“It’s just food. Relax,” the Soylent spokesperson reassured me as I prepared for one of the stranger challenges of my life: replacing my conventional food intake with a thick nutritional sludge for an entire month. The thing is, Soylent isn’t just food. The smoothie-like substance, which began life as a crowdfunding sensation last year before attracting heavyweight investors like Andreessen Horowitz, is basically powdered science — human nutrition reduced to its most basic essentials. Thousands of years of culinary knowledge have been tossed aside, all in the name of efficiency.

Soylent isn’t just a science experiment for Silicon Valley movers and shakers who don’t have time to eat: eking out maximum caloric bang for your buck with a nutritionally complete substance could eventually be a huge deal in impoverished areas of the world. But these are early days, and today, we’re talking about a journalist coming to grips with surviving solely on powdered food.

The name “Soylent” is a reference to the 1973 film Soylent Green, in which it’s revealed that a futuristic new food designed to feed an overcrowded Earth is made of people. Soylent is not made of people, as far as I can tell. But there’s still a substantial level of mental preparation one goes through before substituting it for all their meals. This is my last bagel. This is my last banana. This is my last scoop of ice cream. This is my last 18-year single malt. I suppose there are people in the developed world for whom food genuinely feels like a burden rather than a pleasure, but their existence is purely theoretical to me.

Alas, here I was, getting ready to switch from real food — stuff with texture, flavor, ritual, all the trappings of overindulgent American fare — to a beige liquid. Roughly 2 liters of it per day. So, what’s it like to spend a month in the post-food era?