xanthan gum

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Problem with Vanilla 2.0 viscosity

This entry is part 169 of 209 in the series Ketogenic Diet

TL;DR: we’ve pulled Vanilla 2.0 and it’s going to be re-mixed, it’ll be a few weeks before we have Vanilla in stock. The other flavors coming next week appear to be just fine.

I was super happy to have Vanilla Keto Chow 2.0 in stock and available. I regularly do quality control on the product so I grabbed a bag of Vanilla 2.0 and mixed up 6, I could tell immediately that there was a problem – the viscosity (thickness) was all wrong. Instead of being thick like a milk shake it was thin like milk or a protein shake. I let it sit overnight and it was still thin in the morning. It tastes the same, and nutritionally it’s not a problem – all the xanthan gum does is increase viscosity.

So, I spent the day driving back and forth to the manufacturer figuring stuff out. They definitely added xanthan gum to the mix – each batch goes through a pretty meticulous quality control procedure:

  • The formula is multiplied out into the size batch they need and the total mass required in kilograms for each ingredient is put onto a tracking sheet
  • As each ingredient is weighed out, the technician notes the reading on the scale, initials the reading and a second technician initials that it was correctly done
  • the total batch weight is compared to the target weight
  • they routinely verify their inventory based on what they brought in minus what was supposed to be used.

The batch for Vanilla should have used around 9 Kg of xanthan gum – that’s roughly 20lbs. The final weight was within 0.01kg of the target.

So we’re not sure what is going on with Vanilla – the only difference between it and most other flavors is color (or lack thereof) and the flavor mix. The end result is we yanked Vanilla from the site and zeroed out the inventory. All this got me spooked that the other flavors might have similar problems, Chocolate is fine but Cookies & Cream along with Salted Caramel are going into bagging early next week. So that was my first trip down there. I brought two blender bottles with the right amount of water and heavy cream and mixed them up right there. Viscosity is perfect on Cookies & Cream as well as Salted Caramel. We discussed several options and ultimately it was decided that they are going to re-do the batch. So I drove back down, this time with all of the remaining Vanilla 2.0. We’re going to have to get new bags printed which may slow things down some. I expect the earliest we’ll see Vanilla 2.0 will be 3-4 weeks from now (early to late June 2017).

Anybody who was shipped Vanilla 2.0 should have gotten an email from me earlier today with options for what they want to do. One thing I forgot in the email was that if they choose to keep the Vanilla and happen to have xanthan gum on hand (or if they want to order some using the refunds) it just needs 1.3g of xanthan gum in 44.1g of vanilla and you have the right viscosity – I tested it myself =) If you happened to have ordered Vanilla 2.0 and didn’t see an email from me, I’ll be following up with those that haven’t responded yet.

By |2017-05-05T16:43:25-06:00May 5th, 2017|Categories: Keto Chow, Site or Store Stuff|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

State of the Keto Chow – the transition to 2.0, and you

This entry is part 167 of 209 in the series Ketogenic Diet


It’s time to talk about the status of switching to Keto Chow 2.0, what to expect from 1.9 and such. About 2 months ago we did “one great last” purchase of protein powder for 1.9 – it was essentially how much of each flavor we had used over the previous 2 months – except Rich Chocolate, we ordered 3 months worth of that. The idea was to get everything finalized as far as mixing went and hopefully be running out a bit after 2.0 became available.

As you know: 2.0 was delayed, and delayed, we finally got Chocolate 2.0 in the large bags. The progress manufacturing the bags has been somewhat slow and steady – I actually did a good/bad thing in having them do chocolate first – which had nearly 2x as many packages as any other flavor – it’s good that we have a lot of Chocolate but it took a while to work through the production of it, at the expense of having other flavors quicker. Anyway, here is the order they are making the flavors in:

  1. Chocolate – delivered
  2. Cookies & Cream – delivered
  3. Salted Caramel – delivered
  4. Strawberry – delivered
  5. Banana – delivered
  6. Peanut Butter – delivered
  7. Mocha – delivered
  8. Vanilla – delivered

So here’s a quick rundown on 1.9 availability for the week packs:

  • Gourmet Vanilla – out of stock.
  • Cookies & Cream – out of stock.
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter – out of stock.
  • Snickerdoodle – out of stock.
  • Rich Chocolate – out of stock.
  • Chocolate Fudge – out of stock.
  • Strawberry Blast – out of stock.

The question came up yesterday: What about the people that like v 1.9 better than the 2.0? I haven’t had anybody try 2.0 and like 1.9 better. I’m sure there will be a few though, if you happen to fit into that category: I’m truly sorry for the disruption. A potential fix would be to get the Base Powder and use the same Dymatize Elite protein that I have been using for 1.9. You could also mix up the recipe for Keto Chow 1.5.

What about the 2.0 samples? That’s a fun one: the “stick pack” roll film we’re using has been breaking in the machine every 20 or so samples. I’m trying to get the place that made the stuff over to help dial in the settings so they can get it running. It’s very likely that the packaging I had printed (7000 of each flavor) will need to be re-done with a different medium.

By |2017-07-28T08:40:27-06:00May 2nd, 2017|Categories: Keto Chow, Site or Store Stuff|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Temporary Supply issues, you’ll notice stuff going out of stock, should be OK March 8

We are having supply issues with several components, notably xanthan gum and the silver bags we use. We placed an emergency order for some xanthan gum but the order we placed for the bags is finally shipping today, 6 days later. Likely we won’t have suitable supplies until the morning of Wednesday, March 8, when we can restock the several flavors that are out of stock. To that end, the sale on Cookies and Cream has been extended a week, until March 12. So it’ll be on sale and in stock for a 7 days, just with a sad week of no Cookies between. We’ll try to make certain that the stock quantity for all the flavors and sizes are kept up to date so that if you can place an order, there shouldn’t be a delay waiting for other stuff.

The ironic thing is we have enough protein powder to fill over a month’s worth of orders. We’re just simultaneously out of stock of Xanthan Gum, Potassium Citrate, Acacia Gum and the bags. Now would have been a super convenient time to have Keto Chow 2.0 done and ready!

By |2017-03-02T17:45:50-07:00March 2nd, 2017|Categories: Keto Chow, Site or Store Stuff|Tags: , , |0 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.

Had A Bit Of A Flavor Party Last Night

This entry is part 39 of 209 in the series Ketogenic Diet

I ordered a bunch of 2 lb tubs of the various flavors and mixed them up into Keto Chow last night: Chocolate Fudge, Pina Colada, Smooth Banana, Cookies and Cream and the staple Chocolate Mint, Strawberry and Vanilla.

Bunch Of FlavorsNot pictured is “Rich Chocolate” – I got the 10 lb bag of that one. I then mixed Rich Chocolate, Pina Colada and Smooth Banana up in blender bottles for today’s food. I did a quick taste test this morning. The Rich Chocolate is significantly more chocolaty than the mint chocolate (like really, really chocolate). The Pina Colada tastes like what it is: Pineapple and Coconut. The Smooth Banana is a bit odd: It mixed up really thin, almost like there’s no xanthan gum in it. It doesn’t look like I messed up on mixing the powder but I’m going to try doing a smaller 1-day batch tonight to double check. It could be it’s got some enzyme or something in it that prevents the xanthan gum from thickening it up. It still tastes good.

EDIT: So I planned to drink the rich chocolate for breakfast and somehow grabbed the banana instead. Drank it. Yes it’s still not quite as thick as the other flavors but it’s not as thin as I thought it was, I don’t think it’s going to be an issue.


First Batches Of Keto Chow Using Dynamize Protein

This entry is part 27 of 209 in the series Ketogenic Diet

Last night I mixed up the first batches of Keto Chow using the Dynamize whey protein I’m going to start using. An adventurous soul ordered week of mint chocolate and I did two smaller 1-day batches of strawberry and mint chocolate for testing.

Keto Chow Strawberry Sample

Keto Chow Strawberry Sample

Upon mixing, the Strawberry is a little pink but not much, and the chocolate mint is a bit… tan. You can tell the difference between the chocolate and strawberry but I think the cream is overruling a lot of the coloring it would have had if it was just protein and water. I took better measurements of the finished result (2 lb 8 oz and 9x7x2.5 inches) which will make shipping estimates better. I’m also going to see if I can squeeze it into a 1096L USPS shipping box instead of a Regional Rate A box that I could fit two weeks in.

Keto Chow Chocolate Mint packaged (bottle not included =)

Keto Chow Chocolate Mint packaged (bottle not included =)

I tasted the results about an hour after mixing and it was pretty good. It tasted like it could still use some time for stuff to dissolve but in a time crunch it would be just fine. I would have tried it for realsies this morning but I’m going to get a “Comprehensive Metabolic Panel” blood test and I’m supposed to be fasting. As soon as that’s done (and I’m done with my dentist appointment that’s right after, might as well double up) I’ll give it a better taste test.

It’ll be interesting to see what my blood work shows when I get it sometime later this week or next week. I had it done back in March 2014 (9 months ago?) after doing People Chow for 2 months and those results weren’t bad at all. I’m looking forward to seeing what cutting out carbohydrates and living on mostly fat and some protein has done =).

New ketogenic recipe in development, it’s moar betterer

This entry is part 24 of 209 in the series Ketogenic Diet

Several weeks ago /u/kennufs posted his current Ketogenic recipe. I ordered some of the ingredients and gave it a try recently. It’s so superior to KetoFood it’s kinda silly, probably because it doesn’t have chia seeds and does use a generous amount of heavy cream. I did that recipe for about a week and a half whilst changing stuff around before I ran out of the NutraBio whey protein isolate he specifies. That particular WPI is unique in that it doesn’t have any carbohydrate sources in it, like none at all, which keeps the net carbs down.

The problem with the NutraBio is where I’m living (Utah) it takes 9 business days to get a shipment of it from New Jersey. With a 2lb tub lasting approximately 10 days this makes sourcing it and keeping it on hand a logistical nightmare. It’s the same problem I have with getting Cal/Mag/D3 from supplementwarehouse.com: sometimes it takes them 2 weeks to get me stuff. I’m also working to replace the ketofood I mix on this site with a recipe along the same lines as Kennufs’ so I’ve been searching for a viable alternative to the protein and I think I finally have it.

I wanted to find something that I can buy at bodybuilding.com – they may not have the absolute lowest prices but my proximity to their central warehouse (Boise Idaho) makes for crazy fast shipping times, like 2 days at the longest with a few orders arriving the day after I ordered. Seriously, they are great; especially in the states surrounding Idaho =). Anyhow I found two possibilities: IsoPure Zero Carb and Dymatize Elite. Initially it looked like the Isopure would work but they include vitamins in their powder making it terribly difficult to get the right micronutrient mix. I had overage on some stuff and hardly anything on others (Iron, Vitamin C) that required adding an additional specific supplement.

Since I have the day off work today, obviously I woke up early and my brain switched on. So I started looking again and found the Dymatize Elite. It comes in a variety of flavors but I’m only going to mess with the ones that come in the 10lb size: Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla  and Chocolate Mint. I took the groundwork that Kennufs laid, fixed some ingredients that showed different nutritional values, updated prices, copied over a bunch of the ingredients from my People Chow and my KetoFood recipes and the end result is what I’m going to call Keto Chow 0.7. Feel free to clone it, abuse it, whatever =)

In a few days (or hours, who knows?) I’ll add it as an orderable product on the site with the caveat that it’s going to be changing as it’s very much in active development. UPDATE: that was quick. At first you might even get some NutraBio WPI since I still have a bunch of that en-route. Additionally, except one flavor, I haven’t actually tasted the Dymatize WPI yet so some of the flavors might be awesome or might be completely awful. I’m also still trying to figure out what to do with the fish oil. To hit the right omega 3’s you need 5ml (1 tsp.) per day. You can get that from liquid cod liver oil in a big bottle or you can get it in gelatin capsules and take 5 a day along with the daily multivitamin. Any feedback on which you like better?

Anyhow, how’s that for a New Years update?

Change in recipe – adding Xanthan Gum

Beginning today, all of the mixed People Chow I’m sending out will have 4g of Xanthan Gum per week. I’ve been testing it in my own batches and there’s a marked improvement in the texture of the final product. I was going to wait on this for a bit longer but on Monday I shipped out a batch that included some samples. It was past midnight (technically Tuesday then) and I didn’t want to mix up an additional batch… so I made the samples from my own batch I had just mixed up that night. If I want to keep the samples accurate then I need to have the final product be the same thing. I’ve updated the recipes on diy.soylent.me as well to reflect the change:

By |2014-09-25T08:05:51-06:00September 25th, 2014|Categories: Future Foods, Ingredients|Tags: , |2 Comments