.

Zion-born Dozer humorlessly says, "It's a single cell protein combined with synthetic aminos, vitamins, and minerals. Everything the body needs."

To which Mouse so truly replies, "It doesn't have EVERYTHING the body needs."

Tamara
November 16, 2016

In Reply to Daniel D. (comment #29519)
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I KNOW! I wasn't able to include that angle in the article because of space, but Rhinehart seems to enjoy that connection to his product. Love that you picked up on this connection - thanks!

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/04/the-man-who-would-make-eating-obsolete/361058/

Tamara
November 16, 2016

In Reply to JKana (comment #29520)
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That is a fantastic reference! To be honest (and it's kind of embarrassing to admit!) I've never watched The Matrix. It sounds like this article could have benefitted from some film references. Glad for you posting them in the comments!

Katie Fox
November 17, 2016

Ugh. I've never heard of this product but I love that you wrote about it here. I also thought of Soylent Green, and the Matrix quote is perfect (you've got to watch it!). I just went and looked up the product and there is just so much wrong with this picture - much of which you touched on in your piece. I would add that nutritionally there is actually a debate about whether soy itself is even healthy for you (and I wrote about it once, back in my super crunchy days - ha! http://www.keeperofthehome.org/the-soy-decoy-dont-be-deceived). And I didn't even touch on some facts I've learned since then, about the ingredient called "soy protein isolate" (the main ingredient in Soylent) and the ways that our body actually fails to process this ingredient and use any nutrition that might be available, and the reason for that actually has to do with the chemical processing that is required in order to make the "isolate", or isolated...in other words, it's not how the soybean was really meant to be. :) Attempting to isolate the protein is manipulating the soybean in a way that ends up stripping it of any good it might do. It's like chickens who can't fully express their chickenness because they are in factory farms - it's another example of unnatural "frankenfood". Maybe that's okay for astronauts...but for us down here on Planet Earth? Give me tomatoes crawling with microbes and a roasted (pastured!) chicken, thanks. :)

Walter Wittwer
November 17, 2016

Very interesting article and I agree with you wholeheartedly. There is a sacred connection to our God and each other in the art and labor of growing food, preparing food and even eating and savoring food. Mealtime was, and should still be, a time of fellowship, connection and eye contact. Our Lord's sacrifice is even memorialized in a meal, the breaking of bread (wheat grown, harvested, baked) and the drinking of wine (grapes grown, harvested, fermented).
And, manna was a God provided food provided to a punished people. As you said, God's intent was always milk and honey. Plus, I would not mess with trying to replicate and pass off earthly food for heavenly food.
I confess that I enjoy growing, harvesting, preparing and savoring food so the deck is stacked against soylent or any other kind of instant nutrition getting my fancy. I'm going to go cook something right now!

Erica
November 17, 2016

Totally agree and I have a similar thought about a much more common product, those now very popular squeeze pouches with mashed fruits and vegetables that toddlers everywhere are sucking on.

I'll be the first to admit that I have used them too in a pinch but the idea of mashed food in a disposable pouch takes so much from us and from our children. How will kids learn to value food and farming and eating if this is what they come to know of as food.

Food and agriculture provide one of our primary connections to the Creation and the Creator and we are amiss as a culture to let go of these connections so willingly.

Spy
November 20, 2016

@Daniel D, exactly what I thought as soon as I read the title.

This also reminds me of how in some futuristic sci-fi they eat food that is all artificially created. In Doctor Who in the very early episodes they take a few pills that have all the vitamins and minerals they need. Where is the enjoyment? I'd much rather seeing the colours and shapes on the plate, and have the experience of the joy of cooking or just food preparation. Even Commander Riker from Star Trek would prefer to cook than tell a replicator to make an exact copy of that food. It just missed that human touch.

Also, am I the only one who doesn't like the idea of a machine taking someone's job? Sure it happens but I wouldn't encourage it to happen more.

@Katie Fox, thank you! I feel very edumacated.

Tamara
November 20, 2016

In Reply to Katie Fox (comment #29523)
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Excellent thoughts, Katie. Thank you, and thanks for the link!

Tamara
November 20, 2016

In Reply to Walter Wittwer (comment #29528)
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Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Walter. I hope you enjoyed whatever you decided to cook!

Tamara
November 20, 2016

In Reply to Erica (comment #29530)
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Erica, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm really interested in your thoughts about the food pouches for toddlers. (an innovation since my kids were little, that's for sure!) I can appreciate the convenience, but agree with your concerns as well. As I think about it, I wonder if the convenience they proved (or the problem they solve) is that we as a society don't want to stop and sit down at a table and eat food we've prepared. So, eating on the go is our solution. Well worth considering, for sure.

Brady
November 21, 2016

I appreciate that the subject of "fake" food has been touched on here. I believe the way God made it is sufficient and the only reason companies want to "alter" it is to make a profit! Despite all the hype there is enough food produced for several years to feed the whole world more than 1.5 times.
Sadly much of it is wasted due to imperfections and spoilage in the prosperous countries, and little is done to transport it where most needed as there is little profit. Most telling is the fact even in the most impoverished areas you can find candy, sodas, and this kind of pretend milk/nutritional drinks- not the real, wholesome foods they need to fill there bellies!
This horrible state of hunger and related affairs is well documented and explained in the book "We The Eater's" by Ellen Gustafson (I believe). We the consumer can effect this by demanding REAL fresh foods, preferably organic, and locally grown (if possible) foods. Humans need the work, not "mechanical processors" using artificial means and ingredients our body is not made to use.
God's way is best always!

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