Back in 2012, Rhinehart was just another software engineer at a tech startup in Silicon Valley. He worked long hours for relatively low pay and couldn't justify the time and money it took to buy three meals a day. So he set out to reimagine what it meant to eat a meal in the first place.
He experimented with ways to strip down meals into their chemical components and reformulate those chemicals into something cheap, efficient and easily consumable. Rhinehart ordered 35 essential nutrients online, poured them into a blender, added some water, and Soylent was born.
Armed with a drink of his own creation, Rhinehart consumed nothing but Soylent for 30 days. By the end of his nutrient-packed detox, he'd lost weight and felt healthier than ever. Three years later, the beverage has attracted millions in investments and gathered a cult following in the Bay Area. Rhinehart still drinks it at almost every meal.
One bottle of Soylent packs 20 grams of protein and fat — roughly the same as a piece of lean chicken. In addition to housing one-fifth of your daily essential nutrients, each bottle contains algal oil for energy and soy protein to aid in digestion. And at $2.42 for a 400-calorie serving, it's cheap to boot.
The drink is marketed as the "food of the future" — a combination of carbs, lipids and proteins that can be created in labs and supplied to the masses. Rhinehart sees this highly-mechanized food production as a way to preserve natural resources and create meals that aren't as taxing on the planet.
Curious to try the drink that's touted as environmentally-friendly despite being so inherently unnatural, I placed my order online and set the parameters for my challenge. I'd see if I, an eternally-hungry-constantly-eating lover of food, could get by consuming nothing but Soylent for one whole day.