Hundreds of people have asked me about Soylent, a controversial Silicon Valley team trying to replace food with a grayish liquid.
“Does it really deliver all the nutrients the human body needs?”
“Is it safe?”
“Why hasn’t anyone tried this before?” [Hint: they have]
And most often: “What do you think of Soylent?”
Serendipitously, four or so weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Shane Snow, a frequent contributor to Wired and Fast Company:
I’m sure you have seen the buzz about the food-hacking movement, where a couple of Silicon Valley techies have been creating Matrix-style food replacement formulas for “optimum” chemical nutrition. Soylent.me, in particular, has been buzzing like crazy, having raised $800k in a Kickstarter-like campaign.
But nobody (besides the creators) has gotten his or her hands on any yet.
Naturally, we had to do an experiment.
This post describes the longest non-employee trial of Soylent to date (two weeks without food), including before-and-after data such as:
I share my thoughts in the AFTERWORD and occasionally in brackets, but this article focuses on Shane’s experience and data. Please also note that this is *not* a Soylent take-down piece. I hope they succeed.
That said, there are some issues. I expect the debate on Soylent to be fierce, so please leave your thoughts in the comments. I’ll encourage the Soylent founders to answer as many questions as they can. From all sides, I’m most interested in studies or historical precedent that can be cited, but logical arguments are fine.
Also, a quick clarification: There is a bit of soy lecithin (an emulsifier) in Soylent, but soy is not a main ingredient, which is understandably confusing.
Getting your mom or dad to take you seriously? To stop eating white bread or drinking 64-ounce sodas? That can seem impossible.
Loved ones — whether family, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, or otherwise — can be sensitive. The people who need help most often won’t accept it, especially from those closest to them.
So what to do?
This post gives a real-world example from Darya Pino Rose, PhD. I’ve known and followed Darya for years. Her PhD is in neuroscience from USCF, and she champions a whole-food-based approach to nutrition that avoids pills and powders. This combination produces fascinating results.
The below story, from her new book Foodist, shows exactly how she transformed her dad’s health without butting heads with him… and how you can do the same for your loved ones.
Do you have any tricks that have worked with your family or friends? Please share in the comments!
Note: For the purposes of this post, a “foodist” is someone who uses real food and real science to lose weight permanently.
The very first Quantified Self meetup, held at Kevin Kelly’s home. Here, Dr. Seth Roberts is speaking, and I’m seated third from the right. (Photo: Kevin Kelly)
Below are the notes I took at the very first Quantified Self meet-up on 9/10/08.
It was held in the picturesque home of Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of WIRED magazine. Surrounded by books, wood paneling, and white boards, we had one hell of a jam session.
From that small, 28-person gathering, “QS” has since grown into a pop-culture term and international phenomenon, with organizations in more than 20 countries. Forbes has even called 2013 “The Year of the Quantified Self.”
In 2012, Merrell themselves noticed that I wore Merrell. DMs were sent, and the seeds of a partnership were born. Today, I’m thrilled to formally announce that I’m collaborating with Merrell in 2013 to get more people outdoors. Of course, they want to move product, but I’m happy to help. Why? Because I already love their stuff, and the new minimal shoes are precisely what I wanted and wrote about in The 4-Hour Body. The soles of the M Connect line are designed by Vibram but less socially awkward than their Gecko-feet variety, which I’d stopped wearing.
I’ll be doing a lot with Merrell using their Twitter and Facebook accounts (keep reading), so you might want to follow them here: Merrell Twitter Merrell Facebook
I’d also like to give away some shoes! Just answer both of these questions in the comments below:
- What does “connection” mean to you?
- What are your favorite bodyweight-only exercises?
The best 10 responses will get 10 pairs (one pair each) of Merrell shoes: 8 domestic US winners and 2 international winners. All answers are due no later than 5pm PST on Tuesday, March 12.
Live Events and Q&A — Saturday and Monday
I will be doing a few live events today, Saturday:
Then, next Monday (March 11), a free 2-hour Q&A on Twitter:
Here’s how it works:
- Go to @merrelloutside and follow them.
- Starting 9pm EST, ask any questions you like in the following format “@tferriss @merrelloutside [Insert question]?” Anything is fair game, and I’ll do my best to answer as many as possible.
His publicly stated goal is to retire as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and, at a record of 23-2, ESPN currently ranks him as the #3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. I think he’ll get there.
His intellect–and consistency–is what separates him from the brawlers. He has a scientific approach to winning.
This isn’t limited to training. He considers nutrition a critical part of his fight prep, just as important as being in the cage. In this respect, 2009 marked an inflection point. That year, after successfully defending his Welterweight title in his second fight against BJ Penn, GSP hired Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition to help him gain lean muscle tissue and improve his recovery abilities. Berardi, in charge of the nutrient science, recommended that GSP hire Jennifer Nickel and Rosario “Ross” Gurreri, two chefs in the Montreal area who worked at Cavalli and Bice restaurants, for his meal preparation.
In the next 8 weeks, GSP gained approximately 12 pounds of lean muscle and bulked up to 195 pounds. His upgraded speed and power helped him to dominate every subsequent opponent, posting a 5-0 record since 2009.
This post will walk you through how GSP ate during his 2009 transformation… Read More
Ricardo Arias – 410 pounds to 211.6 pounds, for a loss of 198.4 pounds. But is he an anomaly? Sidenote: the black pants in the after pic (56 portly-long/60+ inch waist) fit him tightly at 410.
How many “how-to” books actually get read?
Historically, no one has known. Now, it’s possible to get an idea by looking at how many digital highlights a book has, and perhaps Amazon will someday provide data on how many people finish Kindle editions.
Taking it a step further: how many of the books actually get used?
This is tricky. Patients routinely ignore prescribed drugs, estimated to result in 125,000 deaths a year from cardiovascular disease alone, so it’s hard to imagine books are better followed. But how to know for sure?
The answer is: you have to track it.
When The 4-Hour Body (4HB) was published, it was met with sharp criticism, including:
- It’s impossible to lose more than 2 pounds of fat per week!
- It’s impossible to gain 20+ pounds of muscle in a month!
- It’s impossible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time!
Fortunately, the “impossible” (circling the globe, breaking the 4-minute mile, reaching the moon, etc.) needs just one exception to be proven possible.
Since late 2010, new research and publications have supported many of the 4HB chapters that started with self-experiments (e.g. The New York Times and “brown fat,” cold exposure for fat loss, etc.). For all chapters, readers have outpaced my successes with their own. Here are several 100+ pound case studies.
But, the skeptics will rightly ask: Does it work for the general public, not just a handful of standouts?
This post will cover the first wide-scale distributed studies of The 4-Hour Body, which involved 3,500 people over 4 weeks. I’ll also include a few individual examples and measurements.
Here’s our rough table of contents:
- Case Study: 200 Pounds Lost
- The 4-Hour Body – Summary of Results with 3,500 People
- The Winner of The 4-Week Challenge: Female Before-and-After
- An Opportunity: Win Money By Losing Weight… Read More
Many readers have lost 150+ pounds using The Slow-Carb Diet®. How can you lose at least 4%?
What if you could make dieting failure-proof? What if I could guarantee that you’d lose that last handful of abdominal fat?
Today marks my best attempt to do just that. The target is to collectively lose 1,000,000 pounds of fat in the next 28 days. Along with it, I’d like to offer a $1,000,000 pot — one of several incentives.
Based on behavioral change research (by people like Stanford’s BJ Fogg), as well as my own experimentation with thousands of readers, there are three critical ingredients typically missing from dieting:
- Stakes — Some type of loss-aversion and real accountability - Rewards — Reinforcement from support groups and finances - Minimalism — Doing the least necessary, not the most possible. The latter fails quickly.
I’ve checked off all three personally many times. Exhibit A: Fat “Peanut Butter Sandwiches” Tim versus current Tim:
But now it’s time to check off all three on a massive scale. I’ve never seen it done before, and that’s exciting.
From 10/23 to 11/16 — Game Time
For the next four weeks, from Tuesday, October 23rd to Friday, November 16th, I’m partnering with Lift and DietBet to create The 4-Hour Body Challenge.
When you diet alone, nobody’s holding your feet to the fire. There’s nothing stopping you from saying, “I’ll do it next month.” But when you compete with others, especially with money on the line, it focuses you on a goal like nothing else. It’s strict accountability wrapped in a game.
This is a short 20-minute interview from this week’s WIRED “Living By Numbers” Health Conference. It was a great event, and one of my favorite writers, Clive Thompson, interviewed me on how I track my life. Included are questions about the future of self-experimentation.
What would you like to know more about? Please let me know in the comments.
Odds and Ends: The 4-Hour Chef – Promote Your Product, Service, or Company?
Would you like to get your product or service in front of 1,000,000+ unique monthly readers… with an average annual income of $75K+? This blog has that audience.
Patrick lost more than 100 pounds on The Slow-Carb Diet.
I find writing very, very difficult.
While on book deadline (right now, for instance), I suffer dramatic ups and downs. In my darkest hours, I re-read reader success stories that have been sent to me. It makes the entire rollercoaster worth it.
This post will detail how readers have lost well over 100 pounds on The Slow-Carb Diet®. It was sparked by an email I received a few weeks ago:
“I just wanted to sincerely thank Tim for taking the time to research and write The 4-Hour Body. My mom, in her late 60′s, lost 45 lbs and got off her high blood pressure meds that she had been on for 20+ years. She did all this in about 3 months. This means that I get to have her around for a long time.”
Anyone can lose hope, and many people do when trying to lose weight. The Slow-Carb Diet (SCD) works almost beyond belief, and it affects much more than appearance. The basic rules are simple:
Rule #1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white). This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains. If you have to ask, don’t eat it. Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. You already do this; you’re just picking new default meals. Rule #3: Don’t drink calories. Exception: 1-2 glasses of dry red wine per night is allowed. Rule #4: Don’t eat fruit. (Fructose –> glycerol phosphate –> more bodyfat, more or less.) Avocado and tomatoes are excepted. Rule #5: Take one day off per week and go nuts. I choose and recommend Saturday.
Comprehensive step-by-step details, including Q&As and troubleshooting, can be found in The 4-Hour Body, but the above outline is often enough to lose 20 pounds in a month, drop two clothing sizes, or more.
The SCD works for both women and men. Maria Rider (pictured below) is over 40 years of age and a mother. As she put it to me, she’d always been “the heavy mom.” Now she’s seen differently: “I haven’t seen this weight since my college years! I just wish you’d written the book 20 years ago!”
Last we spoke, she had dropped from 247 pounds to 122 pounds, for a loss thus far of 125 pounds. Her husband has also lost 56 pounds.
The SCD is also effective for going from “normal” to very, very fit, as MP shows:
The same exact rules apply. No differences whatsoever.
Next, we’ll meet Ricardo A, in depth. Ricardo first reached out to me via email. It began with… Read More