To provide our audience with more info, I interviewed Chris Bair, inventor of Keto Chow, http://ketochow.xyz a top-selling powdered food.
IEET: Hi Chris, let’s start this with you introducing yourself, and how you got into ketosis and powdered food.
Chris Bair: I’m 38, living in Salt Lake City, Utah with my wife and 6 kids - two sets of twins and two singletons.
I’m a computer geek and SalesForce.com system administrator at my“”day job”. I became involved in the powdered foods (aka “soylent”) movement in January 2014, originally with a conventional recipe and later switching to a high fat, low carb “ketogenic” variant on October 2014. In January 2015 I created the recipe for Keto Chow and released it without restriction for anyone to use, at the same time mixing the recipe up for people that wanted a finished product and I have seen steady growth in the business every month since.
Since starting Keto, I added 6 new holes to my old belt and recently bought a new, far smaller belt. I’m also eating more bacon and cheese than ever.
IEET: What did you weigh before and after your ketosis experiment?
IEET: Do you have more energy now? Do You sleep less?
Chris Bair: I have *way* more energy now, which is funny because I do indeed sleep less. That’s mostly due to waking up early and my brain switching on then I can’t go back to sleep because there’s so much to do! I don’t get tired like I used to, mostly because my cells can actually get the energy they need instead of all of it going to my fat cells (thanks insulin resistance!).
IEET: Any negative side effects?
Chris Bair: There have been a couple problems I’ve seen:
When I first started keto I didn’t know about low electrolytes and the “keto flu” it causes. I ended up feeling awful and listless like I had the flu. Googled it a bit and found the solution: I needed salt, magnesium and potassium. So I drank some chicken broth and felt better within minutes.
Keto (and specifically Keto Chow) initially tends to cause loose stools. I don’t know if it’s the sufficient fiber for the first time ever, the magnesium citrate or the MCT oil but for the first few days I couldn’t trust a fart to just be a fart. By the time my glycogen was depleted at 4 days in, everything was back to normal.
I used to get rather severe muscle cramps and I finally determined that my requirements for magnesium is higher than most people. I started taking a magnesium malate supplement and the cramps were gone the next day and haven’t come back.
Thanks to the acetone and other ketones, my pee smells funny.
I’m cold all the time due to less insulation - this is really weird for a guy that used to wear shorts all winter.
IEET: Can you define for our audience what Ketosis is, biologically?
Chris Bair: Let’s be specific so it’s not confused with ketoacidosis.”Dietary Ketosis” is where you restrict your carbohydrate intake enough that your body uses up the stored glucose (glycogen) and begins producing “ketone bodies” as a replacement. For most people this means less than 30-50 grams of “net carbs” (total carbs - fiber) a day. It generally takes a few days for your glycogen (glucose+water) reserves in your liver and muscles to be exhausted and during this time your body will be discharging the water component of glycogen along with salt and other electrolytes.
This is why people in ketosis need extra electrolytes, especially at first though the effect is ongoing. Your liver will continue to produce any required glucose from protein (gluconeogenesis), mostly to feed your brain until you become “keto adapted” at which point your brain will be running primarily on ketones and you should experience the mental clarity many report while on keto. Running the brain on ketones also seems to stop seizures in a surprising number of people which is why nutritional ketosis was the primary treatment for epilepsy until anti-convulsants were developed.
Becoming keto adapted takes several weeks and becoming “fat adapted” where your cells are accustomed to running directly on fatty acids takes a bit longer, like 4 months. Those two things are why “cheat days” on keto sabotage your progress. A can of coke is enough to stop ketosis and it could be a day or longer before your body burns off the glucose and returns to ketosis.
IEET: Did you have a daily, huge craving for carbs? Which carbs? Did you crave bread, or sugar? Give us details. And tell us how you overcame the carb craving.
Chris Bair: When I first started I had terrible cravings for carbs. Mostly candy since it was Halloween the week that I started. I’ll still occasionally crave cinnamon rolls but as time has gone by the cravings have essentially gone away. If you eat carbs, the cravings come back: another reason not to cheat. Nothing actually tastes as good as you remember it tasting.
IEET: How did you put together your DIY Ketosis Powdered Food mixture? Were there any difficult decisions that you had to make?
Chris Bair: I started with a different recipe that was terribly gritty with chia seeds and coconut flour in abundance. I choked that down for a couple months and then tried some other recipes that were FAR better. When I started keto I had been drinking powdered food for 9 months so I had a pretty good understanding of the various ingredients available. I took some of the stuff I had seen in other recipes, changed it to use some of the ingredients I already had on-hand from making “people chow” and “Keto Chow” was born.
The recipe did go through some revisions as I changed stuff around, mostly eliminating any and all grit so it would be absolutely smooth.
IEET: In your experience - what types of people are attracted to Ketosis? Athletes, people who are overweight, Quantified Self?
Chris Bair: Most of the people I see doing keto are either diabetic, overweight or both - and generally it’s fantastic for both groups. There are also many endurance athletes that do it to give them a crazy edge over the competition. Because you usually track carbs, doing keto tends to work well with Quantified Self adherents as well; and many doing keto end up tracking everything and getting into… being quantified.
IEET: What types of people are attracted to Powdered Food?
Chris Bair: There are many awesome benefits to using powdered foods:
*Extremely quick and easy preparation with minimal space or tools (good for the busy or just plain lazy =).
*Balanced nutrition with all the necessary nutrients for those that have problems getting the right nutrients.
*Less complexity with not having to worry about hidden carbohydrates for those doing keto.
*You also have people that can’t toast bread, let alone make brisket and this is a way for them to meet their goals easily.
IEET: How is your Ketosis mixture selling compared to other mixtures?
Chris Bair: The stuff I used to sell (People Chow, very high in carbs) I would sell maybe 15 packages a week. I do more than that in a day with Keto Chow and that doesn’t include all the people that are taking the recipe and mixing their own. I’m not sure how well it’s selling compared to the other powdered foods out there since we don’t really share specific figures with each other, though the various producers all tend to get along very well. I had a domain squatter try to get my competitors to bid on ketochow.com and none of them would give him the time of day. My sales have been steadily increasing and there is more and more awareness and interest in Keto Chow within the keto community.
IEET: I have heard that Flax Seeds and other seeds go rancid, in powdered food mixtures. Any comment on that? Do you think powdered food advocates are missing anything because they aren’t eating “fresh food”?
Chris Bair: The omega 3s in flax seed do indeed oxidize pretty quickly (like a few days in the refrigerator, hours at room temperature) so if you want to use flax seed you have to grind it and then use it as quickly as possible. Chia seeds are a bit better since they can be broken down fairly easily but both are far too gritty for my taste in a drink. I prefer to just use fish oil pills. I don’t know of any other ingredients in the majority of the recipes that have any issues at all with oxidation.
People will often decry powdered foods in general “we know so little about nutrition you can’t possibly get everything you need!” We know far more than they’re admitting and, you don’t have to eat JUST the powdered food. Ultimately it’s just really convenient nutritionally complete FOOD. Eat it 3 meals a day, eat it 1 or 2 meals a day, whatever you like. I’m working on bacon wrapped jalapenos and deviled eggs to go with the shrimp we’re having for our New Years party tonight.
IEET: Do you think powdered food can be used to alleviate starvation in the world?
Chris Bair: Yes, the big hurdle is need for clean water. If that can be solved… powdered food could be a major game changer. That said: powdered food is still pretty expensive per calorie compared to rice and beans (especially the ketogenic variants) so there is a financial issue too.
IEET: What are your future plans with Ketosis Powdered Food?
Chris Bair: I’m looking into contracting with a co-packer so I can ramp up my capacity. I might also start advertising, I’ve been very fortunate to have all of my success develop organically by word of mouth. I’m also really excited with helping people who have weight problems. I’ve been fat since I was a kid and it sucked. All people have to do to completely change their lives is ignore the conventional wisdom (fat = bad!) and stop eating sugar. Having something like Keto Chow that simplifies the entire diet is a bonus.