This week we’re doing 20% off all the different sizes of Cookies & Cream. In my opinion, it’s one of the sweeter flavors and one of my wife’s favorite flavors. It’s also the flavor used in this post over on /r/keto for an eggnog recipe (dang, still haven’t had a chance to try that with all the Keto Chow 2.0 testing I did this weekend).
Mark from the Low-Carb Show, contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I would like to do an interview for his podcast and the recording has just been posted. His wife sent him down the rabbit hole of Ketogenic Meal Replacement drinks and he found Keto Chow, ordered some, and enjoyed it enough to get me on his podcast to talk about Keto Chow, the progress of Keto Chow 2.0, Domain Squatters, Mac&Cheese, and a bunch of other stuff! I reference a post about Arches National Park in the podcast, I’ll save you the hassle of finding it: “Vacationing for a week (mostly) on DIY soylent” (you can see more of my Dad’s stuff here) – this is from about a month before I started doing Keto and was still doing “People Chow” which was primarily corn masa.
I keep telling my teenagers I’m “Internet Famous” – they still just roll their eyes.
It’s about time for an update on Keto Chow 2.0, wouldn’t you agree? This week we finally tackled the funny aftertaste problem for realsies. The Whey Protein Isolate we started experimenting with significantly reduced the bad flavor (so it was essentially non-existent)… for a few hours. If you tasted the mix anywhere from 30 minutes to 3-4 hours after mixing it would taste fine. For many people, this would be sufficient, but I like to mix up 3-4 days worth at a time so I can just grab them out of the fridge. I’ve said it before: I’m not going to sell a product I wouldn’t use (and enjoy using!), I’m pretty much my worst customer =). The time delay aspect was particularly vexing and pointed to some sort of ingredient interaction causing the issue. I got samples of each ingredient, mixed them up in water, both alone and in certain combinations. Straight potassium citrate isn’t particularly nice tasting.
Anyhow, the Isolate all by itself did not have any weird flavor, nothing really did… until I tasted the Enzyme Blend + Whey Protein combination. I discovered the flavor anomaly! The enzyme blend alone was fine, the breakdown of the lactose in the whey by the enzymes was most decidedly the problem and it got worse over 2 days. On Thursday we had new samples made that omitted the enzyme blend. I’m super happy to report that all of the flavors now taste exactly the way they’re supposed to, and with the “200 mesh” xanthan gum you can mix it without a blender and get good results – everything is coming up Milhouse! At least in KC 2.0.0 there isn’t going to be an enzyme blend. For most this won’t be an issue, but if you’re lactose intolerant you will want to consider using Lactaid or another enzyme blend. There are 0.58g of lactose in each serving of Keto Chow 2.0 thanks to the Whey Protein Isolate being super low in carbs. Adding 1/2 cup of heavy cream brings the lactose up to 3.31g.
This coming week we’ll make some bigger sample batches so I can start doing more extensive short-to-medium term tests as we gear up for full-on production; which I now expect to be starting (maybe) March 6 or later, not sure which flavors we’ll be doing first. The plan is that they’ll be mixing up all of the ingredients except the color and flavor in their giant mixer to make a base powder, then they can do smaller batches for the individual flavors. Anyhow, I’m super excited about the prospects of getting this going!
On a final note, this week I added a “Recipes and Flavor Hacks” page, check it out.
We apparently didn’t even come close to properly anticipating the amount of black blender bottles we would need to have one included in the “Sample all the Things” bundle. We completely ran out and more won’t be here until late April or Early May! So we’re going to go back to having the sample bundle in a bag instead of a blender bottle, which is sad since the Keto Chow logo on the side was really cool! Most of the people ordering the bundles are new customers so they won’t even know what they’re missing. You can, however, still add a blender bottle separately to your order – we just don’t have black available!
Artwork adapted from Hyperbole and a Half (her FAQ says I can use it so long as I have “Proper credit includes a prominent, easily visible link to the source of the material you want to use” – DONE! =)
New week, new flavor on sale! This week it’s 20% off all the different sizes of Chocolate Fudge. It has a sort of “brownie” flavor.
TL;DR: major progress, gotta wait on the old protein to go back and get new stuff, production might start as early as next week (or not).
Yesterday I had the day off so we did some work on Keto Chow 2.0. We received some test samples of the different flavors using a different whey protein. The short version of the story is: we were going to be using a whey protein concentrate (80% protein) but there was a rather severe metallic aftertaste when we used the actual protein that was purchased in bulk. We decided to try a different brand from the same distributor (so we could apply credit for the returned concentrate) and instead of concentrate, we got whey protein isolate that’s 90% protein. The isolate is going to be more expensive (for me to buy, price will be the same) but it tastes good, has more protein, and actually has fewer carbs (win!). Specifically, the isolate has 1/3 the carbs with 2g per 100g instead of 6g, and 90g of protein compared to 79g. The bad news is the nutrition on the labels isn’t going to match what’s actually in there (the good news is it’s better than what’s on the label!) – for this first batch I don’t have the resources to have them redone so there will be a sticker directing you to the website for updated information. We’re working on returning the concentrate and getting the isolate delivered, I’m guessing that will take a week. When production starts I’ll update the Keto Chow 2.0 nutrition page with the new information.
We also ran into some issues with the viscosity of the mix. It would mix up pretty thin and watery in a blender bottle but use an actual blender or immersion blender and it thickens right up! I’m still waiting on a reply from my 2:00 am email about my theory but I think the issue is the co-packer used a granulated xanthan gum instead of the fine powder we have been using. This caused the xanthan gum to not fully integrate and there was a slight “tapioca” texture. My guess is we just need to switch xanthan gum form factor and it’ll be good for blender or blender bottle.
The flavors all tested extremely well with 2 people telling me to get the problems resolved NOW so they can order a bag of the Salted Caramel flavor! I even had my children do a tasting session, because that’s how we do market research… or something =)
For any interested, here are the differences between the concentrate I was going to use and the isolate I will be using per 100g:
|Calories From Fat||40||11||-29||kCal|
New week, new flavor on sale! This week it’s 20% off all the different sizes of Snickerdoodle. It has a nice cinnamon flavor (like a snickerdoodle cookie!).
It’s February… again. That must mean it’s time for the #rootstech conference. Like last year, the last several days we’ve been setting up computers and the rest of the week (through Saturday) we’re running computer labs. Every year I’m always faced with the decision of what to do for food since there’s not any food at the conference that’s not carbs, carbs, carbs, with a little protein and fat. I can either bring Keto Chow in HydroFlasks, or I can just not worry about eating and Intermittent Fast instead – eating all my food when I get home. Today I’m opting for the fasting approach because sometimes it’s easier to not eat anything. I’ll be drinking water throughout the day and I have a bunch of Keto Chow at home for when I get done… at whatever time that is. I might drink 3 shakes or I might drink one and then melt a bunch of cheese and eat it with a fork.
New week, new flavor on sale! This week it’s 15% off all the different sizes of Strawberry Blast. It has one of the more muted flavors. Personally, I like to use a little DaVinci Strawberry Sugar Free Syrup to give it a little more kick. Strawberry Blast is pink which makes it the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day (other than a spatula).
To recap for those who don’t live and breathe this stuff:
- I’m in the final stages of having Keto Chow produced at a contract manufacturer.
- Keto Chow 2.0 differs from Keto Chow 1.9 on the protein/flavor/sweetener – I’m not able to get Dymatize Elite in 500KG batches so by necessity we have to get our own stuff to replace it. The most obvious difference will be the flavoring in KC2.0 will be our own stuff.
Anyhow, we ran into a problem with the manufacturing. I had the co-packer make me some new test batches and the flavors came back really weird. Initially, I thought it was the potassium chloride we added but after extensive testing, it turned out to be a problem in the protein powder. The initial tests they did were with a random equivalent protein powder and the new samples were straight from the bulk powder they purchased for our batches. We’ve gone back and tried some different flavoring and some bitter masking agents but to no avail.
I’m not going to sell a product I don’t love. It has to have a “wow, that was really good, I want more!” going for it or it’s not going to be released.
So, as of today, we’re going to use a different protein powder from a different manufacturer. It’s likely this will add some to the cost, I’m hoping it’s less than $1-2 and we’re still aiming to have KC2.0 cost less than KC1.9. This means that Keto Chow 2.0 is going to be delayed. If we can find a direct drop-in replacement for the protein powder it may be as little as a week before we get things going.
We’re coming up on almost a year since I decided to start this endeavor – I hope we can be shipping 2.0 well before Fed 15th.
This morning we headed down to the manufacturer to work on the problem. We brought along a Keto Chow 1.9 rich chocolate in powder form, a bag of Dymatize Rich Chocolate for comparison, and a blender bottle of mixed Chocolate Peanut Butter. He had complained that it didn’t taste very good and he didn’t feel confident evaluating the mixes so when he had the Chocolate Peanut Butter (with the heavy cream) he was astonished in the extreme “Oh wow, that’s actually really good” – yep that’s the goal! We did a bunch of various tests combining different stuff together but the most telling test was when we tasted the plain whey protein in water… and the bad taste was there! After that, he said he was going to go back to the distributor and get a refund and/or exchange it for a different protein. He said the protein guys may send out a food scientist to work on the problem but ideally, we may have a solution (maybe) quickly.