What is Soylent?

What is Soylent?Today I heard about Soylent for the first time, but apparently it’s been a bit of a “thing” on the Internet for a while now. At it’s core, Soylent is a beverage you drink each day in place of eating food. You can survive by drinking only Soylent as it was created to include all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients one would need, but in an efficient delivery system.

Soylent is the creation of 24 year old software developer by the name of Rob Rhinehart. Rob was looking for a way to lead a healthier lifestyle without having to spend more time cooking nutritious meals. His quest ultimately led him to develop Soylent. He now drinks 2.5 L of Soylent each day and rarely eats food.

As for whether it’s healthy, Rob says that he spent a lot of time researching exactly what humans need to survive. He then purchased these vitamins, nutrients, and minerals in their raw forms, and along with other ingredients beneficial to humans, Rob concocted the recipe for Soylent after much tweaking and fine-tuning. When mixed, Soylent is a relatively odorless, thick beige liquid.

Incredibly, Soylent has become quite popular. Rhinehart launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to mass produce Soylent and managed to raise over $300,000 to date, and then received an additional $1.5 million dollars from investors. The goal is to hire a culinary director who can refine the recipe and work towards improving the taste and texture. After the recipe has been perfected, it should be available for anyone to buy at a cost of about $230 per month.

Since word of Soylent first spread, users have flocked to the official Soylent messageboard where they discuss the beige sludge and share their own recipes.

Reinhard and Soylent drinkers report a wide range of benefits from moving to a Soylent-based diet, including weight loss, improved mood, better cognition, and an overall boost in energy levels. A blog post on Rob’s website outlines this in greater detail.

As much as I’d love to shed excess pounds and feel better, I’m not sure if I could give up food. There’s something comforting about sitting down to your favorite meal that cannot be replaced with a bottle of Soylent.

What do you think?

Is Too Much Protein Bad?

Is Too Much Protein Bad?With 2014 lurking just around the corner, I’m sure many of us will be looking into diets and exploring what foods we should eat to lose weight. I’ve written about this topic many times in the past, including a few blog posts about foods that will help you feel more full for a longer period of time. One way to achieve this is by eating protein.

A mistake that I once made that I’m sure many other people will make is to load up on protein. It makes sense, right? If protein fills you up, just drink a couple protein shakes mixed with fruits and veggies and you’ll be good for the day while keeping your calorie intake to a minimum. The one caveat is that you need to burn that protein.

Your body requires a certain amount of protein. Once you reach that limit, the excess is converted into energy. When you have a surplus of energy–meaning you’re not physically burning it off–the body converts it into fat. So if you plan on making a couple of smoothies each day loaded with protein powder, you need to exercise hard to make use of the protein. Any extra could potentially be turned into fat, making you gain weight rather than lose it.

So how much protein should you eat each day? About 50g to 100g of protein is the recommended daily amount of protein that you should be consuming. When choosing a protein powder, try looking for one that’s balanced with other ingredients, such as fiber. Manitoba Harvest makes a variety of hemp protein powders with different percentages of protein. Onnit also has Hemp Force protein powder which is balanced out with other nutritional ingredients that your body will use, so you’re not just loading up on protein and gaining weight as a result.

What is the Nutri Bullet Blender?

What is the Nutri Bullet Blender?I first heard about the Nutri Bullet on a podcast. I knew nothing about it, but immediately I thought of an informercial product based on the name alone. Turns out I was right, as the Nutri Bullet blender is like the big brother of the Magic Bullet, an (in)famous staple of late-night television.

The Nutri Bullet NBR-12 can be thought of as an upgraded version of the Magic Bullet. Like its name implies, it’s for more nutrition-minded folks rather than those who are looking to blend up margaritas and milkshakes. The Nutri Bullet certainly can blend those drinks, but it’s been reconfigured and optimized for making fruit and vegetable-heavy blended drinks for the health conscious.

The Nutri Bullet features a patented blade design with “cyclonic action” which I take it means that it pulls ingredients into the blades so you don’t have to start and stop the blender to adjust the position of your ingredients. It’s apparently good enough to liquefy just about anything you’d want to add to your smoothie, from fruits and veggies, ice, nuts, seeds, and stems.

Compared to the blender I’m using now, what I like about the Nutri Bullet is that, like the Magic Bullet, the container you put your ingredients in to blend them is the container you drink your smoothie out of. This limits the amount of clean up, which is always a bonus as far as I’m concerned, even though I have a dishwasher.

The Nutri Bullet comes with the base, a tall cup, two short cups, one flat blade, an emulsifying blade, two resealable lids, and literature about the unit along with some recipes. The unit features a 600-watt motor, which should be more than capable for producing a smoothie each day in the home, but it’s nearly 1,000 watts less powerful than the commercial-grade Blendtec Wildside. That being said, the Nutri Bullet is also $300 to $400 less than a Blendtec or Vitamix blender.

The Nutri Bullet is certainly an attractive little blender in terms of features and price, and I would be curious to try it out to see just how well it performs. Based on Amazon.com reviews, the majority of people seem to be quite happy with the product. There are occasional one-star reviews, but many of those seem to be based on the price rather than the performance of the product itself.

With 2014 just around the corner, I’d say that the Nutri Bullet is an interesting blender to consider if you’re thinking about starting off the new year with a focus on your health. It’s a fraction of the cost of a high-end blender which means the commitment level isn’t high if you tend to flake out on your resolutions after a few weeks. I’d also suggest purchasing something like this over a juicer. A product like the Nutri Bullet NBR-12 uses the whole fruit and vegetable, helping you to feel full longer and to obtain the vitamins, nutrients, and fiber found in the skin and pulp of fruits and veggies that you’d be throwing away when using a juicer.

Is White Rice Bad for Me?

Is White Rice Bad for Me?I was never a big fan of rice. I ate it occasionally but it wasn’t something that I ever went out of my way to make. That is until I first had basmati rice. The taste and texture of it appeals to me in ways which I cannot describe. I’m now craving it so much I have to tell myself to relax and space out my meals that include rice. After all, foods that are white are bad for you, right?

Well, it all depends what we’re talking about. Whole grain bread, pasta, and rice will contain more fiber than their processed, white counterparts. Whole grain rice also has more calcium and vitamin E than white rice. But is all white rice bad?

Something that’s common to all rice–white or whole grain–is that it’s virtually fat-free, low in sodium, and it’s gluten-free, too. People who have legitimate conditions where they cannot consume gluten can eat all the rice they want. White and whole grain rice also contains eight essential amino acids, vitamins, iron, and potassium. So white rice isn’t something that should be written off completely the way some people say all white bread is bad.

I think the key to eating rice is to have it as part of a meal rather than your entire meal. Sure, I could sit down and eat an entire bowl full of basmati rice with nothing else, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll use a bit of basmati rice as the base and then add things into it to complement it. A little bit of chicken and a lot of vegetables combined with the rice is a healthy way to satisfy my craving for rice while enjoying a balanced meal that’s delicious and filling.

Fitbit Force Activity Tracker

Fitbit Force Activity TrackerWant to know what’s at the top of my Christmas list this year? The Fitbit Force activity and sleep tracker.

Yes, there are numerous such devices on the market currently, and I’ve written about some on this blog in the past. However, I’ve never bought one because I always feel like something better will be released immediately after I pull the trigger. This is how it is with all technology though, and if you want something, just buy it. There’s always going to be something new around the bend.

The Fitbit Force is essentially an upgraded version of the Fitbit Flex. The Force is a little wider than the Flex, but it has a small OLED display on the front of it compared to the tiny illuminated dots that were on the Flex. The Force can actually show you the time along with stats as you go about your day. Or, you can choose sync the device with your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0 without taking the device off your wrist. These Android and iPhone apps will let you view your progress and compare it to previous days.

So what exactly can the Fitbit Force do for you? It can visualize your activity, showing you exactly how active you are. It counts your steps, distance, stairs climbed, calories burned, and active minutes. It will show you when you’re not being active compared to previous days, allowing you to adjust your routine to boost your activity. There are some days when I know I should be doing more, but it will be hard to ignore and not feel guilty when it’s presented to me on my phone through an attractive interface with pie charts and bar graphs.

The nice thing about the Fitbit Flex is that you can keep it on all the time and will rarely have to take it off. You can wash dishes with it on, take a shower, and do other activities where it might get splashed or a little bit wet. But unlike the Misfit Wearable, you can’t take it swimming. You’re also encouraged to wear it while you sleep, and after putting the device in sleep mode, it will monitor your sleep and present you with the data when you wake up. Speaking of which, you can even set an alarm and have the Force wake you with vibrations that you will feel but your partner won’t.

There are lots of great things about the Fitbit Force, but as I mentioned, there are some features found on other devices that the Force lacks. But after comparing a number of these fitness trackers, I found that the Force had the combination of features that appealed to me and my lifestyle the most. That’s why I’m hoping there’s one sitting under my tree on Christmas morning.