Using a pump for oil measuring is awesome

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Using a pump for oil measuring is awesome

This entry is part 32 of 40 in the series DIY Soylent

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.

pump bottle

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

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…

ran over the sides

… 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 output

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.

Insert Dr. Horrible evil laugh here.

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By | 2016-10-14T07:18:07+00:00 August 8th, 2014|Categories: Preparation, Soylent|Tags: , |4 Comments

About the Author:

Chris Bair is a computer geek and system administrator for his "day job". He became involved in the powdered foods (aka "soylent") movement in January 2014, originally with a conventional recipe and later switching to a high fat, low carb "ketogenic" variant on October 2014. In January 2015 he created the recipe for Keto Chow and released it without restriction for anyone to use, at the same time he began mixing the recipe up for people that wanted a finished product and has seen steady growth in the business every month since. Chris has lived in Utah for most of his life, except for a few years living in Chile where he learned Castillian. Chris and his wife have two sets of twins with a couple singltons thrown in for good measure.


  1. Ann August 11, 2014 at 12:21 am - Reply

    Hi there!
    I’m new to your blog. I love the oil dispenser idea! Forgive my ignorance, but I had a question about low-cal vs regular People Chow. (I couldn’t find a better place to ask this question.) The nutrition facts for the low-cal version and the regular version appear to be identical. Am I missing something? Where can I find out the difference in the nutrition facts? Is the only difference the additional two teaspoons of oil?

    • chris August 11, 2014 at 9:16 am - Reply

      Now I feed silly. That’s fixed now. I’ve updated the facts for both. The main difference between the low-cal and regular is the low cal omits 100g of corn masa for each day. 100g of corn masa is really close to 1 US cup and so its omission changed the number of cups from 4 a day to 3.

  2. Ann August 11, 2014 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Chris!

  3. […] 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 […]

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