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Why I'm living on Soylent for a month, even though it's now banned in Canada

Soylent
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images
Soylent

It's been a bumpy ride for the start-up Soylent, which Rob Rhinehart founded in 2013.

The meal-replacement shake — meant to be a healthy, easy and cheap way for people to get their necessary calories — has been called the "food of the future." And the company has raised an impressive $74.5 million, $50 million of which came earlier this year.

It also temporarily halted some sales in 2016 because the product was making people sick. Most recently, Canada banned Soylent over its nutrition claims.

Still, I'm still intrigued by the product, for a few reasons:

1. It's quick and easy. While I find cooking satisfying, it's also incredibly time consuming. With Soylent, you simply mix the powder with water. No grocery shopping; no meal prep; and, best of all, no dirty dishes.

Plus, drinking my meals will mean fewer decisions I have to make throughout the day. There's something to be said for cutting out the less meaningful choices, like what you're going to eat for breakfast or wear to work.

Billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and John Paul DeJoria routinely wear the same thing to avoid a phenomenon known as decision fatigue, which describes the way choices become harder and harder as a day goes on and your finite store of energy gets depleted.

In theory, by spending less time worrying about what to eat, I'll be able to apply more energy to important things like work and relationships.

2. It's cheap. Soylent will not only save me time, it'll save me money. The powder costs $1.54 per 400 kcal. That's about $3 per meal. Not bad.

3. It's all the rage in the tech world. The "hacker meal" became popular in Silicon Valley for busy techies who wanted to get their necessary calories without spending too much time away from their computers.

As the New York Times reports: "The time wasted by eating is, in Silicon Valley parlance, a 'pain point' even for the highest echelon of techie. Elon Musk, Tesla's founder, once said, 'If there was a way that I couldn't 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.'"

That's the problem Soylent claims to solve, and I'm curious enough to try it out.

The company recommends easing your way into using the product: "We suggest starting the use of Soylent products with a single meal per week then increasing you intake in subsequent weeks."

That's what I plan to do: I'll consume it for breakfast for one week, work my way up to an all-Soylent diet and see if I can last on it for a month.

While Soylent doesn't meet Canada's national standards for "meal replacement," it's been life-changing for some.

Eric Shashoua, the founder and CEO of Kiwi for Gmail tells Business Insider that Soylent has freed up a bunch of his time for "more meaningful" pursuits, increased his productivity and "massively changed" his life.

Could it change mine? It's worth a shot.

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