Over the course of two weeks, I did cheat with five restaurant meals. Two at Chipotle and one each at Panda Express, Kim Long Pho, and Weera Thai . I also cooked my famous lentil, tomatillo, and chaya soup on one occasion. I supplemented my Soylent smoothie diet each day with occasional handfuls of peanuts, sunflowers, and pellet-like chia cereal. Bouillon. Once in a blue moon a small packet of honey mustard pretzel sticks.
This despite best intentions––the bottom line is that I felt myself lacking in energy after a day or two of strictly Soylent smoothie and needed to expand my dietary repertoire. (The oddest manifestation of the Soylent diet is that I am often not quite sure whether I am hungry or not. Without the obvious taste bud inputs urging consumption, one must listen very closely to the stomach indeed). Another interesting side note: when eating only Soylent I am sometimes more aware of my skeleton, of the way the teeth hinge on the jaw, etc. I think it means my body is becoming more attuned to its underlying structure. On the flip side, I am more aware of fatigue. My body is in "conserve energy" mode because it got cut off from the excess caloric intake it was used to. And it still has lingering pockets of fat to support. This is why I believe the half-assed 80% Soylent regimen is best this time around––the worst thing I could do would be to go cold turkey from rich foods and lose too much weight. After the diet ended, my body would want to push up caloric intake to compensate and support those still-existing fatty pockets.
The most recent point of dietary comparison I have with the Soylent regimen is when I stayed in Tulum in April, camping at the beach for a month. Forty minutes by bicycle from the nearest supermarket and facing what seemed pretty high food prices (from a camping perspective), I subsisted largely on lentil soup, avocado sandwiches, cereal, and various fruits. I was more active than in super-hot summer Las Vegas, jogging on the beach and swimming each evening, plus tooling around on beach cruiser. Bottom line: I lost a fair amount of weight in what I felt was a sustainable way. I never consciously limited how much lentil soup I ate, because at a certain point the taste buds and stomach decided I had had enough legumes and vegetables). I do appreciate Soylent for the crash start it gave me in returning to a sustainable diet stateside––it is way too easy to overeat here (one reason beyond a preponderance of cheap food and oversized restaurant portions, is that eating takes the place of conversation and music, the types of interactions that truly satisfy).
* re: the Martian - this is a book that I thought started strong. An unlikely premise, made realistic. Andy Weir's style was not obtrusive, which is a compliment in a way. I even groaned through the author's puns and lame pop culture references. The survival aspect of the story was simply so well detailed. I felt like I was there, learning what it would take for survival in an extraterrestrial environment. Unfortunately, the author glossed way too quickly over the aspects of the narrative I found most interesting. Namely, how one would grow things on Mars while maintaining habitable atmosphere within an enclosed structure. Instead of bringing me from the macro to the micro aspects of existence (what is one day of single-minded work, utter monotony, really like?) Weir gave me series upon series of math, chemistry, and physics problems that needed solving. Yesterday. Or the hab was going to blow up.
The book lost me as an engaged reader when it switched to Earth. It was not only the surface-level depiction of the astronaut's loved ones and colleagues. The "Robinson Crusoe," "Typee," "Without A Trace," "Castaway" survival in the middle of nowhere aspect that I enjoyed had been lost. His existential activities were revealed as a reality show watched eagerly by millions of earthlings through NASA satellite feeds each day. I felt depersonalized as a reader, as if artistic creation had been commodified. (This is one reason why I have never sought to force commodification of my own creative endeavors. Better to let it flow without limits, a Martian making one's own livable habitat. If they won't pay you for it, you must be doing something right.)
Ah shit. I just thought up a better Martian, probably an HBO series. Which I will never get around to working on. Like Tarantino, I have too many projects on my plate. And yes, I am hopeful of having him direct Cowachunga as his 10th movie.