(Charlton Hestons's take on Soylent)
If you haven’t heard, there is quite a bit of buzz on the interwebs about this new product called Soylent. Now, there are some obvious tongue and cheek jokes to be made about references to the 1970s movie and eating people. In a more perfect world, we’d be above that, but we’re not.....so check out the fun clip from the movie we posted above. We reached out to our good friend Karen Pendegrass (Author of Eat Paleo Save the World) to get her reaction. She is brimming with knowledge concerning hormone interaction and species appropriate diets. And of course, I weighed in as a chef.
In the past few days and weeks, there has been tons of talk on both sides of the issue. The inventor of Soylent addressed these in a recent blog post. Check it out here http://robrhinehart.com/. I’d say my favorite quote from this blog is where he equates how the people who do great things don’t really care about food. Emerson and Chomsky were the examples he used....listen, if you start churning out stuff like Ralph and Noam, skip you meals and I’ll make your damn dinner! Until then, eat your fucking vegetables. How he doesn’t see the hubris in his comments is beyond me but lets just stick to the facts for now. Below is my summation on it all, along with Karen’s. We welcome your feedback, as I’m sure he does. Enjoy! Chef Pete - This fucking soylent thing is the zenith of our nutritional hubris. It’s crazy to me that with as far as we have come in the past few years, ideas like this still get attention and a crap ton of money from fundraising sites. Michael Pollan in “Omnivores Dilemma” makes some key points; basically, the whole path of nutrition science has been to get to a place where things like Soylent are what we consume for our calories. Breaking down food into it’s basic components, chemical by chemical and then synthesizing them in a lab somewhere for us to consume in all its opaque wall paper slurry glory. What his premise in the book is however, one that I strongly agree with, is that we have failed massively at this. We don’t quite see the forest for the trees, and because of this our attempts have gotten us to a place where people are fat and sick. Ever since we crawled down out of trees millions of years ago, we’ve had no trouble eating a healthy omnivorous diet. Yet in the past 100+ years, we’ve convinced ourselves that food, what sustains our conscious existence as beings in this universe, can be broken down into a pill or some shit called Soylent. Maybe it’s because I’m a chef and I know in my soul that food is something we are deeply connected to, or maybe it’s because I don’t think a bunch of twenty something college kids being content with this crap is convincing, but I’m horrified. Not so much by the idea, but by how much funding it’s gotten. It will never cease to amaze me how quick people will flock to a new miracle “food supplement”, so they can waste time on something that won’t matter. Do you really think, however many years from now, those guys are on their deathbed and they’ll think “I’m so glad I didn’t waste time making and eating bacon, ribeyes, fennel, heirloom tomatoes and perfectly ripe peaches, it gave me so much more time for meetings and Facebook, thanks Soylent"? Fuck no, and neither will you. Karen Pendergrass - Karen Pendergrass, Author of Eat Paleo Save the World has this to say (or rant), "Do you know why the world is so Anti-rBST and Anti-rBGH? Because it's an *exogenous* hormone and we don’t want to get hormones from eating a hamburger. Do you know why people aren’t anti-exogenous-hormones-in-soy? I can't answer that... because it makes no effing sense. Either people’s brains have gone on strike, or they don’t actually mind exogenous phytoestrogens like diadzein and genistein in their food anymore. Maybe they aren’t phased by hypogonadism (a.k.a. shrinknut), gynecomastia (a.k.a. manboob), or decreased sex drive (a.k.a. pissed-off-significant-other). Furthermore, shopping for groceries isn’t *that* hard. We aren’t babies. We don’t need formula. People who gave to that campaign need a hard slap in the face with reality. Reality made out of a brick."I feel we have pretty much summed up our take on Soylent. You see, we take out all the work of preparing the food for our clients, so it’s a non sequitur. Karen’s point is that it’s really, really bad for you. My point is that’s it’s not fucking food. If you are like Rob and don’t get bored with the same thing every day, don’t enjoy the flavors that come with farm fresh vegetables and meats, or really believe that they have successfully engineered a better alternative to food, have at that Soylent.