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May 2022 Update

Hi everyone,

Just a quick update to let you all know that all of our recipes have been updated to include the amino acid glycine, yay! :D That includes Milk Fuel and Super Protein, by the way. :d

You can read more in the last couple email updates from February, archived on the blog. But long story short, glycine is one of those “nonessential” amino acids that arguably people don’t get enough of, these days.

In order to target a 4:1 ratio of glycine to methionine, we have started adding 2g of vegan-friendly, sweet-tasting glycine powder to every Super Body Fuel meal in order to balance out the high methionine content of rice protein (and dairy protein, for that matter).

Nothing weird about this – it’s analogous to how we’ve been adding lysine since rice protein is low in that. With sufficient glycine, your body (and mind) will thank you, with reduced inflammation and a more relaxed mood, among other benefits – according to the studies. :)

Personally, I’ve been adding glycine to my Super Fuel and Keto Fuel for months – and now, I won’t have to! :D Awesome!

All the old inventory has turned over, so with the exception of a few samples (that will be gone soon) anything you order will have the new glycine-enhanced formula.

If you’ve already got the new glycine version (check the Ingredients list!) let us know what you think of the taste! :) Glycine adds a subtle sweetness that has allowed us to very slightly dial back the monkfruit sweetener, so the overall effect may be a bit different. My impression is that the overall sweetness is down about half a perceptible notch – which may be a good thing, as we sometimes get feedback from longtime customers that it would be better if the sweetness were slightly toned down. But what do you think? Please, please let us know! :D We want to get it just right.

At the same time, based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback on our beetroot survey in the last email, we’ve added 1g of beetroot powder to every meal of our strawberry flavor, for an enhanced taste, color, and nutritional profile (betaine and nitric oxide and such). And before you ask, net carbs for the keto version remain the same. ;)

Again, please let us know what you think of the updated flavor! We hope you like it better, but do let us know. :o All the strawberry samples have switched over to the new version, with both glycine and beetroot added.

Initially, I’d hoped that the glycine powder would “pay for itself” in effect by reducing the amount of expensive monkfruit sweetener we’d need to add. But it turns out that we’re only able to reduce the monkfruit very slightly, if at all (you tell us!) and now, the price of glycine has gone up significantly! :o Bad timing, I know.

Still, we are committed to keeping our prices low and affordable, and I believe in the value of this glycine addition in making our formula the best that it can be, so we’re holding steady for now. Please let us know if you think it’s been worth it – your feedback is the main thing that steers this ship. :)

I will say that this year is when world events are finally catching up with us at Super Body Fuel. :/ Our costs for ingredients and shipping have gone up significantly in the past several months, on top of the cost-of-living adjustments we’ve already had to make for the whole team to keep up with inflation in the beginning of this year. At the same time, the number of orders we are getting each month has been declining to a level that is lower than it’s been for years.

The bottom line is, this year is the first time that the business has been losing money month over month since we started operations. Don’t panic! ;p This is not an emergency, or a cry for help, as we have savings to weather this downturn – for the year, at least. And we (still) have the rebrand coming up, hopefully very soon. But this is a new thing for us. And I want to be transparent about that.

I have no intention of raising prices, as I know we could pull out of this just as easily by increasing monthly orders beyond a certain threshold, and I’m stubborn. But if you appreciate us holding prices steady when everyone else seems to be raising them, maybe let us know that – with your words or with your dollars. ;)

Thanks everyone. Let’s all hang in there. <3

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

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February 2022 Update

Hi everyone,

Happy February! I hope that 2022 has been treating you a bit better than the last year, so far! :) We’ve got some mildly good news to share:

  • Super Micros and strawberry are back!
  • Glycine: (probably) coming soon!
  • Inulin: volunteer testing underway…
  • Beetroot: strawberry’s savior? (take the survey!)

Before all that, I wanted to let you all know that we’ve pretty much caught up with our backlog, and you can expect orders to ship within a few days, for the most part! Yay! :D Thanks to the team for working hard, and you all for not overwhelming us with orders this month! ;p I even logged a few weeks in the manufacturing room, getting my (nitrile-gloved) hands dirty to help clear the backlog, and it looks like it’s paying off. :d

Anyway, we got our vitamin mix back, so Super Micros is available again and most of our product inventory (except for samples) at this point has turned over to our custom mix instead of the NATURELO vitamins we were using in January. Also, we got our strawberry resupply a little earlier than expected, so you may have noticed the strawberry flavors are back in stock on our website as well! It’s good to be back on track! :)

We got a lot of responses to our survey on glycine and inulin, thanks to everyone who participated! :D

The response in favor of glycine was overwhelmingly positive, which doesn’t surprise me as I’ve been adding it to my daily Super Fuel for months now at 2g per meal, and it’s been great! :D Some of you have asked for more of the science behind it, so here’s a review paper discussing the benefits of glycine. As far as I’m concerned, it’s no more controversial than the lysine that we already add to balance out the amino acid profile of the rice protein. Glycine is just a piece of that puzzle that I’d overlooked until recently.

We haven’t started adding it to our formulas yet, but we’ve got 50kg of the stuff in our warehouse, ready to go. If you have any concerns or caveats to share, this is your chance! Reply and let us know. :)

The response to inulin was much more mixed. My guess is that it’s not going to make sense, honestly, given the number of people with sensitive digestive systems who would not be able to tolerate it. But we’re running some experiments with the many brave volunteers who have stepped up to try it! :) If you’ve added your email address to the last survey, you will (or may already have) receive a packet of 1g of agave inulin in your next order. Please add it to one of your usual Super Body Fuel shakes, and email us to let us know if you notice any gas or other issues (or not)!

Lastly, we have a new recipe update to run by you all! :) That is, adding a bit of beetroot powder to enhance our strawberry flavor, rather than using fake “natural flavors” that don’t taste very good. :p Yes, powdered beets, as in the reddish-purple root vegetables.

Oddly, while testing beetroot powder as a supplement simply for its nitric oxide-boosting benefits, I found that adding a small amount, say 1g, to one of our strawberry shakes helped enhance the flavor and color of the strawberry without overpowering it! And beetroot powder isn’t particularly expensive – certainly nothing like freeze-dried strawberry powder. So I thought this might be a good way to introduce a beet-enhanced line and boost the intensity of our notoriously subtle strawberry flavor at the same time! :o

Obviously, this is not a change we’d make without consulting you first, so here’s a survey on beetroot! Please weigh in if you’re a fan (or potential fan) of our strawberry flavor, or if you have a strong opinion about beets (as one does). :]

And here’s a review paper on the benefits of beetroot supplementation, before you ask. ;)

Anyway, please take the survey! :D

Thank you and take care!

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

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December 2021 Update

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while! Not much has changed on our end in the past year, honestly – I’d been hoping we’d be announcing our shiny new rebrand by now, but things are still a few months behind schedule. :p

As the great Shigeru Miyamoto once said, “A delayed game is eventually good, but a bad game is bad forever.” Spoken like a true perfectionist. In other words, stay tuned.

The good news is we’re not increasing our prices! Other than that, we just have some supply issues and delay-causing complications to update you about. And a survey at the end. A fun survey.

  • Delays, especially for international shipping!
  • NATURELO: temporary placeholder vitamins.
  • Super Micros: out of stock for a few weeks.
  • Strawberry: out of stock until next March!

As you may have noticed, we’ve got a perpetual rolling backlog that is putting us as much as two or three weeks behind on some orders. I’m sorry about this ongoing issue. :/ If you’re lucky, you might not get much of a delay at all, but most likely, it will take a couple weeks before we can ship out your order. On top of that, the postal system has been slower than normal, and it’s particularly bad for destinations outside the US, like Australia. If you can swing it, I’d recommend keeping some extra on hand to cover you when these delays happen.

We also just got notice that the EU is adding customs taxes to smaller orders that may have previously slipped under the threshold. We are already barely breaking even (or even losing money) on international orders, so this is not something that we can really help with right now. If you’re in Europe, you might want to hold off on ordering for a bit, given the combination of our backlog, slow international shipping, and additional customs fees – we honestly may not be able to provide enough value to make it worth your while (or ours, for that matter!).

You may have also heard about the global supply issues that have been affecting businesses all over. There was even an article about it in the San Francisco Chronicle recently, featuring our friendly business neighbor Nana Joes Granola! We’ve so far been able to stay nimble and dodge most of these issues, but there are a couple that we’ve just been hit with.

First of all, we recently ran out of our custom vitamin premix before we were able to get a resupply, and so – a year and a half since the last time – we are back to using placeholder vitamins instead. As before, we’re substituting the high-quality vegan brand NATURELO, which includes the same methylated B vitamins and chelated minerals so it will hopefully be of comparable quality. But it’s still not the same, I know. Fortunately, we should be getting the next shipment of our custom vitamin mix before the end of this month, so you can expect to see it back in our products (and Super Micros!) by January.

We also got word from our freeze-dried strawberry supplier that they will be out of product until next March, which is a long time. Yes, there technically are other suppliers of real strawberry powder, but based on our taste tests, there’s only one that tastes good enough to (barely) justify the price, and so we’re out of luck. :/ We still have some of our strawberry products in stock, but they’ll be gone soon, and it will be a few months before we have it available again. So if you have a subscription that includes strawberry, I’d recommend switching the flavors now. Feel free to email us and we can take care of it for you – just let us know what flavor you want instead.

I also want to say a big thanks to all of you who participated in our scoop size survey earlier this year! :) There was a very slight majority in favor of keeping the big scoops as-is, so we haven’t changed anything.

And now for the speculative stuff…

  • netParcel: cheaper Canadian shipping?
  • Glycine: should we add it to our formula?
  • Inulin: dare we open Pandora’s box again?
  • Please take the survey!

Have any of you had experience with netParcel? One of our Canadian customers recommended it as a way to get cheaper Canadian shipping. We might give that a try soon, which would involve switching (only) Canadian shipments from USPS to UPS. This could potentially save enough money that we could afford to bring our Canadian shipping fees down to (nearly) the level of our US shipping. Seems almost too good to be true, right? If you have experiences with netParcel, good or bad, let us know. If you’re in Canada and have opinions on UPS shipping in your country, please let us know also!

Lastly, the fun stuff. In the past several months I’ve been experimenting a lot with various supplements for sleep and mood and tissue repair, and one of the most interesting I’ve come across is glycine. Glycine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein, found in significant amounts in collagen and skin and joints, moderate amounts in plant proteins, and smaller amounts in muscle tissue (and rice protein, turns out!).

Super smart nutrition guy Chris Masterjohn (check out his free resources on vitamins and minerals!) recommends supplementing glycine if you eat meat (or rice protein?), in order to achieve a 4:1 ratio of glycine to methionine in your diet and improve your physical and mental health. He suggests that the human body expects this ratio in order to function optimally, which is easy to achieve if you’re eating mostly plants and “the whole animal” but rare these days when muscle meat is the main source of protein for most people.

The good news is that glycine powder is cheap, vegan, hypoallergenic, and tastes sweet (with a slightly weird aftertaste if you take a lot). And in order to achieve a 4:1 ratio of glycine:methionine, we could add 2g of glycine per meal of Super Body Fuel. It would even pay for itself, given that we could lower the amount of expensive monkfruit sweetener slightly to account for the sweetness of the glycine. Initial taste tests are very promising. The slight sweetness even balances out the natural bitterness of the Plain flavors as well.

The bad news? Well, there isn’t any, as far as I’ve found. Glycine can even improve your mood and sleep, via very gentle effects on the serotonin system (unlike the heavy-handed effects of tryptophan or 5-HTP, for example). People like Chris Masterjohn might argue that it’s just about giving your body the glycine levels it naturally expects, so it can run smoothly and calmly the way it’s supposed to. I just want to run it by you all before we pull the trigger and add it. What do you think? Let us know in this short survey! :)

I’ve also spent a while experimenting with prebiotic fiber sources this year and building up my tolerance for the notoriously potent inulin, and I’ll admit I’m tempted to play with it again in our Super Body Fuel formulas. But don’t worry! I wouldn’t do it without consulting with you all first, via this same survey. ;) Inulin is delicious (tastes like cotton candy), sweet and smooth, the best prebiotic fiber source… if not for the explosive flatulence it can cause in some people. :o

But you know, with up to 1g of inulin and 2g of glycine in a meal of one of our plain flavors, “Plain” becomes truly neutral and decently tasty, all without any sweeteners at all (no monkfruit!). The texture is better too. And if you start small, you can usually adjust to tolerate inulin without all the gas – there’s certainly an argument to be made for mixing fermentable fibers, like acacia and inulin, rather than using high doses of a single type as we currently do…

Still, that’s all theory – if it doesn’t work out for you in practice, it doesn’t work out. :p We’re not going to do it unless we’ve thoroughly tested it to the point of success. So let us know if you have a concern, and let us know if you want to be a brave tester to find out if it would cause a problem for you, via the survey:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeTiLQZwK9h_8RdgIop03ik5qAYG0GiR6nJj-si_SPmmebFvg/viewform?usp=sf_link

Even if you don’t have an opinion on glycine or inulin, we’d also like to hear from all of you about your digestive experience generally on Super Body Fuel – any gas or bloating, constipation or diarrhea, or is it all just smooth sailing for you? :) Please weigh in on the survey!

Thank you, and Happy Holidays! :D See you next year. ;)

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

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Interview with a ‘lent Founder

A few months ago I was interviewed by an anonymous journalist for an article about ‘lents that never saw the light of day. So I thought I’d share it with you here! :)

What compelled you to create Super Body Fuel and start using meal substitutes?

I heard about Rob Rhinehart’s Soylent experiment back in 2013 when I was eating a strict, home-cooked Paleo diet, largely on account of my many food allergies. I thought it was an intriguing concept, though I was skeptical about how well it could work in practice. I liked the food I was already eating, and I felt really good on it, health-wise, but as the year wore on I started to resent the hours I spent cooking and cleaning every day, and wonder how much more I could accomplish on my indie game side projects if I had some of that time back. I mean, I liked food, but I didn’t necessarily feel the need to tantalize my taste buds three times a day…

Eventually I decided to check out the DIY soylent scene that had emerged in response to Rob’s initial blog post. Experimenting with chalky concoctions became a hobby, and then a side business, as people began spontaneously asking me to sell them some of my DIY mixes. After a few months, I quit my software engineering day job to focus on Custom Body Fuel full-time. My initial plan was to quickly come up with one good recipe and a brand name that would do it justice, and just outsource everything else to a bigger manufacturer a la Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek so I could live my dream of being an independent artist – an indie game developer – but alas, it was not to be. Turns out I’m too much of a perfectionist.

So I turned it into Super Body Fuel and went inside the cocoon to iterate on formula, brand, and learning to be a manager and leader for the next several years, with the help of my employees and our thousands of customers. And when I say “inside the cocoon” I mean no marketing, no outreach, no nothing. Just working that feedback loop with our own customers, learning from experience, trying to make the best product we can within our “optimal nutrition for all” mission. Optimal and inclusive.

Every year it feels like we’re just about ready to emerge from the cocoon, and then that horizon stretches out to the next year for one reason or another. But we’ve finally pinned down the formula and the branding at this point, and we’re just putting the final pieces together as far as manufacturing and website development, so… Let’s just say I’m really looking forward to being a butterfly. And you can bet it’s not going to be called “Something Body Fuel” either!

With what sort of frequency/intensity do you use your meal substitutes? Is it a 100% replacement? Could you briefly walk me through a usual day of what you’re eating and when?

I’ve been using my own stuff (mostly Super Fuel) for anywhere from 30% to 90% of my diet, for the last several years straight. I’ve never gone 100% because I have no reason to – I like corn chips too much to ever cut them out of my diet completely, haha. But it’s rare to have a day where I go without it completely – Super Fuel with berries is the perfect breakfast for me, honestly. I keep a pitcher in my fridge at all times, and while I might also crave (and indulge) some crunchy chips, I never get tired of it. And few other meals leave me with such a perfect balance of energy and satiation, especially with my food allergies. It’s come a long way since the chalky concoctions of the early days.

Do you actively enjoy using meal substitutes or is consuming them more of a practical decision?

I actively enjoy them. I miss them if I’m forced to go without for a while – crave them, even. It’s also a very practical decision, but that’s not coming at the expense of pleasure. Cinnamon with berries is deliciously reminiscent of my favorite pie, and chocolate never gets old.

That’s the benefit of quality nutrition – your body craves it once it realizes how much good stuff is in it. And not in a compulsive way like sugary junk food. It’s a good way to reset your palate for healthy food if your brain has been hacked and hijacked by processed garbage.

Do you feel like they’ve made you healthier? How have they affected your body?

I came to this from a healthy diet, so I didn’t necessarily see the kind of dramatic benefits that so many people see when they’re coming from fast food. However, I’ve definitely learned to optimize for health further in addition to optimizing for convenience and cost, even calculating which vegetables I could combine for the best nutritional coverage when cooking for myself (spinach and broccoli is a great combination).

As far as my body, I got into this business while probably in the best shape of my life, practicing martial arts and parkour at least an hour every day on average, and walking an hour a day for my commute. Probably the best testimonial I can give is that I still have visible abs, even after all my healthy routines were obliterated by the stress and demands of starting my own bootstrapped business these last several years!

Do you feel like they’ve made you more productive? How have they changed the schedule of your day?

Yes, of course. But it’s impossible to compare life before starting a business to life after. Now that has changed my schedule and my life to an unrecognizable degree!

Food can obviously be much more than just sustenance for some folks — it can be a cultural thing, a social thing, an experiential thing, etc. — how do you see your relationship with “real food?” How has that relationship changed after you started using alt-food?

I think I’ve always had to be a lot more aware of the food that I eat, given my allergies and the general sensitivity of my body. But I really dove into the “biohacking” mindset once I got into the DIY soylent scene and beyond. My approach to food these days is a lot more “nutrition nerd” and a lot more utilitarian as a whole, though I’ve also learned to lighten up more and not be so strict about my diet at the same time. Like I said, I like corn chips.

Maybe you’re a little biased here, but do you feel like meal substitutes are “the future?” Could you see a world where people have entirely replaced their diets with these types of drinks?

I don’t think of this trend as “meal substitutes”. It’s really about nutritional completeness as a benchmark for processed food, which previously has been entirely about making something that is tasty, addictive, and cheap. The future isn’t Soylent, it’s Vite Ramen – delicious, gourmet instant ramen that is also optimized for nutrition, complete and bioavailable. And Tom and Tim, the founders of Vite Ramen, are good guys. I’m a big fan of what they’re doing, and it’s a huge honor that they have mentioned me and my work as one of their (many) inspirations.

That said, the processed food industry has been so successful at uprooting and destroying traditional food cultures, and replaced it with food that is so antithetical to health, that at this point there’s a lot of value in something as utilitarian as a powdered drink mix that can actually function as a complete and healthy meal. Powders aren’t particularly exciting, but there’s really no other way to make something cheap and convenient enough to compete with the junk that has come to dominate our diets, as a society.

I don’t see a future where people drink all their meals instead of eating them, but I really hope to see a future where people can choose to drink something healthy and cheap instead of going to McDonald’s for lunch or powering through at their desk with an energy drink. And where people expect solid nutrition from their instant ramen. I don’t think it’s that far off. And it can’t come soon enough – whether from an environmental or a public health angle.

What types of people, in your experience, use Super Body Fuel (or other meal substitutes,) and for what reasons?

Food is such a broad category that it’s hard to pin down any specifics. But the people who get the most benefit from it, and stick with it long-term, tend to be those whose work makes it hard to take time off for breakfast or lunch – whether those are the stereotypical workaholic programmers glued to their computer screens, or the hardworking people who are on their feet in a hospital, factory, or outdoor job site all day.

It’s also great for more specialized diets, whether that’s because of food allergies like mine, goals like weight-loss or bodybuilding, or even recovering from surgery or chemo where it’s hard to eat solid foods. It’s always really cool to hear from people about how this stuff has impacted their lives – you never know what to expect.

Have you seen growing interest in these sorts of products over the last few years? If so, do you have any ideas as to why?

Personally? No. I don’t doubt it’s happening, but I haven’t been focused on promoting my business at all, and things have been about the same for us, these last two or three years. I’m looking forward to getting involved, though. I think the next few years will be a lot more interesting. Being a butterfly should be fun.

Could you give me a short bio of who you are and what your life is like, generally speaking?

I used to dream of making beautiful art that would inspire people, and changing the world through the power of games. Now I live inside of a cocoon. Mostly metaphorically speaking. Though with the pandemic and everything else these days, who knows…

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Haters Are Hypocrites

People who think Super Body Fuel has nutrients missing that are somehow in “real food” have it exactly backward.

I had an interesting conversation about this with a long-time customer, after talking about probiotics and the emerging science of gut bacteria. So I posted about it on r/soylent and it turned into my post popular post yet! :O Even got my first Platinum Award (thanks u/chrisbair!) and spurred even more fascinating discussion in the comments. :)

Here it is:

Do you ever wonder if we’ve missed some essential nutrient that’s in real food, but not accounted for in meal replacements? I mean, not discovered some vitamin, protein, or other essential nutrient yet? I do. And I guess the problem is potentially worse, given the microbiome that we’ve barely started to explore.

Do I idly wonder or worry about it? No. Am I constantly investigating new and lesser-known nutrients and compounds that may turn out to have health benefits? Pretty much, yes. Do I add them all to the formula? No. But there are some that I have, like the DHA and Myo-Inositol, after careful consideration of the research and survey feedback.

I don’t think about this as a comparison between a hubristically engineered attempt at playing god on the part of humans, versus a perfect, divinely ordained natural diet that completely and optimally meets the body’s needs. If those were the two choices, I would not be wasting my time with this business, and you would not be a customer.

Instead, we have a comparison between a deliberate, thoughtful diet plan depending largely on supplements for micronutrient content, and a largely naive, haphazard diet based on learned behaviors and impulses within a food landscape overwhelmingly shaped by market forces that have no regard for nutritional content whatsoever. Traditional pre-industrial diets, as Michael Pollan describes, are somewhere in between, but are largely dying out (tragically) and our customers are not generally coming from that background. If they are, the forces pushing them are due to the long-term societal effects of colonialism and capitalism, and Super Body Fuel is merely an attempt to ease the pain, not itself the cause.

Milk Fuel has the exact same amount of “real food” as a bowl of oat-based cereal in milk, and all of Super Body Fuel has more “real food” than a bowl of oatmeal. And yet most people would reflexively assume that the bowl of oatmeal has some mysterious nutrient that is somehow lacking in Super Fuel. Sadly, in fact, it is the opposite. The bowl of oatmeal is definitely – measurably – deficient in over a dozen nutrients that you will suffer known medical problems for lacking, and eventually die without. And many of these nutrients you cannot get in a multivitamin pill (fiber and electrolytes are too bulky to fit, and most multivitamins also include only cheap forms of vitamins and minerals that are not absorbed well).

This extends to the entirety of the diet. Americans as a population are known, as documented in government reports, to be clearly deficient in many nutrients (even by the minimal standards of the FDA), including insoluble and soluble fiber (back to the gut bacteria!), potassiummagnesiumvitamin K and vitamin D, to a degree that causes significant health issues to individuals and incurs significant healthcare costs to society.

It’s almost infuriating how backwards this is – it’s easy to get worked up about this if I let myself. :p

Do you see what I’m saying? It’s not traditional pre-industrial diets and Cheerios with milk, grouped together as “real food” against the “fake food” of Super Body Fuel. Cheerios with milk has much more in common with SBF than it does with any pre-industrial diet. And SBF does everything better than Cheerios. Except marketing. ;) It’s just the next logical step in making industrial food less terrible – indeed, taking it into the realm of (hopefully!) optimal.

Believe me, I wish we didn’t have to do this – I came to SBF from a Paleo diet. But this is where we are, as a society.

Seems we’ve gotten very far from the track, and you’re very right that SBF only needs to be doing better, overall. It’s certainly succeeding in that for me. Aside from all the capitalist marketing of food for questionable reasons, I love to think I could grow my own food, raise my own animals, and somehow really nourish my body on every level, but I just don’t have the right skills, resources, or time for it. And I’ve plenty of other things to deal with.

Are you aware of Bikini, the island where a huge nuke was set off? These days, the natives live almost entirely on processed food: I guess because local food is questionable or non-existent, and everything is shipped in from the US. It has the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in the world. I guess that’s what happens when you nuke the land and sea, nuke a traditional, energetic way of life, and then people live on canned crap :(

The original founder of Actualize, Dr. Sepah, actually wrote a series of blog posts about this whole issue a while back, called The Cure for Obesity is Processed Food.

It’s worth a read if you haven’t already. Part 3 is about ‘lents (complete foods, or what he calls “Nutrifoods”).

u/the_beat_goes_on asks:

Apparently phytochemicals are important, and absent from ‘lents. Maybe that would qualify as a missing nutrient?

I think that is the most reasonable complaint, and the most easily addressed.

Obviously, something like Cheerios has no more phytonutrient content than Super Fuel (both have certain beneficial compounds from the oat flour). But what about fruits and veggies? Like, for people who actually do eat somewhat healthily.

One point is that Super Fuel (but not Soylent) has phytonutrients not only from meager grains like oats or brown rice, but from superfoods like monkfruit and cocoa powder (or Ceylon cinnamon, or freeze-dried strawberries, depending on the flavor) which are rich in antioxidant phytochemicals. That’s one of the reasons we use real spices for the flavors, not isolated flavor compounds (and one of the reasons that people historically have used spices in cooking!).

Another point is that it’s possible to actually include phytonutrients in ‘lents, like u/IcyElemental of Genesis Foods does with PhytoGenesis. I’ve tended to move a little slower and cautiously in terms of adding things, but there are some science-backed phytonutrients and other things that are not strictly vitamins or minerals that I’ve started adding, and more that I’d like to add in the future. It’s just a matter of time, and there’s no reason why ‘lents can’t include them just as easily as they include vitamins and minerals.

But the biggest thing is this.

Even if ‘lents are lacking in crucial phytonutrients, your average meal, even a “healthy” meal with phytonutrient-packed veggies, is still lacking in even more crucial actual vitamins and minerals.

The phytonutrients are not considered vitamins because they have never been shown to be necessary in patients on long-term parenteral nutrition. If and when they do cause issues by being absent from parenteral nutrition, they will become upgraded to vitamins. That’s more or less how choline went from being a B vitamin, to not, to basically becoming one again, according to the FDA.

The kind of medical problems you get from lacking vitamins and minerals are the kinds that are severe and obvious. The kinds of medical problems that may or may not be reduced in likelihood by phytonutrients that have not yet passed the “vitamin” test are by definition not as critical.

So, imagine your ‘lent and your healthy salad, or your grilled steak, or whatever, as two gladiators in the ring, fighting to the death. Who is healthier?

Your favorite ‘lent has a helmet, a shield, a sword. He’s got all the bases covered, all the essentials. But he forgot to put on sunscreen. He’s missing his sunscreen – that’s the missing phytonutrient in this analogy. His skin is going to be uncomfortable tomorrow after a hard day of fighting in the Mediterranean sun. :/

But your healthy salad has his sunscreen. Great. But he’s missing his helmet. His shield is cracked. His sword is too short. These are the essential vitamins and minerals that are deficient or just straight up absent from the meal. You’ve got vitamin K1 in that salad, but how about K2? And where’s the B12? How much of that zinc or magnesium are you actually absorbing from those seeds? How much potassium or magnesium are you actually getting in that steak?

Who do you think is going to win?

Unless you are actively applying a systematic, nutrition-first approach to your “healthy” meals (like the Perfect Health Diet, maybe) I can almost guarantee that you are going to be deficient in something important. Even if you take a cheap Costco multivitamin at the same time. Still not getting that potassium or magnesium, not getting that K2, not getting enough omega-3 fats relative to your inflammatory omega-6, not getting enough fiber to keep your gut bacteria happy.

Phytonutrients are great, but they’re no substitute for essential nutrition.

u/prettyunlikely adds:

This is a very thoughtful post and I wholeheartedly agree. Complete foods are not necessarily replacements for nutritionally balanced whole foods diets. But it would be extremely naive to believe that’s what is being replaced here.

I also think the way ‘lents started out was quite beautiful because of the open source recipes and ingredient transparency. A lot more intentionality has gone into making ‘lents than the majority of the breakfast cereal industry.

On a side note, the marketing machine behind the breakfast cereal industry is unbelievable, because it has somehow made us think that eating bowls of predominantly sugar and processed carbohydrates every morning is somehow healthy and great for children.

The world would be better off if we replaced all breakfast cereals and instant ramen with ‘lents.

And that’s what the messaging should be: take a typical diet of what people actually eat every day and compare it to a complete food diet, not the pie in the sky ideas of what people think would be healthy, but what people really put in their mouths every day.

Someone who eats a muffin or bagel for breakfast every day should switch to ‘lents. Someone who eats a sandwich from most fast food restaurants for lunch every day would almost certainly be better off with ‘lents instead.

Exactly.

Like it or not, this is a topic that we’ll have to keep addressing over and over until ‘lents gain mainstream acceptance. And it’s a worthwhile question to ask, in my opinion.

It’s a question we should be asking of all of our food.

What is missing? And how do you know?

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November 2020 Update

Hi everyone,

To our customers in the US, hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and that you’ve been staying safe and healthy! :)

We’re not doing a Black Friday sale or anything this yearmostly because we don’t do that sort of thing now that we’ve lowered our prices across the board over the years, but also because we’re a bit backlogged and slightly understaffed at the moment. So a lot of orders are running a week behind (sorry!) and we’re not exactly hoping for a bunch of new orders to roll in.

However, if you like dairy, convenience, and cutting carbs, then you might like to check out the ridiculous 50% off everything sale we’re doing right now at Actualize keto meal. :)

In case you hadn’t heard, Actualize is the brand that I acquired and have been rebooting as a sort of side project, lately. It’s a dairy-based ketogenic ‘lent in convenient just-add-water single-serving packets, otherwise pretty similar to Keto Fuel, which is vegan, hypoallergenic, without added fats, and packaged in bulk. Very complementary. It’s been an interesting experience!

And yes, we’re still working on a rebrand and new website for Super Body Fuel, it’s still my baby, and gosh there have been a lot of delays. So… early next year, I hope? :x

Anyway, the coupon code for the Actualize sale is HALFOFFHOLIDAY – good for the rest of this month. Actualize is definitely on the pricier side, but with this deal, the best price we have available is 120 packets for $120, with the biggest Actualize Subscription. That’s about the same price as Keto Fuel.

Added fats and single-serving packets are expensive, so to be honest we’ll be losing money on all orders made with this coupon code! :o But I figure it’s worth getting the word out and getting as much feedback as we can, to see if a premium product like this is really viable. And as the brand grows we should be able to bring the costs down.

Now, we’ve finally started to get some reviews trickling in, and it’s been heartening to see that people actually seem to like it better than other stuff they’ve tried. This review just came in yesterday, for example:

Heaven is smooth and delicious
Somehow this is the smoothest and most delicious formula for a keto meal shake I’ve ever consumed. Worth getting if you’re looking for a full meal replacement shake geared towards keto.
Seren Creech

I don’t know who you are, Seren, but thank you! :) You’re giving me hope.

Oh, and if any of you want a free sample of Actualize included in your next Super Body Fuel order, we’ve still got a few of those left to give away, so send us an email if you want to try it but you’re not in a rush! ;)

Anyway, check it out: Actualize!

To our customers in the UK, I’m afraid we have some bad news… :(

So, thanks to Brexit there are some new VAT rules that will go into effect at the beginning of next year, January 2021, that will impact any businesses shipping product from outside the UK, into the UK. Like us.

You can read more about it, and what it means for complete food customers in the UK, in this r/soylent threadBut the bottom line is, we’re going to stop shipping to the UK at the end of this year. :/ I’m sorry.

Given the extreme cost of shipping packages internationally, we’re already barely breaking even on UK orders, and usually losing money on international subscription orders. This change is just tipping this already precarious situation all the way over the edge.

I wanted to let you know about it now, for two reasons. One is that if you want to stock up on any Super Body Fuel before we stop shipping to the UK, you should do so now, because we’re already backlogged and running out of time before this law takes effect!

The other is that there’s another company in the UK that I strongly encourage you to check out: Genesis Foods. They are essentially the Super Body Fuel of the UK, and I mean that in the best way possible. (I mean, the founder’s name is Joe, not Alex, but other than that it’s pretty similar…)

Joe Barrow at Genesis Foods is the only ‘lent founder out there who takes micronutrient optimization as seriously as I do – he’s very much a kindred spirit in that way. In fact, he used to import Super Micros in bulk to manufacture his product, until he was able to source his own custom MicroGenesis blend. I’m a fan.

So if you’re in the UK, I strongly encourage you to check them out. If you’re low-carb, check out their keto product, KetoGenesis – they’ve even got hypoallergenic and vegan options. Otherwise, check out GlycoGenesis, also with a vegan option.

So, yeah. Do let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions to share. And of course, thanks for everything. Take care!

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

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October 2020 Update

Hi everyone,

Remember how things were a year ago, back when life was normal (whatever that means) and you could be annoyed by the little things, like seeing pumpkin spice everything being advertised everywhere like it was a big deal? (I mean, to be fair, pumpkin spice is a big deal, but…)

Well, it may feel like the world is literally ending now, but the good news is, you can still be annoyed by pumpkin spice, yet again. At least at Super Body Fuel! :)

Because, for the third year in a row, we have brought back our seasonal Pumpkin Spice flavor, yay! :D

As usual, it’s nothing but real, certified organic spices: cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg (pumpkin not included, obviously – that’s how pumpkin spice works). Sweetened with antioxidant-rich, luxuriously expensive monkfruit extract. Obviously. That’s how we do it.

Don’t worry, it’s not “premium” priced (it’s not ridiculously expensive like freeze-dried strawberry) but as a limited-time-only, seasonal flavor, it’s not available for subscription, so here are some handy links if you want to order now:

Hope you like it! :) And best of luck with voting, and avoiding the plague, or whatever else it is you’re busy surviving at the moment. <3

Thanks as always,

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

PS – Also, if you haven’t taken the Complete Food Survey 2020 yet, please consider doing so now! It’s like voting, except slightly less annoying because you can do it online and you get a 10% off coupon code at the end! :D Thanks to everyone who’s already participated.

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September 2020 Update

Hi everyone,

Wow, is it September already? :o Looks like we’re overdue for an update!

Well, we got some updates:

  • Delays from wildfires and supplier issues are over…?
  • Super Micros: our custom vitamin mix is back!
  • Sodium Citrate: included to reduce saltiness.
  • Milk Fuel: in two bags to reduce damage.

And some experiments:

  • Strawberry survey: add natural flavors?
  • Gift cards: now available virtually here!
  • Subscription discounts for renewals only.
  • Actualize: free samples still available!

As you may have noticed, we’ve had some shipping delays the last couple months. :p Our apologies for the inconvenience. We’re just about caught up, now that we’ve got all the ingredients we were waiting on and the wildfires in California are no longer so ominously on our doorstep. So, we’re getting back to normal.

Thankfully, one of the ingredients that we have back in stock is our own custom vitamin mix, available again as Super Micros, and back in the rest of our products – no more placeholder vitamins! :D We’ve also just started using an even more finely powdered form of Cellulose, for insoluble fiber, which should reduce grittiness further, especially immediately after mixed. More noticeably, we’ve updated our formulas with Sodium Citrate to reduce the excess saltiness of the previous version, and also slightly reduce bitterness at the same time.

For Milk Fuel, we’re going back to two smaller bags for every 40 meals, rather than one big bag. Sadly, despite the reduced packaging waste of the bigger bags, they would very frequently split open during shipping and end up being much more wasteful, as well as a very disappointing customer experience! :( We’re keeping the website and everything the same – just a heads up in case you’re wondering why you’re getting two smaller bags when you’re used to getting one.

So, after trying the 20% increase in the strawberry flavor, I’m still dissatisfied with the subtlety of the flavor, especially given the high cost. :/ I’m starting to wonder if we should try adding “natural strawberry flavor” to make the flavor more intense, on par with our other flavors… If this works, we may even be able to reduce the amount of expensive freeze-dried strawberry powder and bring the overall price down to the same level as the other flavors. That might be kind of cool. What do you think? Here’s a quick survey so you can tell us! :D

One new experiment we’re trying, in response to a customer request, is a Super Body Fuel gift card! It’s a virtual gift card where you can choose an amount of money and give the gift of optimal nutrition to someone you (hopefully) like, via email! :) Neat.

Another experiment is making subscription discounts only apply for renewals – in other words, the first order is full-price. This shouldn’t affect existing customers (if you are in the habit of canceling and creating new subscriptions, we encourage you to email us to make any subscription changes for you instead) but hopefully it will reduce the number of people who subscribe and then immediately cancel and never come back again! :p I’d thought about this before, but never bothered until now, when a customer encouraged me to do it – thank you for the suggestion! :)

We want our low prices to reward the people who actually like our stuff and want to stick around. That is, people like you – so if you end up with a subscription sign-up fee for some reason and you’re already an existing customer, just let us know and we’ll refund you the difference. ;) But yeah, you shouldn’t need to cancel a subscription – just email us and we’ll change it for you, or pause it, or adjust the next renewal date, or whatever you want.

Lastly…

We still haven’t launched Actualize! Oops. :p Good news is, we still have free samples available in exchange for honest reviews! :D

What’s Actualize? It’s a dairy-based ketogenic meal that comes in convenient just-add-water packets, which we’re helping reboot with a new look and improved formula, using our custom vitamin mix. :)

If you’re interested in a free sample of Actualize with your next Super Body Fuel order, just send us an email with the flavor you want (vanilla or chocolate, or both) and which subreddit you plan to post your review (like r/soylent)! :D And if there’s another social media platform where you want to post your review instead, just let us know. ;)

Oh, and don’t forget to fill out the strawberry survey:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd96ubQWwS_UNVdDCKGf2-tM_AQcDsvqpajYi_0vQk7VxBAJQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

Thanks as always! :) Stay well.

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

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May 2020 Update

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all hanging in there okay! We’re still here, we’re all healthy (thankfully!) and we have just caught up with our pandemic backlog.

To those of you out in the world, working in essential businesses, thank you. To those of you stuck at home – or away from home – I feel you. If you’re looking for inspiration in the midst of quarantine right now, I highly recommend this little video: Lockdown Productivity: Spaceship You. I hope you find it as helpful a reminder as I have!

Staying healthy, physically and mentally, can be a lot harder than you might expect when you’re stuck in a (metaphorical) spaceship apart from the usual structures of society. If you can take this as an opportunity to come back better than you left, awesome. But no pressure – do what you can. That’s what I’m trying to do.

Anyway, we’ve got a lot of updates:

  • Super Micros: out of stock for a few weeks!
  • NATURELO: temporary placeholder vitamins.
  • 10% DHA: more stable and less smelly.
  • Actualize: free samples for your review!

And a few recipe tweaks coming soon:

  • Sodium Citrate added: to reduce saltiness.
  • Inositol halved: to prevent digestive issues.
  • Strawberry: now with 20% more flavor!

So, the main thing is that we ran out of our custom vitamin mix (oops), and we’re using a different vitamin as a placeholder until we get our resupply shipment. I’m really sorry about this – we had a miscalculation and I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the amount of actual product on our warehouse shelves… :/ So I found a multivitamin, from NATURELO, with similarly high-quality ingredients (methylated B vitamins, chelated minerals, and all that) that’s also vegan, and we’ve started using that in the meantime.

You might not notice a difference, but that’s what’s going on. And as a result, we’re unfortunately out of Super Micros and unable to resume shipping them until we get our resupply. :( My apologies.

We should be back to normal, vitamin-wise, in a few weeks.

In a (hopefully) satisfying conclusion to the seaweed-smell saga, we’ve switched to another algae-based DHA powder with a lower concentration of oil (10% instead of 18%) relative to the carrier powder, that should be more stable and less likely to smell. We’re still targeting the same amount of oil, over 500mg vegan long-chain omega-3 fats per day, including 400mg DHA. Hope you like it! :)

Here’s a new thing. We’re getting ready to launch our dairy-based ketogenic “just add water” partner product, Actualize:

https://goactualize.com/

If you would like a free sample of Actualize included in your next Super Body Fuel order, we are doing a giveaway – free samples in exchange for you posting an honest review on reddit (r/soylent or any relevant subreddit that you frequent)! :D

If you’re interested, just send us an email with the flavor you want (vanilla or chocolate, or both) and which subreddit you plan to post your review. If there’s another place outside of reddit where you’d rather post a review, just let us know! :)

And if you’ve already tried your sample, consider this a friendly reminder to please post your review on reddit when you get a chance. ;p

Oh, in case you’re wondering, we are still working on a rebrand for Super Body Fuel – it’s just been delayed a few months by all the interesting times this year. :d Stay tuned.

Coming soon are a couple minor recipe adjustments. First of all, based on updated nutrition data on our latest rice protein, we’ve increased the amount of salt to compensate for lower sodium levels than before, but that’s… made things a little too salty. So we’ll be substituting a bit of Sodium Citrate for some of that extra salt, which is a less-salty sodium source. Also, it’s supposed to be absorbed more readily than your usual Sodium Chloride and it maybe even helps reduce the perception of bitterness a bit, which is neat.

And at this point we’ve had a few people report digestive issues with the DHA and Myo-Inositol update this year, and just in case that’s due to the Inositol, we’ll be reducing the amount from 2g to 1g per day. A typical diet naturally includes 1-2g of Inositol anyway (less on a low-carb diet) but this may help those of you who don’t tolerate it as well. Let us know what you think.

Ooh, also, based on feedback that our strawberry flavor isn’t strong enoughwe’re bumping up the amount of freeze-dried strawberry powder by 20%! It looks like this may actually cause us to lose money on Milk Fuel, oops, so let us know what you think. :o I wish I were exaggerating, but there will be literally $15 worth of strawberries in each Milk Fuel Strawberry bag with this change – and that’s the wholesale price. Worth it or not? :p

At the same time, I suspect that the alkaline Potassium Bicarbonate in the mix is reacting with the acidic strawberries to mute the flavor and reduce the bright pink color as it dissolves, which is definitely not awesome. So we’ll also be experimenting with using only Dipotassium Phosphate instead, just for the strawberry flavors.

Okay, long update, I know. :d Thank you for sticking with us. Just keep doing your best, and we’ll do the same! :)

Thanks, and take care.

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

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March 2020 Update

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to give you a quick update about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – how it’s impacting Super Body Fuel, and what we’re doing about it.

Over the past week, orders have been coming in at an accelerating rate as everyone has started stockpiling food and supplies. We’re seeing an exponential inflection point with order volume more than tripling all of a sudden, and we’re not the only ones – Vite Ramen and other companies in this space have chimed in about this pattern. In other words, you may already have decided to stock up on Super Body Fuel, and if you haven’t yet, you’re probably thinking about it.

This is not a terrible problem to have, but we’re a small operation, and our ability to scale is limited. For now, we’re slightly backlogged, with delays anywhere from a day to a week, but it’s hard to say how bad things will get. At the moment, we’re ramping up our production schedule as much as we can without burning out and compromising our health, as well as stockpiling our own ingredients in anticipation of future demand.

As a registered food production facility following cGMP guidelines, we already have a lot of structures in place to ensure the safety and cleanliness of our product. But in light of this emerging pandemic, we’re taking even more precautions now to safeguard your health and ours. Our manufacturing team already wears gloves, masks, and hair nets at all times, and our warehouse team wears gloves. We wash and sanitize our equipment and work surfaces daily, and of course hand-washing is a frequent and required practice in any food facility. But we’re now keeping hand sanitizer by the door, sanitizing door knobs and faucet handles multiple times a day, and making extra sure to wash our hands for the full 30 seconds every time!

Fortunately, no one on the team is sick. To help keep it that way, we’re providing preventative supplements for free to the whole team, including Vitamin C, Vitamins A and D, Zinc and Copper, and immune-boosting mushroom extracts including Cordyceps and Turkey Tail. And of course, we all drink plenty of our own product. If you’re not already using our Fuel for the majority of your diet, we encourage you to consider adding extra Super Micros to your shakes to ensure that you get enough of these essential vitamins and minerals.

But if any of us do start feeling a little under the weather, we’ll make sure to stay at home to recover and avoid getting anyone else sick! Fortunately, we provide lots of options for paid time off, including unlimited vacation time and opportunities for paid self-education, so you don’t have to worry about anyone at Super Body Fuel working while sick just to pay the bills. We’re checking in daily with each other to report on any potential symptoms (none so far!) to ensure that nothing slips under the radar.

If you’re feeling healthy now and thinking of doing a multiple-day water fast to help reset your immune system, we’ve heard from some customers who find that supplementing with Super Electrolytes during the fast makes it safer and much more pleasant. Two teaspoons of Super Electrolytes with a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, dissolved into a big glass of water (and optionally with some stevia or monkfruit extract) is a good daily dose. Oh, and it’s also a good way to stay hydrated if you get the flu.

Most importantly, please take care of yourself! We’ll try to do the same. Get plenty of sleep, give yourself time to relax, wash your hands, and do the whole social distancing thing for the sake of yourself and everyone around you. Slow down the spread of this virus. And yeah, eat healthy. Don’t forget to stock up on oil or milk too! :d

And in other news…

As you may have heard, our latest formula update with the algae-based DHA came with some unintended consequences. A fraction of customers found that it made their shakes taste like seaweed – or worse, fishy! :o Obviously, this is not okay. So we reformulated to use half the DHA, with 400mg per day instead of 800mg, and over 500mg of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in total – still more than the typical fish oil supplement. We also revised our manufacturing process to mix the ingredient in only at the last minute, to reduce any exposure to air that could potentially increase the risk of oxidation. As a result, everyone who complained of a fishy taste has been happy with their half-DHA replacement, and we haven’t had any new complaints from this latest fix.

However, a few people still detect a hint of seaweed, even in the new batches. For now, the best solution is to let the mixture soak for longer in the fridge, but next we’ll be trying a DHA powder with a lower concentration of algal oil, which should reduce the smell and any risks of oxidation even further. This debacle has delayed the launch of our rebrand and new website by a couple of months, but it will be worth it to make sure we have the best product possible for the launch! :D

If you notice any issues, please let us know. All of our products and flavors should now be available in the latest, non-fishy formula, except for Keto Fuel Plain, which is on sale until we’ve cleared out the old stock. :) If you’ve tried the original DHA formula and didn’t have a problem, now’s your chance to stock up! ;D

Phew. :p

Thanks everyone, and stay well! <3

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)