TL;DR: swapped psyllium husk for acacia gum, added more xanthan gum resulting in better texture and improved bowel… stuff.
It’s been some time since there was a major formulation change in Keto Chow, it’s been stable for over a year. As part of the progress towards Keto Chow 2.0 I’ve updated the recipe. On paper it looks like a nominal change: replaced one ingredient and increased another. Functionally it’s a significant revision.
For those unaware: I’m working on getting Keto Chow mixed and packed in a co-packing facility. There are a bunch of reasons for this, primarily it will increase the amount of stuff I can make since it’ll no longer be such a manual process. It will also free up a lot of time =). In order to do this I’m needing to find replacements for the problematic ingredients that can’t be found in 100kg+ sizes (the vitamins, protein, flavoring) in addition to finding a co-packing facility. I’m in the latter stages of getting the vitamin mix replacement, the second revision of the protein+flavoring should be coming sometime in the next week or two and it’s almost time to “for realsies” sign papers with co-packers.
Several weeks ago I went to a trade show with various food ingredient vendors. I knew my Potassium and Xanthan Gum supplier would be there, the people I’m getting the vitamin pre-mix from had a booth and I was surprised that the lady I buy peanut flour from was there too (“hey, I buy your stuff… wait a minute, I buy it from YOU!”). I was looking for an alternative vitamin pre-mix supplier but was also on the lookout for protein sources and especially a solution to my Psyllium Husk problem.
Psyllium Husk provides fiber (and is the primary ingredient in metamucil if you are wondering) as well as acting as a thickener; it grows in India. All psyllium husk is shipped from India and while getting it in small quantities in the United States is easy, buying a palette worth is difficult without going directly to the manufacturers in India and buying an entire shipping container worth. Don’t get me wrong, a shipping container in my back yard would be kinda cool but I didn’t want to go that route. I found a company in Chicago that would sell psyllium by the 25kg/55lb bag but their supplies were sporadic and if they were out of stock I was out of luck and would need to go back to buying 12lb bags from AllStarHealth. No bueno.
At the show I happened upon one booth for a company specializing in dietary fibers. So I asked if they had psyllium husk powder and the guy asked me what I needed it for. Honestly that was the best response: instead of just saying “no”, he figured out what my “pain point” was. Turns out that guy in the booth was doing dietary ketosis, said “oh you don’t want psyllium, THIS is the stuff you want to use for keto” and so I was introduced to Acacia Gum.
Acacia Gum – Features and Benefits. This was sizeable enough I decided to put it into a separate post so it’s easier to refer to, go ahead and read it, I’ll wait.
Now, as I said earlier: Psyllium Husk also acts as a thickener and while Acacia thickens liquid a little, replacing psyllium with acacia left the mixture rather watery. I tried some other thickening ingredients but came back to Xanthan Gum which I was already using. I upped the amount almost 3x and the thickness was just right.
I considered Keto Chow 1.0.4 to be exceptionally smooth with practically no gritty texture (especially compared to the stuff I had in the past that was full of coconut flour and chia seeds). Apparently psyllium husk powder does have some texture/grit to it because the change was notable. Keto Chow 1.5 has no discernible (to me and those I’ve had test it) texture. It’s seriously like somebody melted a milk shake. It also mixes better: there’s no need to do a second mixing 5 minutes after initial mixing to prevent the fiber from accumulating on the bottom in clumps. Acacia Gum is also nicer to your intestines and seems to eliminate some of the bowel issues people were experiencing when initially starting. For lack of a better way to say it delicately: you should be able to put more trust in a fart being just a fart, especially at the beginning.
We do have some of the old recipe still on the shelves but most of the flavors will be transitioned over to 1.5 in the next week or so. If you don’t notice the texture at all in the older formulation it won’t be a big deal but if you’re anxious to get the new stuff just put a note in your order comments and we’ll do our best to send the new stuff. We have most of the week packs in 1.5 and a few of the day flavors. Samples are all currently the old stuff.