Welcome to the blog for Colgate University's interdisciplinary course on food. This is the place to keep up with what students in the course are experiencing in their work at Common Thread Community Farm and through their everyday encounters with food.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Liquid Diet the Food of the Future?

One of the newest food trends is the consumption of powdered meals. Since many people struggle with the amount of time and money it takes to make nutritious meals, brands like Soylent and Ambronite, have created products to deal with this issue. These kinds of meals involve mixing a powder with water and drinking it instead of a normal meal. Although these brands promise that this way of eating is perfectly safe and nutritiously superior to the usual American meal, many people are reluctant to make the switch.

Soylent was founded by 25-year-old Rob Rhinehart and his friends after they were struggling to get the necessary nutrients and calories while balancing jobs, budgets, and time. Although Rhinehart does not have a background in science, he researched nutrition and found, “thirty-five nutrients required for survival” (Widdicombe 2014). From these 35 nutrients in their simplified and chemical form, Rhinehart concocted his nutritiously balanced, liquid meal. While developing Soylent, Rhinehart lived on the product for four months straight, stating that he felt extremely healthy while following the all-liquid diet. Besides health factors, giving up food can also lead to social and psychological consequences. It is difficult for many to picture, “a world devoid of pizza parlors and taco stands—our kitchens stocked with beige powder instead of banana bread, our spaghetti nights and ice-cream socials replaced by evenings sipping sludge” (Widdicombe 2014). Since food is a big part of our social lives, taking it out of our lives could lead to major changes in our society and how we interact with each other. 

The other major food replacement product, Ambronite, is similar to Soylent but is organic and features more ingredients that we consider food, rather than a combination of chemicals. Since it is organic, its price tag is slightly higher than Soylent. A bag of Ambronite, which contains a full meal, is about $9, while a bag of Soylent is about $4.

Although they’re controversial, meal replacement drinks can help solve worldwide hunger issues. These meals claim to provide total nutrition in a package that is easily transportable and less perishable than most traditional foods. The issue with adopting a completely liquid diet is that it can dramatically change how people socialize. Food is an important part of community formation and eating meals is an activity that people really enjoy. By taking meals away for the purpose of increasing efficiency, it is possible that the culture human society can shift toward becoming even more work crazed than it is today. While liquid meals can help save time and money, they could also lead to unhealthy effects if humans were to completely abandon food.

More information on these two brands can be found on their websites:

Widdicombe, Lizzie. "The End of Food - The New Yorker." The New Yorker. Conde Nast, 12 May 2014. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/05/12/the-end-of-food?currentPage=all>.

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