1.215 m.r. review, model

Friday 7/3/2020

Started with a run, fine. I continue to be thankful that, although when I walk normally, I get occasional little tweaks of pain from my left knee, it gives no problem at all when jogging. Fingers crossed.

Yesterday I received in the mail a long-awaited package. Well, three packages. But one was long-awaited.

Long digression

For years now, since the original Soylent kickstarter campaign of 2014, I have used meal replacements. I ran a meal-replacement blog in 2016-17, and published youtube reviews of such products. I gave up blogging and reviewing at the start of 2019 as part of my codger transition, but I continue to use the products. Currently I have one shake for breakfast. That’s more convenient (and healthier) than the CH breakfasts.

A minority interest within that minority interest is the tiny world of Keto meal replacements. One of the earliest, which started very soon after Soylent went live, is Keto Chow. It’s made by the Bairs, a charming family in Utah. Chris Bair started it as a hobby and after a year or so, it had grown enough that he quit his day job as a sysadmin and became CEO of a thriving small company, with offices, a warehouse and a dozen employees, selling a line of meal replacements that fit into the extreme-low-carb regimen of a ketogenic diet. And they are doing just fine in the pandemic, thank you. I am not on a keto diet, but I’ve been using Keto Chow shakes this year because of their wide range of flavors and easy ordering.

There are a couple of others in this tiny commercial niche. Super Body Fuel, a San Francisco outfit that was started by another amateur about the same time as Chris Bair, sells a Keto version of their product along with ones with a conventional proportion of carbs. I have a bag of their Keto Fuel powder in my cupboard now.

One more: KetoGenesis is a UK product, another small startup that was inspired by Soylent. Its founder is Joe Barrow. He, and Chris Bair, and “axcho” of SBF, are all active on the Reddit forums, and I corresponded with them a few times when I was running my meal replacement blog. Which explains why a few weeks ago, I was invited to join a Beta test of Joe’s newest product. And that requires another explanation.

Any nutritionally complete meal has some combination of the macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat; plus a long list of needed micronutrients (vitamins, electrolytes, minerals). The typical modern diet has from 25-40% calories from carbs, 15-30% calories from protein, the balance calories from fat. The Keto (aka Atkins, aka Paleo) diet runs the fraction of calories from carbs as close to zero as possible. Since you can’t process more than 100g or so of protein per day (unless you are an endurance athlete in training) that means that from 60-90% of the calories in a Keto meal come from the fat component.

All three companies took the same approach to packaging. They each formulated their powder to contain the protein, the flavoring, and all the micronutrients, but no fat at all. A meal’s worth of Keto Chow is about 45g of powder and totals by itself, about 200 calories. The user adds the amount of fat they want to bring that to their calorie target, say 400 or 500 calories total.

This design has a couple of advantages. The user has their choice of fat type — I use either avocado oil or melted butter — and can tailor the calorie content precisely to their planned diet. The product weighs less, so shipping is cheaper, and lacking fat, it is more stable and has longer shelf life. To include fat in a powder product, the fat has to be dried with a “carrier”, typically corn starch or maltodextrin. But the carrier is a carbohydrate, and adds unwanted carbs and calories to a “keto” meal.

On the down side, there’s more trouble preparing a shake and an extra cost. So there is a demand for a “fat-included” Keto meal shake, one where everything is in a single powder ready to mix. And that’s what Joe’s Genesis Foods wants to beta-test.

End of digression

So in the mail was a package from England with four packets of KetoComplete.

This is fortuitous timing because I have in stock a sample of Keto Chow Strawberry to compare. And I have keto Chocolates and Vanillas from Super Body Fuel, Keto Chow, and Sated, so I can do a 4-way comparison test of those two flavors. Excuse me, flavours. I had nothing to compare the UnflavoUred one with, so yesterday I mixed that one up, and this day I posted my review of it. That occupied a couple of hours.

One of the other packages was some brushes I’d been waiting for and I spent an hour experimenting with painting clear coat on the hood and roof of the car model. Extraordinarily frustrating. New brush released tiny hairs which I had to pick out. Dust grains, invisible while the paint is wet, look like gravel when it dries.

Talked to the lady who will run the zoom meeting for my book talk on Monday. We will have a bit of rehearsal on Saturday.

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