In a Refutation of Foodism, Software Engineer Reduces Personal Menu to a Single Item


It’s been done before. In fact, graham crackers were invented in 1829 by Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham as the perfect food, the one you could allegedly eat all by itself and have a balanced diet. Now Atlanta-based computer programmer Rob Rhinehart has invented a liquid diet that, he believes, contains all the nutrients the human body needs to survive, and even thrive, dispensing with the need to encounter actual food ever again.

As reported by Vice via British website Today I Learned Something New, Rhinehart has been on the diet for two months, recording his progress on a blog. He calls his nutrient shake Soylent, after the sci-fi flick Soylent Green–hopefully, it contains no humans. The cost to produce the liquid is approximately $155 per month, but Rinehart is cagey about what the cream-colored liquid he concocted actually contains:

I am reticent to provide exact brand names and instructions because I am not fully convinced of the diet’s safety for a physiology different than mine. What if I missed something that’s essential for someone of a different race or age group? Also, the cost is low but some of the ingredients are hard to find and/or must be purchased in bulk which can be an investment, and some of my suppliers are quite small and would have their stock depleted if many people rushed to purchase the exact same item I did. I think it makes more sense to test this more thoroughly, and then produce it at scale.

One of the benefits to his diet, Rhinehart reckons, is the two hours per day he saves by not preparing and eating regular food. But he also realizes he misses out on the interaction with other humans many of us receive while eating out. In other words, he misses the company of others, but not the food itself.

In the demi-monde of foodism, in which people are actively obsessed with everything they eat, Rhinehart’s approach is oddly refreshing.