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Pardon our dust – we’re doing a massive update to the shopping cart!

The shopping cart has been having problems of late, you’ll select a flavor, try to add it to the cart, and you get an error. It sucks.

The problem is with the “theme” we are using for the cart – but the developer (who has been very nice and eager to be paid to fix problems) has suddenly decided that: nope, not his problem. So… today I’m switching themes.

That means that a lot of the store is going to be pretty janky for a few hours (or days) as I get all the functionality moved into the new theme. The result should be a lot cleaner and also will be more betterer for mobile users (which account for around 75% of the visitors to the site).

So – if the site looks weird and stuff isn’t where you think it should be: just wait for a bit, I should have it sorted out soon.

In the mean-time, did you know I added zip-up hoodies to the “shirts and gear” page? they’re REALLY nice, bought one myself and Keto Chow made a whole $0.07 on the transaction.

By |2020-02-22T08:17:47-07:00February 22nd, 2020|Categories: Site or Store Stuff|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

It has Arrived: 20% off Chocolate Peanut Butter

I asked my lovely wife if she was crazy this morning. Let me give you some context: we’ve been running sales on various flavors for the last several weeks and every time we’ve done them that particular flavor has sold like crazy. Chocolate Peanut Butter is my favorite flavor of Keto Chow and anyone who says differently is just lying to themselves (or allergic to peanuts). The thought of putting Chocolate Peanut Butter on sale frankly scares me, but she said to do it, so I’ll do it.

We’re talking $60 for a week, $10.30 for a day and $4.80 for a sample.

Here’s where it gets interesting though: The last several weeks I’ve been working on a new shopping cart that should make things moar fasterer. I’m not quite ready to pull down the old cart on thebairs.net but I’m not putting this sale on the old site, only on store.ketochow.xyz – so head on over there to get your tasty, tasty Chocolate Peanut Butter. Also, let me know if you see any problems.

Of note: the build-a-month and build-a-week bundles have been replaced with a bulk discount. Just add 4 (or 7) of them to your cart and you’ll see the discount right there. Should be far less confusing for new customers. I also haven’t gotten around to bitcoin payments yet and I’m still trying to figure out how to do subscriptions on the new site.

By |2016-09-12T13:53:47-06:00September 12th, 2016|Categories: Keto Chow, Site or Store Stuff|Tags: , , |6 Comments

Credit Card payment via Stripe works again (sigh)

Last week when I was on vacation I spent one morning updating the plugins on my site. It was super fun to do over a cellular connection but that’s vacation. Somehow while I was doing the updates I managed to deactivate credit card payments using Stripe. That meant you could still pay via Paypal, Credit Card (again via Paypal but it’s confusing to look at), and Bitcoin. I noticed that sales were down a bit but I couldn’t figure out why.

Ever been half way through the day and discovered your pants were unzipped? I make it a policy to let people know if I see that. I feel like an old curmudgeon telling a girl that her dress is tucked into her nylons but I figure they would rather know. I know I do!

Anyway So it’s turned back on and everything is happy again.

By |2016-06-30T15:44:15-06:00June 30th, 2016|Categories: Site or Store Stuff|Tags: , |2 Comments

Keto Chow 1.5

This entry is part 127 of 209 in the series Ketogenic Diet

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.

Site fun, Sous Vide, Stronglifts Update

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Weight Lifting

Been having fun with the site lately. And by “fun” I mean it’s been wonky since Sunday when the two web/database servers were getting hammered hard, load average was up around 50+. I’m hopeful that it’s settled down now. Most recently I got a fun error with SQL where people couldn’t place new orders, got that fixed but we didn’t get any orders for most of Wednesday morning. Anyway I have multiple app servers and database servers now for extra fun redundancy – Looking forward to boring normalcy =)

In completely unrelated news, I grabbed a Sous Vide (soo VEED) precision cooker and last night started some meat cooking at 136° F for 44 hours. It’ll be done Thursday at which point I’ll sear the outside for maillard reaction fun. It probably won’t be as good as the prime rib I got a few weeks ago but should still be nice and yummy, with very little effort on my part.

2016-05-17 20.20.11

2016-05-17 20.34.10

2016-05-18 18.21.17Lastly, weight lifting is still going well. I’m on my 5th week and I still haven’t missed rep. That’s kinda expected since I started with the bare bar (45lbs) and have been working my way up according to the plan. Honestly this was a good thing since I needed to work on my form…. a lot. Currently I’m at:

  • Squat: 105
  • Bench Press: 85
  • Barbell Row: 95
  • Over-Head Press: 70
  • Dead Lift: 145

Eventually I’ll miss a rep and the app will have me increase the weight slower but for now it just keeps going up.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

By |2017-01-26T19:29:21-07:00May 18th, 2016|Categories: Site or Store Stuff, Weight Lifting|Tags: , |4 Comments

Day 075 – 100 days of Keto (Chow)

This entry is part 62 of 81 in the series 100 days of keto
  • Weight: 206.2
  • Blood ketones: <0.1 mmol/L


Dear Texas Roadhouse peanuts,

It’s been fun but I think we need to break up.

Sincerely, Chris.

We went to dinner last night at Texas Roadhouse, I got the pork chops, salad and broccoli. I should have been WELL under my net carbs for the day but then I ate a couple peanuts, then some more, and more, and more. I think I ended up eating like 40-50 of them (the individual peanuts inside the shells). This morning I had no measurable ketones as payment. Dag nabbit. OK, new plan: the next time I go to Texas Roadhouse or Five Guys: no peanuts. I apparently lack the willpower to eat them sensibly and not eating any is frankly easier.

There’s a bug with subscriptions right now, you’ll get a 404 wen you try to view your subscription. I’m hoping a fix comes out in the next day or so – until then if you want to cancel a subscription just let me know and I’ll get it done. I also just changed the web server a bit, it’s now two servers in a cluster and I finally got memcached working for realsies with nginx. Yay!

By |2016-03-18T09:34:17-06:00March 18th, 2016|Categories: 100 days of keto, Keto Chow|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Day 051 – 100 days of Keto (Chow)

This entry is part 42 of 81 in the series 100 days of keto
  • Weight: 205.5
  • Blood ketones: 0.1 mmol/L

Probably going to I.F. (Intermittent Fasting) until this afternoon, might not though – we’ll see if I get hungry or not. The revised formulation of my custom vitamin mix is ordered (with magnesium citrate instead of chloride to see if that removes the metallic aftertaste), hopefully it gets here soon!

I recently switched over to using ShipStation for order logistics and it seems to be working quite well so far. It has some really nice features and speeds up the process of shipping stuff out. It also supports multiple carriers which hasn’t been an issue but is nice just in case I need it down the line. There was only one really big issue I saw: I’m using woocommerce product bundles for the “build a week”, “build a month” and “sample all the things” bundles and they kept coming through into shipstation with a “Part of: Sample all the things” tagged onto them. It was all well and good until we tried to use the ShipStation picking list – the list that gives you a run-down of all the inventory you need to fill the current orders. The problem was the bundled products showed up separately  from the non-bundled items so we would end up with something like the image at the top of this post, but for every flavor and size permutation. Didn’t fly and we went back to using the old “variation report” (on a side note, I’ve sat through enough aquanauts that we’ve taken to calling it the “creature report” – it’s a whole syllable shorter).

I got a response from the WooCommerce support guys on a ticket I opened and they gave me some code that disables the bundle metadata. The basic premise is you follow this guide and add the following code, using whichever of the 3 methods you prefer:

     add_filter( 'woocommerce_bundles_filter_order_items_part_of_meta', 'wc_ninja_disable_bundled_part_of_meta', 15 );
     function wc_ninja_disable_bundled_part_of_meta() {
          return false;

I ended up doing the “write a custom plugin” option since it can easily be activated/deactivated and will survive changes in themes and other tomfoolery. In case some random internet search led you here because you have the same problem, here’s a handy plugin, ready to go: woocommerce-disable-bundles-filter.zip


By |2016-10-14T07:17:54-06:00February 23rd, 2016|Categories: 100 days of keto, Keto Chow, Site or Store Stuff|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The “vitamins now included” stickers

So it’s been about a month since I started putting the vitamins into the powder mixture. All of the packages I have mixed up have the vitamins included so the “vitamins are included” stickers are a bit redundant. I’m running low on the stickers and don’t want to make more so as soon as I run out of the ones I have I’m going to stop putting the stickers on. If you order one of the more popular flavors like vanilla, rich chocolate or cookies & cream you might get a package without the sticker as early as next week, less popular flavors will have them for a while. On a related note, last night I was updating the labels and noticed that the day packs still said to take a vitamin pill doh! So I fixed that.

Final note, my preferred DNS registrar recently had a sale on .xyz domains so you can now get to this site by going to ketochow.xyz (you can also use keto-chow.com and ketochow.net).

Why don’t I have ketochow.com (without a dash)? well, that’s a fun story involving a domain squatter who saw me register @ketochow on twitter, found the guy in England that owned ketochow.com, bought it for about $160 and then turned around and tried to shake me down for $6000. I declined and he then tried to sell it to my “competitors” whom all flatly refused to work with him (thanks guys!).

By |2015-10-09T10:26:21-06:00October 9th, 2015|Categories: Keto Chow, Site or Store Stuff|Tags: , |0 Comments

Fun with Nginx

WARNING: the following is geeky devops/sysadmin stuff that has nothing to do with keto.

I moved servers quite recently and in the process went from Apache to Nginx. Nginx is indeed much faster but it has come with a pretty steep learning curve to get everything working right. And today I ran into a problem with non-logged in (guest) users getting scrambled or lost shopping carts. Seems to be the “microcaching” that was messing things up. I’ve removed that and it seems to be working much better. Memcached is still going but just for wordpress “transients” and not sessions. I’ll see if I can reenable those later. Sort of reminds me of this GIF from devopsreactions.

Let me know if you experience any weirdness.

By |2015-09-02T21:47:44-06:00September 2nd, 2015|Categories: Site or Store Stuff|Tags: , |2 Comments