Exam week with no time for cooking: a taste review of Joylent

Do you find it important to eat healthy food? Do you have a habit of having unhealthy snacks when studying, because you don’t have time for cooking before exams? Do you ever eat just fast noodles for dinner (yuck) or do you spend enormous amounts of money on take-out food? Or maybe you’re just interested in knowing a bit more about futuristic food! If any of this is the case, you should read this.

Last week my life circled all around Development Economics, super interesting but no time for cooking. This exam week a new product I ordered online really came in handy!

There’s a ton of research going into developing new kinds of food that has a lower carbon footprint. The American Soylent is one of the, originally developed for people who are just too busy to cook or put any thought into what they eat. The founder actually developed a serious under nutrition of vitamin C from his quick noodle-diet, and developed Soylent as a result. Soylent has gotten a lot of attention but isn’t sold in Europe.

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It’s good on the go

A similar product is made by the Dutch Joylent. What is it? It’s the simplest way to start eating more vegan food! It’s a powder that you just mix with water, it becomes a smoothie, or a soup if you prefer to use warmer water. However, some vitamins are sensitive to temperature so hot water might have a minor effect on the nutrients. Other competitors for Joylent are Mana and Ambronite, which is prepared in Finland from completely natural ingredients. Should probably try Ambronite because of that, but it’s a bit too expensive as it cost twice as much as Joylent. Read more about other alternatives to Soylent on this blog.

The thing about smoothies like Joylent and Soylent is that they are meant to contain all nutrients you need. You could probably survive on feeding on just Soylent/Joylent but I think a bit more variation is better for your health. What many people do is to replace lunch with Soylent and then have a normal dinner.

Joylent review

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It’s great for students because it’s cheap, healthy and convenient.

I have my Joylent smoothies on days when I’m on the go and don’t really have time to cook. Eating out is expensive, and sandwiches from the supermarket are quite unhealthy. Bringing it for lunch works really great! The powder doesn’t go bad when it’s kept dry in the shaker, when I’m ready to have dinner I just add some water, shake and dinner is served, wherever I am! You are meant to add the powder after the water to get a smoother blend but doing it the wrong way around works fine for me.

I got my Joylent starter pack about 3 weeks ago, ordered from joylent.eu. I ordered the Vegan version, one bag with banana taste and four with chocolate taste. My boyfriend ordered some too and by the time he had ordered his, there were new tastes availible! I tried one of them, the mango one was delicious too.

Taste

So to what everyone really is curious about: Doesn’t it taste horrible? The answer is no, it tastes fairly alright. It tastes like a thicker version of oatmilk or soymilk. The chocolate taste is very subtle and overall it’s not very sweet, it doesn’t contain any sugar. It almost doesn’t taste chocolate at all, which is fine, but the very plain taste get’s a bit dull after a while. They recommend adding your own sweetener but I prefer not to, wouldn’t want something too sweet for lunch or dinner. The banana one was really good too, actually tastes like banana and is much sweeter than the chocolate one.

So the taste is okay. The only problem with taste, I would say, is that it get’s a bit boring if that’s all you eat for several days. A normal meal is never just one thing, you would never eat just rice or just chickpeas. We’re used to a meal being a mix of different tastes. So I would really recommend it for replacing a meal here and there, but I would simply get too bored with the taste if I had it more than 2-3 times per week.

A good trick is to blend a banana in the mix, makes it taste more like a normal smoothie and is more enjoyable to drink. The banana-tasting Joylent mixed with real banana is actually very good!dsc_3898

Feeling and health

How do I feel after having a joylent meal? Just one smoothie is suprisingly filling, it contains 500-700 calories, depending on how much powder I use. First, I drank it too fast and got that awful feeling you get after eating anything too quickly so remember that this smoothie is way heavier than a just-fruit-and-berries-smoothie. Apparently, many people who drink Joylent get a bit gassy. I haven’t noticed any big problems with this although I might feel a bit bloated just after drinking it, it’s just individual. One theory is that the high amount of fibre in Joylent can trigger some reaction in some peoples stomach, but even if this is the case it’s not in any way dangerous; maybe just a bit unpleasant for those who are more sensitive. The list of ingredients (see at the bottom of the page) look quite healthy too and I’ve felt good and energized the day’s I’ve had only Joylent.

Sustainability

What about the sustainability of Joylent? I’d say the vegan version is very sustainable as none of the ingredients are especially resource-consuming. The powder also doesn’t need to be kept in a fridge, which lowers need for energy consumption. It also doesn’t need heating up. Prepping and storing of food takes quite a lot of energy and is a big part of the greenhouse-gas footprint associated with food. In this aspect Joylent is really eco-friendly.

Price and service

The price is also really good. Very student friendly! Just 2,50 euro per meal. A negative side was that it took ages for them to deliver from the Netherlands to Finland, and they messed up my order and sent just the shaker and not the powders, which I had to wait two more weeks for.

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All in all, I would really recommend Joylent!  It’s great to bring to the library when studying, no need to go to a cafeteria and interrupt your studies. It’s also great for those who have a habit of eating unhealthy things like fast food on the go, this is much cheaper, much healthier and more conventient!

I prefer having Joylent when I don’t really have time for cooking and then treat myself with food like this after a couple of days on Joylent. After exam week I really treated myself and went for brunch at Mat in Helsinki with my friend Hannah. It was really food heaven. Mouth watering vegetarian food, I really recommend this place! Especially after a week on Joylent. But it’s better as a treat every now and then, this meal cost 10 times more than a Joylent meal. It also tastes 10 times more.

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Banana joylent ingredients: Oatmeal (gluten), Joylent vitamix (maltodextrin, sodium citrate, sodium chloride, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate), niacin (nicotinamide), vitamin A (retinyl acetate), pantothenic acid (calcium D-pantothe-nate), vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), copper(II) sulfate, vitamin K1 (phytomenadione), vitamin B1 (thiamine mononitrate), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), chromium chloride, folic acid (pteroylmonoglutamic acid), biotin, vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), soy flour , vegan protein mix(soy-protein concentrate, rice-protein concentrate, hemp-protein concentrate, emulsifier:soy lecithin, sweetener: sucralose, banana flavouring, thickening agent: guargum), ground flaxseed, freeze-dried fruit powder (banana).

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