After my post about using a pump to measure oil some people on the reddit thread were wondering why use a pump instead of a measuring cup or even a turkey baster. It hadn’t even occured to me that people would wonder about this! Since I’m mixing up a meal of people chow 4 times a day, dealing with cleaning up the oil measuring was a real pain and the benefits seemed obvious to me. Apparently I was in error. Here’s one of the responses I gave to why I’m using the pump:
Oil isn’t like water (obviously) and doesn’t magically go away. You usually need to use soap to get it off stuff. If you try using a turkey baster you’re going to need to find a way to either store it covered in oil so you can use it in that state next time, or you need to wash it… evertime. It gets old fast. After only a few days with the other best alternative I could find (paper towel to wipe off a measuring spoon) the tedium started to gnaw at me. With this method there is no cleanup, I actuate the pump 11 times (takes about 2 seconds) and that’s it. Works just as well on my desk at work that’s far from soap and water as it works in my kitchen at home.
And so, this morning I had some extra time before heading for the bus and decided to once again have my lovely wife record another video; this time of preparing a meal of people chow using the pump for measuring the oil.
A few days ago there was a post on the Soylent Discourse forum about using a popcorn butter pump for oil. The one linked was far larger than I would like and is designed for gallon size containers. I wanted one that would hold a few days (or weeks) of oil and would be practical on my desk at work (and another at home). Last night I kicked around Wal-Mart and found what I was looking for. Oddly enough the dispensers I’ve found are marketed as lotion dispensers.
This is the one I found. They were $1.88 each and hold 11 fluid ounces or 325ml – that should last almost 6 days with my current recipe. I wanted one that was see-through so I could monitor the oil level. I’m considering the possibility of adding them as an add-in for the mixed up People Chow I sell simply because it makes measuring so much easier and there’s enough room in the boxes for the pump.
If you are concerned about weird stuff in the plastic getting into the oil you could go with something with glass and stainless steel like this or just search for “glass lotion dispenser” on Amazon. I decided to put it onto a plate to make sure I didn’t lose any onto the counter while I filled it up.
Bottle full. It was actually really easy to fill. I thought I was going to need a funnel since the oil bottle has a massive opening and the dispenser is tiny but it went in without a spill…
… on the first bottle. On the second bottle I learned a valuable lesson I would like to pass on: DO NOT fill up the bottle close to all-the-way. Leave a solid inch or more at the top or when you put the pump in it will displace liquid and you will have a mess. I could tell this was about to happen so I tried to draw some oil into the pump as I put it in the bottle but the effort failed (as shown above).
Measuring how many pumps I needed to get my oil right was a simple affair. I’m measuring mine by volume so I just saw how many full pumps it took to fill up the appropriate measuring spoon(s). If you are measuring your oil by weight, you would just zero out a container on your scale and pump oil until you hit the right weight.
Measuring like this has the added benefit of running some oil through the mechanism to get out any possible residue left over from manufacturing.
After measuring mine I determined that with the specific pumps I have, I need 11 pumps to get the 3.5 teaspoons of oil necessary for each of the 4 “meals” of regular People Chow I’m currently consuming. It took all of 2 seconds to come up with a way to remember that.
And for an added bonus: I’m still laughing at the thought that someone might mistake it for hand soap and try to wash their hands with it.
So I’ve been getting some of my supplies from supplementwarehouse.com lately and they have a promo for a free shaker cup with purchase. It does add to the shipping cost if you have a small order but the difference has been negligible on the orders I’m doing. If you want more than the free one you can also order them outright for $0.75 – once again there’s shipping. 4 of them is $3 with $14 shipping from Wisconsin to Utah where I live. So how do they compare to the $7 blender bottles you can get from Amazon?
Overall: Pretty favorably.
They aren’t as rigid – the plastic is somewhat thinner and has more flex in it.
It’s has a smoother finish. The bottom of the bottle says it’s Polypropylene and further states it’s BPA and DEHP free. Blender bottles have the same recycle codes and are probably also Polypropylene.
Because it’s smoother, the powder doesn’t cling to the bottom as much as a BlenderBottle so it’s significantly easier to mix up. This really surprised me a lot.
A little hard to keep hold of if it’s wet.
It’s the same height, diameter and overall size as the “28 ounce” blender bottle; even though it’s listed as being 25 ounces. The lids would even be interchangeable if the thread spacing and angle were the same (but they’re not).
Whereas the lid sealing the spout of a blender bottle has 3 states (wide open, closed enough for you to think it’s sealed but will pop open and dump soylent on you when you shake it, and closed), this one has just 2: open and sealed. It’s a little awkward to open and close it, you bend the lid a little near the hinge when you do it. The result is I don’t accidentally think it’s closed when it isn’t since it’s decidedly obvious what state it’s in though opening it one-handed is harder.
The “fan blades” mixer works well enough. Probably wouldn’t mix in peanut butter like you can do with a blender bottle but it also won’t inexplicably wrap its self around another blender ball or the dishwasher rack. Nor will it make an annoying springy noise when you have an empty bottle in your bag.
So there you have it. If you’re just getting into (s)oylent and need mixing bottles the free ones are great and even if you do pay (shipping) for them, they’re actually pretty good. Full disclosure: I’m writing this up on my own – the only thing supplementwarehouse has given me is a decent price on Cal/Mag/D3 and my last order was delayed 2 days for no reason (not that I’m still bitter about that, my other orders were OK).
Following a discussion on Reddit, I’ve added the option for having cocoa powder mixing in with people chow. I’ve been doing it myself for a while and it mixes better if you mix it all at the same time (though the Hershey Special Dark powder I’m using tends to have a few little tiny clumps that survive the mixing process on occasion). I’m also double bagging the stuff and using thicker bags now.
From left to right: regular, +1 tablespoon of cocoa a day, +3 tablespoons of cocoa a day
I also just changed the way the shipping calculation works. Before it would have a list of the different shipping options available in a drop down menu. Often people would miss the less expensive but just a speedy options so now it only shows the least expensive option. Should make everybody happier =)
I’m back doing the “regular” People Chow (as opposed to Low-Cal) and I’m mixing the oil into each meal instead of downing the days worth when I’m getting ready in the morning. I figured it would be a good time to make a video just about mixing up a meal in a blender bottle to highlight how easy it is. It ends up with 4 of these a day for 2000 calories. I have another video that shows how to prepare a week’s worth of the powder in 12 minutes. On a side note, I’m currently using Canola Oil (and some cocoa powder) in my soylent. I was using Extra Virgin Olive Oil but the brand that I had was really, REALLY strong flavored and mixing it in messed up the flavor of everything. At least it’s not soybean oil.
I’m out of Whey Protein and won’t be getting it until Wednesday because Amazon took 2 days to actually ship my order. Same thing happened a few weeks ago with my Potassium Citrate and my Calcium/Magnesium/D3 powder. So I’m going to give supplementwarehouse.com a try and see if they can do better. We’ll see. Their price on Cal/Mag/D3 is better but shipping almost takes away that advantage.
Update: So my supplementwarehouse.com order just shipped, so let’s talk about processing time. I ordered on July 14 and it shipped 2 days later on July 16.
When I ordered the same Whey Protein from Amazon it took 2 business days to process and ship as well, the Calcium/Magnesium/D3 took 4 business days to process and ship from Amazon though. So far supplementwarehouse is doing somewhat better (in addition to costing less).
Update again: Well, it had NOW whey protein isolate in it, was a fair price and came quickly. I’ll likely order from there again.
Someone was nice enough to sell me 2 days of official Soylent a while ago and I’ve been looking for an opportunity to try it. So I finally mixed it up today.
Official Soylent in the bag
Yep, smells like a yellow cake mix. The directions on the bag say to put the powder into the pitcher you get in the starter kit, then fill it up with water. I didn’t have the starter kit so I had to search around to find how much water to mix with the powder. I found instructions for mixing it in a blender: 1 liter of water, 1-2 cups of ice (nice mixture of imperial and metric measurements there!), the powder and the oil. So I mixed it up in a blender following those instructions.
I did have an issue with dry powder clinging to the sides and had to get out a big spoon to get those going, aside from that the blending was good. The ice is recommended if you’re planning to consume it immediately; so I poured some in a glass and took a drink. My first impression is that I like people chow with a touch of cocoa powder much better. Maybe it was that I was expecting a smoother mouth feel but it actually seemed grittier than the copious amounts of corn masa in people chow. From experience I know that if I try to mix up people chow and drink it down that fast, it’s not going to be very good and 30+ minutes “thinking about what it did” (but in the fridge, not the corner with a dunce cap) does wonders for (S)oylent. So I cleared a space in the fridge and will try it again in a bit.
Yes, it blends.
Update: several hours later I tried it again. The texture was somewhat better after having sat in the fridge but it still wasn’t as smooth as I would like. It’s also way too sweet tasting for me. I also got the Gastro-Intestinal distress many people have reported, though it came on pretty quick so I can’t definitively say it was from Soylent; but the oat flour gets a vote of no confidence from me. I’ll be sticking with people chow.