You read that right, in one sentence is described the goal of the latest health supplement Soylent 2.0 challenged as healthier than the average American diet; Soylent of course taken from the 1973 movie Soylent Green, an apoca-fic about feeding overpopulated New York where a detective discovers their algae based nutrition supply is actually people. Manufacturers of Soylent 2.0 are proposing nothing so extreme as to turn dead people into dinner for the living, but they do put forth provocative claims it has all the bodies nutrients where food today doesn’t; minus unhealthy fats, sugars, excess salt, man created ingredients causing most North Americans to be simultaneously fat and malnourished. They argue too, tube feeding has been used in hospitals on ill patients for decades only this isn’t starch, sugar, some form of oil and nutrients catered to the patients’ needs, specific things for severe burns, respiratory destress exc.; even better, this is all vegan. Commenters pointing out an entire market of meal replacement bars, shakes, drinks wondering, what big difference suddenly sets it apart? Soylent nutritionists boasting 25% of daily vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids are found in one ‘meal;’ going on standard 3 meal a day models who can say they get 75% of their daily recommended vitamins, minerals essential oils, healthy fats from food, even if they are health nuts, even if they do eat vegetables regularly, try? 4th meal not off many menus considering chaotic lifestyles, inconsistent work hours; didn’t Taco Bell first use 4th meal concepts to sell their products to hungry late night party goers getting the munchies at 3AM, McDonalds all day breakfast menu do identical things to America’s psyche? Assuming you do get in a 4th meal you can then safely say you’ve achieved 100% of your daily nutritional needs creating a drastically healthier America, world, cutting healthcare costs, monetary strain of health related illness, sick days; benefits seem endless, theoretically anyway. And, a list of further pros for our scientific breakthrough supplement marketed to someday, if not now, replace food wouldn’t be complete without number comments on population, 7.5 billion mouths to feed, a starving 3rd world, no population control, there or in more ‘advanced’ societies; one YouTube video calling it a manmade solution for man. Number comments on impacts cataloged from huge agra-farms, mass scale animal husbandry, cattle and pork farms, expansion of the American diet ‘meat, dairy, cheese, coffee, chocolate, alcohol and sugar’ in increasing demand worldwide, our global record scarfing 200 pounds of meat, 30 pounds of cheese a year per person! Promoting notions it’s ok to always be eating is a problematic probably explaining America’s ever expanding waistlines according to doctors, nutritionists, life-coaches, lifestyle managers; whether its actually true or not, whether it represents whole picture issues or not. Percentages also included in Soylent 2.0 positive arguments, 70% of American adults are overweight, how it would quickly reduce glycemic levels, LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides too, induce much converted weight loss. Ta-da better improved you, less misery of chronic, lifestyle related disease; ta-da a chance to save the planet, snatch it from pollution, greenhouse gasses, global warming. Stating we may no longer be entitled to consume the products of agriculture full time; calling ‘gluttonous variety’ of the grocery store not only destroying us health-wise, it also represents the decadence of a society in decline. Though calling grocery store variety glutinous indicates extremes unnecessary for a serious discussion on resource conservation, obesity, better quality food supplies if we think we suddenly have to go back to Little House on the Prairie’s Olson’s Mercantile and General Store, rudimentary basic items, either or possibility of 2 choices and that’s it. Reported by The Atlantic in July; now Soylent 2.0, having spent 2 years actually in development before anyone outside science magazines picked up, the story or their premise, believes it’s ready for their next step and is going after our coffee trying to replace it with a green tea derivative. Wait, this culinary atrocity just waiting to happen has been being developed for 2 years, Atlantic’s author remarking Soylent makers despite warnings it isn’t yet a full time food substitute, rumored not to eat much, and no one reported on it until July 2016 and in a progressive publication not nightly national news; deceptively, covertly kept under the radar much? Hard to believe Ted-Cruz-ites, conservatives forever worried and warning about bar codes on our foreheads, the debt apocalypse is coming to America, the religious apocalypse is coming to the world types wouldn’t have something to say about slowly replacing food with nutrient supplement drinks best described as sludge, worst described as sperm like, sweet non-toxic Play-Doh; if nothing more than to call it alarmist nonsense on par with global warming and evolution as junk science to advance liberal agendas. Bringing us back to their coffee revamp, containing all the Soylent you love (or can stomach) with 150 mg of caffeine, coffee flavoring and L-Theanine, the amino acid found in green tea. Packs of 12 for $39, 37.50 if you ‘subscribe to the liquid life style;’ whatever that means. Yes remembering studies showing how good, how bad coffee is on your health it may have been forgotten coffee is derived from a natural, grown bean, several kinds and types available, ground up to varying degrees comprising the drink we know as coffee before milk, sugar, chocolate, soy, machine produced foam are added resulting in our morning latte. Caffeine coming naturally through the strength of the bean, think espresso shots not additives, likely similar to artificial ingredients put in Mountain Dew soda laced brand names of Red Bull energy drinks, but us daily coffee fiends should try Coffiest. Soylent’s Soylent 2.0 modern version certainly not without its critics among them those who point out humanity’s hubris in trying such a thing, people who note their ‘supplement’ is based on currently understood nutrition; article highlighting the trial and error nature of diets, dietary recommendations from days of ship captains, biscuits and scurvy. Government sponsored food pyramid, until its very recent redesign, an experiment, an educated, or not so educated, guess about what was best for humans to consume. Atlantic author juxtaposing their own shaky metrics designing Soylent 2.0’s nutritional formula parameters referencing that 25% of nutrients, “this suggests that instead of being assessed by nutritional testing, the recipe itself was designed according to the test criteria.” Later getting to their larger point, “So Soylent is more healthy than junk food. Does that mean we should all replace our meals with “meal replacements?” Of course not. That Soylent is healthier is more of an indictment of our broken lifestyles than it is a reason to slurp sludge, day after day. “Better than junk food” is a low bar to set, but no lower than our standards for anything else we put in our mouths. If food as we know it is a luxury, will it be mostly algae for us from now on? One thing is certain: Whether or not this start-up has hit on the magic formula for perfect nutrition, it’s a sure bet that society at large hasn’t.” Everyone from Soylent creators, journalists to John, Jane Q. Public commenters missing why; it couldn’t be the junk nutrition, truly junk science, eat this not that, fad diet, Atkins, South Beach, Slim Fast, Weight Watchers, can’t get out weight off our minds? Devil Wears Prada inspired body distortions, stick skinny, hour glass shaped, internet meme thigh gap challenges, collar bone challenges, belly button challenges and airbrush girls, bulked up super guys on magazine covers, bigorexia, orthorexia, I’ll only eat heathy foods and avoid everything else like the plague. Confusing, convoluted, marketing schemed, just plain wrong food labels, labeling system, the clean living, organic, free range scam disguising class warfare on our plates as health, flip flop worse than politicians this is good for you, no bad for you ‘information’ could it? Yes Soylent 2.0 is a symptom of society’s bigger problem, just not ones The Atlantic author seem to insinuate.
What makes Soylent 2.0 drastically different, divesting one’s self from colorful descriptions depicting bad, banal taste, regular users from tech world, thing tank vats churning out the stuff admittedly spicing, spiking theirs with natural additives, exotic agave nectar punching up flavor, is their assertion, dialed back or not, it can, could, something similar in our coming future, replace food; they want it to replace food whether it will in 20, 50, 100 or 200 years. And for dubious reasons that scream easiest cop out to actually, legitimately, effectively solving, resolving our other problems in ways amicable to everyone, amenable to planetary environments. Unnervingly predictable how accepting people seem to be to Soylent and for whom; top on those particular class laden lists people needing food stamps, repeatedly described as fat, non-working persons who buy junk food, named parasites on society. When reminded a good portion of those receiving food stamps, nutritional benefit monies are, here’s a shock, working, beyond working ages, medically, mentally disabled, mentally ill, or children baring no fault for their parents’ choices, they are referred to as parasites in training. Following people too poor to afford to adequately feed themselves regularly, nutritionally, Soylent could and should, with immediacy, replace rations in prisons, slogan being: want better food, get a job you deadbeat, don’t be a criminal; neatly fitting stereotypes about society’s worst individuals, groups. Idea firmly forming in some minds, if I am a good, striving to be educated person, applying myself I’ll never be reduced to existing, subsisting on Soylent. Typical of man-made solutions to problems, instead of getting smarter about farming, taking up less space, rotating crops for less soil depletion, creating a solve for said soil depletion; they try to get us to eat something that’s not food, more not food than TV dinners, processed meats, fast food pink slime fillers, demonized preservatives, at least those taste good. Rather than using science to capitalize on Norman Borlaug’s dwarf wheat we’ve taken genetically modified to levels surpassing our understanding, harboring untold consequences; instead of keeping gene splicing to vegetables with vegetables, animals within their differing groups, we’ve landed ourselves Franken-foods no one wants, jumping steps trying to eliminate the need for food altogether over produce it safer, more efficiently. Example, since ‘the American diet’ is increasingly popular, American vegetables, corn exc., crops are highly valued overseas, can other nations, climates grow enough for their own consumption in greenhouses taxing our land and soil less; again using the same science that gave us Soylent? Instead of getting smarter about safe, natural meat production less harmful to animals and people, it’s food is too extravagant for our exploded population; instead of asking if adjacent westernized, mid-level still considered developing nations can create comparable environments for animals bred as food, it’s here’s a nutritious food substitute better get used to it because dooms day is coming. If Dubai can put a rainforest inside a hotel in the middle of a desert, one guesses they can probably do both; instead they put their efforts into Soylent. Serious about population control as more than a kvetch about ‘the wrong people breeding,’ dregs of society having nothing better to do than ‘pop out’ children, instead of implied forced sterilizations, implied worldwide implementation of China’s infamous one child policy, nearly unatonable licensing for parents, running through Atlantic article comments on practical markets for Soylent, how about voluntary population control in the birth control women want and shouldn’t have to beg for amidst religious ideologues calling it abortifacient , globally available birth control methods, medications to all women who want them, elective tube tying whose only restriction should be an age at or above 21. Enhancing male birth control past the condom, emasculating vasectomies; opinion right on one thing, “no child should be born to an unmarried teen mother, or be the fifth child of a poor single mother.” But that requires comprehensive sexual education conservatives won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, it requires unfettered access to birth control, options for persons with genetic disorders, additional medical problems, safe options for women after age 35 besides the teacher from Matilda, a creepy pastor, priest, male gynecologist riding crop in hand smacking them on their bent knees yelling keep your legs closed, forced sterility handed down by the government. Typical mindset, attack poor, desperate and destitute persons before uttering a word about our employment system; where getting a job is based not on skills to perform a job, instead who you know, who you’ve rubbed elbows with and are they the ‘right people,’ how well you fit into the social structure, synergy of the company, not how hard you work, how good your work product is, creativity of your ideas but a popularity contest. Or that people are so ‘little educated’ less because their neighborhood ghetto public school was crap and more because they had no money, therefore no access to post high school education; the indisputable fact colleges and tech schools not running exclusive programs sponsored by a company for highly demanded jobs aren’t teaching the skills employers want but are pin drop silent on unless it is to complain via news article, why specialty high schools crafted by IBM in poor sections of wherever work so well. Missing, a single word on our skewed food system where ‘unhealthy’ foods are 99 cents per 2 liter of soda, $1.00 for jumbo bags of chips; same price might get you 2 pears, yelling about fat people on food stamps who only buy junk, ignorant it’s all they can afford on the begrudged allotments many want to stop letting them have at all. Or that cheaper, non-junk food stuffs beans, rice are items capable of packing on pounds, blacks eat things like chitlins going back to slave times scavenging the leftovers of what masters would give; that it’s the same class warfare B.S. taking on a new facet at our dinner tables putting poor, desperate people in food deserts where their isn’t a Hy-Vee, Super Walmart, Super Target, mom and pop, local small grocery store within walking distance only a convenience store selling junk as well as maybe juice and milk. People working minimum wage maximum $8.00 an hour in the highest cost of living states, minimum wage the largest number of jobs available, unable to afford a car, but the fight for $15 is stupid and you must raise your skills if you want a raise in pay. In the meantime here’s your Soylent so you’re not a diseased, cost sucking blob. Plenty of talk about the wastefulness of creating food, industrial agara-farms, mass-scale animal farms and their devastation on earth’s environment; nothing said about food waste, food rejected by grocery stores, consumers for blemishes and spots, people conditioned fruits, vegetables must look perfect, like the fake food presented in TV commercials to be good enough to buy. Nothing voiced about more expediently moving wide spectrums of fresh foods cross-country quicker, to pick them later; enhancing taste, nutrient content, still giving maximum shelf life, refining home vacuum packing systems removing air, oxidation leading to decay. Barley mentioned, health codes forcing restaurants to throw out fresh, perfectly good foods; new laws just now making sure food overstock, grocery store excess goes to homeless shelters, food pantries, charities, a-la France. Here a former Trader Joe’s president opened a new store The Daily Table selling still edible groceries just beyond their sell by dates, ironically while Soylent was getting off the ground; Star Bucks followed France’s idea sans legal fees and prison time for non-compliance. And a Vegas hotel, home of all you can eat buffets galore, turned their excess, thrown out food into pig feed from a variety of whole, healthy ingredients making the animals on our table higher quality; foodstuffs simultaneously escaping landfills, decomposition giving us the greenhouse gas methane, food waste touted the largest component of landfills. That hotel owner doing a demo for CBS news about how to arrange yours, your family’s refrigerator to avoid gargantuan food waste and problems it causes. Similarly 3rd world, developing world countries aren’t starving for a lack of food, resources or climate to grow food, even besides what western world nations woefully, willingly waste; they are suffering from Napoleonic power monger war lord rulers hording resources for select few members comprising their army, entourage, regime loyalists, buying said loyalty with food a plenty. Echoing haunting song lyrics of Tracy Chapman: ‘why do the babies starve there’s enough food to feed the word.’ Ethiopia once notorious for famine is far from perfectly democratic, has a ways to go to resemble our democracy and is once again facing famine, but all indications say it won’t be as bad as 1983 to 85’s 2 year horror killing over 400,000 people. Why, Ethiopia has since overthrown their autocratic leader, gained a constitution, a prime minister, focused on economic growth, imported goods showing benefits to a global economy; “that internal peace is what has allowed Ethiopia to lessen the effect of the drought on its citizens this time around because the country is able to import things like wheat and water and medical care to remote villages.” Proving, contrary to Michael Moore’s chanted admonishment to America going round the world saying you need democracy now, you need democracy now, “as the number of democracies has increased, rates of world hunger have gone down, way down;” all things better than Soylent 2.0 for the world’s problems.
Hubris indeed from the very people who gave us partially hydrogenated this, high fructose corn syrup that, sucrose this, margarine is heathier than butter, sugar substitutes not sugar, innumerable preservatives that need a pronunciation guide on the backs of dried beans, pastas, added into pepper, breads, and we’re supposed to trust them on their miraculous new supplement, why? Because they aren’t part of the shady conglomerate food industry putting chemical additives into food to make it more addictive to fleece more money off people who are ponds over weight and still can’t get enough; particularly paying attention to the origins of thinking behind Soylent products. Allegedly Rob Rhinehart Silicon Valley computer coder turned supplement guru, who seriously needs lessons in work life balance, didn’t have time to eat full meals so taught himself physiological chemistry thus Soylent was born; prompting the proceeding comment, “He was too busy to eat real food, but not too busy to brush up on “physiological chemistry” to invent the equivalent of mixing coffee with soymilk and a couple multivitamins, and sell it for 40 bucks. Silicon Valley in a nutshell.” But they too are marketing a product for which they hope to get paid money, lots and lots of money; Salon lacking any background on why they aimed for a coffee substitute. Only real reason to do so, Soylent has everything except that energy jolt keeping overworked, harried America’s running at top speed on less and less sleep; never mind the dangers of self-taught and hey is this Ben Carson was taught chemistry by an angel, had an angel help him through his chem final, the Egyptian pyramids were alien grain silos crap again? Neither was their product, despite clever marketing on possible uses globally, designed with 3rd world needs in mind; contrast it to something like French imagined Plumpy-Nut, no water, no refrigeration required, contained in packages or tubs where children old enough to hold their head up can feed themselves versus a drink containing only 20% of daily nutrients not 25%, powder that mandates mixing, a bar with only 12.5 % nutrients, granted marketed as a ‘snack,’ mixing/storage pitcher and scoop available for cold, hard cash or PayPal of course. Soylent a cautionary tale, something to be viewed with a true skeptic’s eye considering recent revelations about supplements and supplement dangers including deaths from caffeine powder bought online, a list of 15 ingredients to avoid associated with side effects, allergic reactions to seizures, green tea extract powder sounding an awful lot like something either in Soylent or Coffiest. Exactly zero FDA regulation, no legal obligation to prove what’s listed on labels is actually what’s in a product, vitamins to weight loss aides; Soylent joins this pack as consumers have no way to verify its claims. Even bigger strike against it among the young tech set they hope catches on to the drink instead of eat craze, it’s not organic, not gluten free, it’s by definition one giant GMO and not allergen free; begging questions how are you going to nurture a nutrient staved North America when whole swaths can’t eat it, drink it because Soylent gives them hives, worse anaphylaxis? In fact Soylent is based on some of the top allergens in North America, soy and gluten, tapioca starch and beet sugar could too cause allergies potentially after long term use. Speaking of which, both tube feeding and baby formula, two public mentioned precursors to Soylent, are temporary; we’ve had years upon years practicing baby formula concoctions and sell multiple targeted products for infants with allergies, focus on brain growth, sensitive digestive systems and so on. Tube feeding is use in several medical cases to prolong life, nourish bodies but is a last resort, a stop gap, a step on the road to better health, accommodating debilitating disease effects, devastating accident aftermaths most prominent in Terri Schiavo’s controversial treatment; not a model for combatting obesity, lifestyle related illness, mass feeding growing populations of chronically hungry, starving, malnourished peoples. Returning exclusively to America and American needs, lifestyles Rhinehart’s assertion he didn’t have time for full meals, how exactly is this less time consuming, powder to drink, than the 6 minutes 10 seconds I personally spend cooking 2 frozen entrées regularly comprising my dinner? Healthy Choice, Smart Ones, Lean Cuisine, Stouffers Fit Kitchen offering low fat, low salt, low calorie options in varying sizes single serving to family, if you want them; more generic, savory, less healthy meals to choose from too. Curious in the course of writing what you see here, I randomly looked up ingredient lists housed on frozen dinner backs everywhere and was surprised at how many were real, if dried food stuffs, how little there was I couldn’t pronounce, a distinct lack of preservatives. These off a meatloaf and mashed potato Great Value Wal-Mart store brand dinner: Water, Potatoes, Cooked Beef, Cream, Bread Crumbs (Wheat Flour, Less Than 2% of The Following: Sugar, Yeast, Soybean Oil, Salt), Sour Cream (Cultured Cream, Enzyme), Onion, Cornstarch, Green Bell Pepper, Beef Flavor Base (Beef Flavorings [Beef, Flavors], Salt), Tomato Paste, Salt, Butter Flavor (Modified Cornstarch, Salt, Whey Solids, Nonfat Dry Milk, Dehydrated Butter, Natural Butter Flavor, Sugar, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Turmeric and Annatto [Color]), Sugar, Wheat Flour, Worcestershire Sauce (Distilled White Vinegar, Molasses, Water, Sugar, Onion, Anchovies, Salt, Garlic, Cloves, Tamarind Extract, Natural Flavorings, Chili Pepper Extract), Beef Flavor (Beef Stock, Yeast Extract, Flavoring, Salt, Beef Extract, Onion Extract), Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Dried Beef Stock, Milk (Vitamin D3 Added), Nonfat Dry Milk, Onion Powder, Spices, Garlic Powder. Want to maximize healthy eating and convenience, cook 1 entrée, take a bag of premade salad, dump in bowl, cut with scissors for ease of consumption, add healthiest vinaigrette dressing you can buy; should take about the same 3 minutes as the entrée’s cooking time, compliment with water or milk over alcohol or soda and you have a healthy, fairly cheap, if you are a Silicon Valley singleton cooking for one, meal that will take longer to eat than it did to ‘make.’ Healthy your hamburger helper by adding a favorite vegetable, take a noodle, rice side dish packet meant to be microwaved, boneless chicken breast cooked easily, expediently in a Forman grill and make a full entrée with a side of raw carrots. Then there’s the purely science fiction becoming science elements summed up nicely here, “Hmmm. So this guy named one product after the movie based (very loosely) on Harry Harrison’s novel, Make Room! Make Room! (The novel didn’t concentrate on Soylent Green; its origin didn’t seem to be a remarkable secret.) Then he named the spin-off product after another coffee substitute from Frederick Pohl’s The Space Merchants. Dystopian science fiction as marketing. Well, I’ve seen stranger things.” And if we’re going to use dystopian science fiction as a guide to what could happen to earth considering our current resource waste trajectory, man induced climate changes yada, yada, yada, which is silly, unscientific and seriously irresponsible even when just selling a food product, then let’s fully do so once more as a different cautionary tale. Only sci-fi nerds will remember short-lived NBC series Earth 2 where original earth has been so polluted, rendered so toxic most have been forced to live on space stations their entire lives; problem, children born here are dying by age 9 of a disease known simply as the syndrome. Meet desperate mother Devon Adair and her frantic attempt to save her son Ulysses dying from the syndrome; her last hope, an earthlike planet thousands of lightyears away. When they do manage to get there Ulysses, with the help of local terrestrial (extra-terrestrial life for us), is able to get out of the suit maintaining his life and be a normal boy, full life expectancy restored. Is it so hard to imagine Soylent 2.0 could have an identical long term effect shown at the beginning, consequences of messing with nature without understanding, could it be just as devastating as supplement horror stories, could we find in 50, 100 years there was something about nutrients stored in fruit, vegetables, meats breads that we needed, was made through the growth, mixing, cooking of the food itself, our bodies better metabolize benefits of actual food not swimming in a drink? Think tank moguls free to experiment on themselves, the rest of us will collectively pass thank you. We do know that if eating ever becomes an ‘optional,’ ‘recreational activity’ redundantly reserved for the rich they would immediately find it tough to impossible to go back to bland white sludge; ballooning up the moment they ingested anything with a caloric density above Soylent even if it was just cooked vegetables, whole grain pasta, beans. Studies following Biggest Loser contestants and metabolic rates just taught us that; shows starvation diet tactics, loading contestants up with drugs and throwing their completive drives into hyper mode resulted in significantly slowed metabolisms meaning too many times gaining all their weight back, weighing more years later than when they started. Foretelling should we go down that path, we’ll still have bloated, disgusting people horrible to sit by on the subway, necessitating larger clothing, more cloth to make them continuing to tax the environment, different diseases replacing the ones causing headaches now, potentially killing people at faster rates than ‘lifestyle’ today does if we back ourselves into a Soylient Green mirroring corner. But Soylent can replace any meal, is perfect for food stamp recipients, could replace food in developing countries if we only we would embrace it, projected cheaper than food at 1∕3 the cost. Who else is flashing back to more literary classics Nicholas Nickleby, Smike and orphanage lady’s spoon, scene in the motion picture adaptation doling out black sludge she calls cheaper than breakfast lunch and dinner? Is that what we’ve come to, is that what we think solves the world’s problems; Soylent is better because it costs a projected $200 a month and regular food costs a mean average $600? When should we or should we not eat food substitutes isn’t the right question, should we go for ultra-cheap or be decadent isn’t the right question; how do we produce food better is, how we reduce unneeded cost is?
To be challenged also among broad generalizations indicting our eating habits, ‘American diet’ as defined by who, ‘American diet’ according to who, surveys that are inaccurate by virtue of people who try to seem healthier than they are or by people who giggling-ly admit to eating too much McDonald’s, not keeping a daily, weekly food journal are unaware of the healthy choices they are making? Vast misconceptions Americans are always eating night and day no rhyme, reason or routine, misunderstandings overweight to obese persons do nothing all day but gorge on humongous amounts of high fat, salt sugar foods; when in reality they eat fairly sensible meals and their weight is largely unexplained apart from something else Americans refuse to acknowledge properly, age. Chronically youth obsessed even doctors appear to have no idea what bodies over 40 are supposed to look like, forget can look like, have no understanding of age related weight gain, age related illnesses including heart disease and diabetes which are symptoms our bodies at 40+ don’t work like they did at 25; helped by the media showing pictures of bloated, flabby guts on usually middle aged men and women warning that’s everyone when it’s truthfully not. ‘American diet’ as defined not strictly by people pointing to USDA recommendations on salt, sugar, saturated fats, trans fat danger, meat consumption, processed foods but by same flawed logic, like-minded people who recommend completely raw diets on the concept we’re leaching all vitamins, minerals and nutrition out of food when cooking it, if we don’t leave our vegetables crisp and our pasta perfectly andante, even when we do. A doctor who railed not merely against sugar, high fructose corn syrup, wanting to card children for soda when we can’t yet successfully card them for alcohol, but had a problem with orange juice as in squeezed from orange to glass by you the drinker. Enter junk science 101 coinciding with constant mixed information about health benefits attached to specific foods, harmfulness of highly desired edibles, benefits to key types of exercise in combatting X disease, exposing supposed truths about foods themselves. Exhibit A- a least nutritious vegetables celery seeming to top that list, not singularly as a main vehicle for fattier, unhealthier dips rather containing mostly water, cucumbers again mostly water and low on vitamins, minerals; others, added being on a dirty dozen of please don’t eat fruits and vegetables thanks to pesticide interference and high concentrations of the toxic chemicals, are warned away from because they are night shades, multi-colors of pepper, eggplant linked to inflammation key component in diabetes, heart disease. Bell peppers also “contain the alkaloid, solanine, which can disrupt nerve function and lead to twitching, convulsing and trembling. Bell peppers also pose a problem for joint health. Unfortunately, this vegetable is not recommended for people with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or people with any joint issues. Eggplant contains oxalates, a naturally occurring substance, that play a big role in causing kidney stones. People who have kidney or gallbladder issues or are prone to stones should stay away.” Spinach linked to gout and the aforementioned kidney stones unless you go organic, summer squash too without the organic alternative. Superfoods, a marketing ploy which could lead it chronic health issues, Goji berries may cause thyroid malfunction and arthritis flare-ups, quinoa is high fiber said to reduce cholesterol and boost weight loss instead that fiber density could irritate your gut. Making Soylent’s case for it, hardly; conversely reminding people we’ve eaten these things for years, people in biblical times ate meats and breads, vegetables and ‘everyone’ wasn’t fat, sick, inflamed, organic is the trend and still here we are; translation, we’re missing something. Exhibit B- Christian television nutrition expert linking sugar and cancer; however, it wasn’t just processed sugar shoved into everything today, people’s stereotyped constant consumption of cakes, cookies and soda. Most people know white potatoes, corn and peas are starches, carbs more than vegetables per say; she crossed the line though talking about the glycemic index of fruits apples, banana carrots being high in sugar, implied suggestion you stay away if seeking to avoid cancer. Looking at the 605 pound man drastically changing his life, plates representing what he ate, 3 red flags are readily apparent. 1-effects of childhood fat-shamming nick names which probably lead him to give up on a healthy life, being something other than ‘the big kid,’ why it serves a greater purpose than ‘political correctness’ to stop it. 2-who, what obese or normal sized person, actually eats like that daily, chicken nuggets by family sized bags full, fast-food sub sandwiches, doughnuts, half a gallon of milk, a 2 liter of soda, an aberration to the ‘gluttonous American diet;’ even on The Biggest Loser foods shown en-mass are liked foods, eaten too much, too often foods, as opposed to day in day out. 3rd and perhaps most important, apart from what is Quinto exactly, why, once he was eating right, walking 6 miles a day to get good, real, whole food, did dairy making him balloon up, gain weight? Why do viewers get the sense we’re back to asking why so many Americans are allergic to everything, going back to when Suzan Summers was peddling her latest book on fighting menopausal symptoms, talking, taking questionnaire allergy tests about things that made her bloated, itchy, cranky and why do we continue eating it? Or this ill-informed comment on Epi-pen price reporting and a girl with a laundry list of allergies, at least 2 causing deadly anaphylaxis—“Thanks CBS for rigging our election and leaving the average American to the vultures. For this story, the family was eating pizza…There’s your trouble. We are sick because we are eating foods that make us wormy. Hate to say it. All the foods your daughter must avoid are foods that cause A LOT of parasitic die off in the young girl. You must slowly remove the crap food from her diet. And then eat more real food. Cut the white flour and sugar. These foods have been stripped of all the stuff our body needs to fight parasites. Start giving her yogurt, full fat. For more advice, read stop the vicious cycle, the book that helped me.” Except they weren’t eating pizza from Dominos, Pizza Hut, Cici’s pizza, they were home making pizza because of the family allergies, veggie with fresh vegetables on top and Mexican, no cheese as it’s one of their allergies; who said she gets lots of sugar and white flower, although what she’s supposed to do for grains allergic to both wheat and soy is an unmentioned mystery, surprise, surprise. Plus assuming for a moment the 7 year old was full of parasites, parasite death, wouldn’t cause anaphylaxis, face and throat swelling, a baby covered in hives who’s just beginning solid food. Dido a comment response remarking on the amount of money spent on the Epi-pen but they won’t buy real whole food, “You do understand the logic here don’t you? You will spend that money on the drug you believe will keep you alive before you spend it on the expensive REAL food your body requires. This is The American Health Care System, In order to need the meds you must keep the diseases, diseases that would not exist with proper nutrition. SAD to say but if they can’t exploit your sickness for money they don’t care if you die. Americans believe these people go to work everyday to save lives, not exploited them.” Never mind eggs are real, milk is real, peanuts, tree nuts are real and natural and she can’t have them; never mind millions with no, very mild allergies counteracted by cutting edge exposure clinics, allergies in children grown out of with age. Yet here is predominate thinking, if we ate whole foods not additives we wouldn’t see this, wrong; interesting white people are by far the most effected, have the highest instance of allergy. Speaking of money, who and where are people spending $600 a month on food and for what household size; I as a single person spend roughly $200 on food same projected price as Soylent. My friend spends just under $900 a month feeding 6, 4 who are kids necessitating occasional treats, increased variety and kid friendly options. Lastly here, we know through solid science people can eat the same amount of fats, proteins carbs and don’t lose weight like they did as little as 30 years ago, but we don’t know WHY; stress, light at night and medications are all speculation behind ‘bad eating habits,’ but harried, strung out, jittery Americans gets less attention than fat ones. We now say a sedentary lifestyle is a death sentence, more unhealthy than smoking but standing desks are just trendy, don’t help with weight loss and studies touting their benefits are skewed. Short bursts of exercise won’t combat sedentary effects either but standing on the subway will lower fasting blood sugar. Instead of using more exposure clinic techniques where appropriate, attempting to get to the bottom of why people are suddenly allergic to food on the planet for hundreds of years, real exercise guidelines, people who can’t find the time to put food into a microwave, spoon, fork food into their mouths, want their meals drinkable because they can sit it next to their computers less chance of mess, give us Soylent.
And we’re starting to buy it as an alternative, as health for the unhealthy, as rations for prisoners and the destitute; we’ve forgotten why we do things the way we do, in the fervor for clean, whole food, no additives, colors, dyes, free range, farm raised anti-biotic free, organic hype left out is why we ever started putting unpronounceable chemicals in the food supply, that it wasn’t all convenience, advents of microwaves, TV dinners, sandwich makers, McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, ice cream. We put preservatives in foods so they last more than 1-3 days; there isn’t more food waste than already exists. Or that salt was the original preservative; salting jerky-ing meats, home canning vegetables kept them stored and edible through long winters, dry spells, nature induced shortages throughout the Little House on the Prairie years. We began iodizing table salt and’ marketing’ it to correct en mass iodine deficiency causing goiters (a bulge in the neck due to an enlarged thyroid), sensitivity to cold constipation, thyroid dysfunction, but more importantly developmental, intellectual delays in children; iodine deficiency resurging as health officials recommend reduction of salt intake, people reach for ‘healthier’ alternatives in seal salt and other sources absent precious iodine. We pasteurize, ‘cook’ milk to keep bacteria from the cow, its utters infecting what we drink, sickening unto death vulnerable infants, children; having heard of e-coli, salmonella we’ve divorced ourselves from its source, not completely our fault since it’s usually linked to some processing plant and in packaged food or vegetables exposed to contaminated water, cross contaminated prep areas improperly sanitized, undercooked meats found during the church social, family barbeque. These things come from raw meat, animal products, chiefly eggs, and milk; raw eggs, contrary to popular workout regiments, are unhealthy because they can carry deadly bacteria, hints new warning about ingestion of raw cookie dough containing thus raw egg. We process, equally pasteurize, sell from concentrate flavors, combination fruit juice to keep molds and other fungi from growing in them, prolong edibility to make it worth the money you paid for it in the store. Subsequently pesticides and herbicides (weed killers) weren’t merely the brain child of huge industrial farmers looking to amass more money (there is a reason the government doles out farm subsidies, farming is a sure way to the poor house) they were invented to keep bugs from eating whole swaths of crops like locusts, meaning farmer can’t gain his meager profit, people don’t have looked for vegetables on their plates and cost surrounding what is available is enormous. Herbicides kept weeds from robbing crops of needed soil components to grow, kept them from being chocked out before gaining a chance to sprout or bloom the expected fruit, vegetable. That isn’t to say large farming conglomerates haven’t taken advantage of said realities, there isn’t staggering overuse or that we wouldn’t do well to research natural pesticide, natural repellents crop munching bugs don’t like, barrier planting things choking weeds don’t, can’t come near, but let’s remember the need was real, their existence didn’t come solely from a greed dominated background. Otherwise we get what this woman found: a black widow in her organic grapes, or the brown recluses spilling forth from a pumpkin set to be carved for Halloween last year. Anti-biotics seen as a way to keep animals sold to grocery stores as food, ending up slabs in the refrigerated section of super markets disease free particularly in the days of mad cow scares and chances it could contaminate U.S. beef supplies, before we know all those antibiotics in meat could have adverse effects on the end consumer; hormones were added as a component of animal feed to produce bigger chickens, larger cuts of beef to keep pace with demand. Growing incentive to localize meat production; answer are there indigenous animals that when prepared a certain way taste like American beef, poultry, can selective breeding be used in animal and vegetable growth taking bigger, hardier, more desired specimens, to use a scientific word, and cross pollinate or breed them for wanted outcomes sans hormones, how can mega farms breeding poultry, beef, pork for our dinner table adapt a more free range environment necessitating less, no anti-biotics? Extended disconnection from our food supply, knowledge of where our food actually comes from sans a store, or just plain ignorance, we’ve forgotten foods, parts of foods that are poison in certain states. Case in point our all raw food craze has some potential damning side effects, fruit pits (cherries most commonly), elderberry when uncooked, raw lima beans and bitter almonds all contain toxic elements usually associated with cyanide; red kidney beans contain phytohaemagglutinin, a toxin causing severe nausea killing lab mice after 2 weeks. Both beans and elderberry must be cooked, the kidney variety boiled for at minimum 10 minutes, why elderberry is popular in jams that require cooking, to be safely edible. Raw honey, often a replacement for refined white sugar, viewed healthier than processed brown sugar and a ‘natural’ alternative, “because it doesn’t go through the pasteurization process in which harmful toxins are killed, unpasteurized honey often contains grayanotoxin. That can lead to dizziness, weakness, excessive sweating, nausea, and vomiting that last for 24 hours. Typically just one tablespoon of concentrated grayanotoxin can cause the symptoms above. Consuming multiple tablespoons would be a bad idea. Raw cashews you might find in a supermarket are not actually raw, as they’ve been steamed to remove the urushiol, a chemical also found in poison ivy. This chemical can cause the same effect as poison ivy, or poison oak. High levels of urushiol can supposedly prove fatal. People who are allergic to poison ivy are likely to have a fatal allergic reaction to eating actual raw cashews. Nutmeg is actually a hallucinogenic. Yes, you can trip on it, but it’s said that eating just 0.2 oz. of nutmeg could lead to convulsions, and 0.3 oz. could lead to seizures. Eating one whole will supposedly lead to a type of “nutmeg psychosis,” which includes a sense of impending doom.” Granted all U.S. almonds are sweet but beware exotic fruits; Jamaican Ackee unripe equals poison harboring “toxins hypoglycin A and hypoglycin B. In the body, hypoglycin is converted to methylenecyclopropyl acetic acid, which can lead to vomiting, lethargy, unconsciousness, coma and even death. In 2011, ackee killed 23 Jamaicans and sickened 194 over a period of just three months. Don’t worry, ackee is totally safe when it’s ripe”. [Sic] Rhubarb leaves, not to be confused with the stalked routinely used in pie baring its name, causes kidney stones, the ‘eyes’ (sprouts), stems or leaves of standard potatoes hold Glycoalkaloids causing cramping, diarrhea, confused headaches and the familiar by now refrain coma or death, tomato stems, leaves cause the same embarrassing toilet sending symptoms sans death threats. Again can be heard the question, are you making Soylent’s case for it; one last time no, rather making the case all cooked foods aren’t bad for you and all raw foods aren’t good for you. Knowing the difference is just as important as knowing the glycemic index of your favorite food, heeding warnings about trans, saturated fats, processed meats, avoiding artificial fillers. We’ve conveniently forgotten as weight and so called lifestyle related diseases have become they newest class and character judgements to attack people, create an informal tiered system of access to resources people ate processed things as far back as the 1950’s and as late as the 1970’s before ‘everyone’ was fat, overweight, obese. Because that’s what it has become another facet of class warfare on our plates, as if the poor, less advantaged didn’t have a heard enough time meeting their basic needs, or rich people through their vast resources somehow can avoid genetics, not be fat ever, not have a weight problem ever, as if. It is now trendy and profitable to sell organic, free range, ant-biotic, hormone free this, that and something else, market clean living as health and your social standing to morality is determined by it despite larger bone structures, taller people, positive effects of good nutrition, medical problems completely remove from ‘what you’re eating, the good you’re not eating’ mindset products of a culture that “promotes the ideal that a virtuous life is one devoted to racking up stats on our fitness apps or spending a Sallie Mae payment at the Whole Foods, and the evidence of that ideal is in our slim hips and immaculate abs. The Ladies Who Lunch have given up their martinis at noon for Cross-Fit and kale. Healthy living has become a new mode of conspicuous consumption, with thin, yoga-toned bodies emblematic of one’s social standing: Cheap-and-easy fried foods are for the poor and uneducated, people who couldn’t possibly spell serotonin, let alone realize that 30-to-40 minutes of rigorous cardiovascular exercise will boost their levels of it. Our culture has always found ways to problematize poor people and fat people, often conflating the two groups in the terrible stereotypes of the Pepsi-swilling welfare queen, and the Cheeto-munching, NASCAR-loving boogeyman who willfully inflates healthcare costs for everyone with his abominable laziness. The great unforgivable ugliness of these types is their perceived lack of virtue: They don’t have the hustle or the grind to make something better of themselves, something more productive. Something useful. People who can afford to spend top dollar on personal trainers and “clean eating” must, by contrast, be go-getters, the holders of high-paying jobs with impressive titles. Thin bodies, or “healthy bodies,” are, therefore, associated with industriousness—which makes them inherently more worthy, more respectable. Clean eating is really about the purity of the soul. And if we are what we eat, then healthiness is close to godliness. Or, as Sondra Kronberg, MS, RD, CEDRD, a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) and executive director of the Eating Disorder Treatment Collaborative, puts it, “People are no longer going to church, they’re going to the gym every day.” Over the past several years, Kronberg has seen an uptick in disordered eating that is fixated on the healthiness and wholesomeness of foods consumed: “People idolize fitness,” she says. Though (often untenable) thinness has been the look du jour (and by du jour I mean for the past several decades), there’s been a shift from a standard born of the cigarettes-and-black-coffee diet to an emphasis on a hard body forged through clean eating and hours of treating hot yoga like a blood sport.” Why we now sell foodie baby food designed to keep young ones from being picky eaters even if it does present a choking hazard for the little tots, contain many more exotic, non-native foods to become allergens and people too busy ‘doing something useful,’ to eat, creating another social media platform or gadget to make sure we don’t have to move off our fat behinds, gave us Soylent.
Still, despite the class realities, the impracticality realities an article going back as far as 2010 asked readers if they would try/eat Soylent green based on the ‘benevolent’ way it was made, dying people were never in any pain, euthanized listening to peaceful nature sounds, circumstances in that there is no food and nowhere to put dead bodies, cremation only contributing to global warming that previously facilitated the death of everything including ocean plankton, then a series of apoca-fic scenarios again asking if you would eat Soylent Green under these conditions? An equally abhorrent instance of science without ethics; no I would not eat Soylent Green because cannibalism, no matter how ‘humane,’ is wrong and if humanity has devolved to eating itself then maybe it should die. Alerting us to flaws in the science of science fiction used to ‘better’ the world through Soylent 2.0; firstly this population explosion people keep referring to when global birthrates are dropping, expected to level off by some projections around the year 2050. Declining birthrates representing tangible threats to economic growth and societal function in say Japan that also lacks nurses and means to care for the aged. U.S. economic factors as little as 5 years ago had women scaling back on the number of children they planned to have, delaying marriage; Swedes are investigating their citizens for sexual dysfunction and what it means for public health, political implications. Seemingly silly to be sure but it’s safe to say at least currently they won’t overpopulate themselves. Secondly 3rd world concerns, obliviously missed is they have so many children for a lack of sex education and birth control, to say nothing of most don’t make it to the age of 5, let alone past that. Do we need to do things to better enhance those chances of survival, vaccines, sanitation, infrastructure, political stability, in the name of compassion, decency and the humanity we claim to have, absolutely, but this remains the way things are, the way things will be for the coming decade or 2 independent projects stemming from entities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. So stop sounding the alarm about what’s not happening, likely to happen and certainly not by virtue of the 3rd world, our go to scapegoat in blame. Thirdly add in genetic disease that will kill people before their time, deaths due to natural calamities fires, floods, earthquakes, one just had in Italy on Wednesday manifesting a 159 person and rising death toll, accidents, homicides and we needn’t fear being overpopulated if we implement, primarily in westernized nations, other safeguards to resources, food production and environmental care. Death rates globally, old age, and the reality, no matter how many interventions we have, no matter how much science advances, people will die, death is, as cliché as it sounds, part of life, part of a cycle mean we aren’t in danger of the population overload always portrayed in dooms day science fiction novels. Further, if people in Soylent Green have managed to survive global warming severe enough to kill all plant life, hot enough to see people profusely sweat constantly, refine a process turning dead people into nutrition meeting food, then they had opportunities to escape that fate, build spacecraft to find another habitable planet, try reversing the damage before devising their existing system. We don’t know where science will take us in 20, 50 years; we may have developed a vacuum to suck excess greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, help reverse their currently ongoing negative chemical reactions with the planet or discover it was indeed cyclical, natural and part of normal planetary aging. Other science fiction holds a much more positive view of earth’s future think Star Trek, and if we’re starting to get the data pads from there, beginning to build light sabers in science labels al-a Star Wars, what else can we do and to what ends toward saving the planet furthering the human existence and its betterment? Just as Soylent 2.0 could do other things, getting to their core motivation in creating a drinkable meal saving time, get a work life balance that functions for you, recognize you probably can’t out do Mark Zuckerberg, the top leader in your industry, and you shouldn’t try, if you create a good product minding trends in apps or whatever your developing, it won’t matter. Allowing you time for rudimentary cooking, use of a microwave and to eat solid food. Soylent developers could easily turn their talents to improving any one of the things mentioned throughout the piece related to crop strengthening, selective breeding bigger food animals, enhancing their food supplies the right, natural way, increasing efficacy decreasing greenhouse gas, broadening our understand of how earth and its ecosystem truly work instead of guessing, which is the lion’s share of what we’re doing. Fortunately for food eaters everywhere who want to remain so, culinary connoisseurs and studiers of gastronomy who want to continue giving restaurant goers food-gasm’s to people who want family meal times to remain a staple in their home, food to be one of the simple pleasures in life, Soylent 2.0 shows all the markers of a tech fad best described “This will be remembered as some form of pets.com – hey, remember when Silicon Valley was investing billions in drinkable garbage? By the way, food is one the great things to savor in life – even a slightly well made meal is a chance to reflect on our connection to nature. Really. Not a Alice Waters slow food thing. But just – people – eat f*cking food already. Even if you are morally opposed to meat or its carbon footprint. But leave it to change-the-world disruptors to bring us our tech paradise complete with replacing food with sloggy white glue. Lovely. I can understand Soylent for people climbing Mt. Everest. You’re doing something epically insane. You might as well drink Vitamin Glue. Probably can’t even spare the energy to break down solid food anyway. Perhaps soylent will be necessary when the earth reaches it’s 11 billion carrying capacity and we Iive in a MadMax dystopian hellscape. But until then, I’ll just take enough time in the day to eat real food. And try to keep it local and sustainable as much as I can. Which admittedly is less than I wish it were. [Sic] Or, “I’m not sure what’s dumber, this guy’s ideas or the people crowd funding his stupid ideas.” It won’t catch on and normal people won’t touch it any more than they touch McDonald’s pink slime once made aware of it; thank god for small favors.