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Basically Food Update (delays)

Basically Food logo

Hi everyone,

Hope your summer is off to a good start! :) A lot of you have been wondering what’s up with all the Basically Food flavors that have been out of stock for the past several months, and I want to apologize for not sending out an update sooner. It’s a big deal to depend on us for your food intake, and of course you’d want to be secure in knowing what’s going on, especially when things are going out of stock! I’m really sorry for not doing a better job with keeping you up to date.

So, assuming you saw the January update already, the news is that things with the new new manufacturer fell through at the last minute, and we had to start over with another manufacturer, setting things back by a few months. :s We’re doing our best to accelerate the timeline for BOOST chocolate in particular, but even that has been delayed. The latest setback is that we’ve had to scrap thousands of dollars worth of our existing vitamin premix because things took so long with finding a new manufacturer that it expired, pushing things back by at least a month or two! So we’ve put in an order for a new batch of vitamin premix – this time with cellulose mixed in, as in Basically Vitamins, to protect from humidity and extend the shelf life.

It takes two months (they say) for our premix manufacturer to make a new batch of vitamins and send it to our product manufacturer, at which point they should already have the other ingredients they need and can start manufacturing pretty much immediately, if all goes well. That means that we should have BOOST chocolate back in stock in early September, with BOOST vanilla, BUILD chocolate, and BURN chocolate to follow soon after (all without DHA). I know that’s not exactly “soon” and I feel really bad because I thought we’d have all this stuff done months ago. :( But that’s where we’re at.

You know the children’s book series A Series of Unfortunate Events? It’s been feeling kind of like that, with setback after setback. :p

As many of you have also pointed out, the website is still a neglected mess, and I apologize for that. I know it’s hard to feel confident about what you’re eating when the website still says “under construction” and that makes it hard to recommend it to new people, too. But given our manufacturing challenges, we’ve chosen to focus on the key behind-the-scenes things like replenishing our inventory for existing customers, rather than making the website more trustworthy and appealing to new customers. It makes me feel bad every time I think about it, but these are the tradeoffs we’ve had to make under the circumstances. :/

Here at Basically Food, we’re all itching to have an abundance of quality product available so that we can focus on the fun stuff – sharing with you all and reaching out to new customers with interesting, informative, inspiring content about nutrition, my weird biohacking experiments, DIY ‘lents and cooking, and how Basically Food fits into different people’s lives and hopefully makes a positive difference.

It’s so frustrating for that to still be just out of reach, even a year into the rebrand. I feel the tension of waiting, where things are mostly out of your control and in the hands of people who don’t care as much as you do, moving so infuriatingly and inexplicably slowly. That’s been our experience, trying to get manufacturing going for the last year. But we care. And we’re here to answer any questions if you want to reach out to us. Send us an email. :)

Thanks for hanging in there with us. Things will get better soon. <3

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

Basically Food BOOST tubBasically Food BUILD tubBasically Food BALANCE tubBasically Food BURN tub
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Basically Food Update (New Year)

Basically Food logo

Hi everyone,

Happy New Year! :D As we all ease back into our routines and schedules after the holidays, I want to offer my hope that 2024 brings more goodness and positive change for you than 2023. I mean, that could happen, right? I’m optimistic. :)

The news we have to share with you today is all (mostly) pretty good news:

  • January sale: 20% off with coupon code BASICALLYEAR
  • BOOST chocolate and BUILD chocolate: temporarily out of stock :(
  • New manufacturer: BOOSTBUILD, and BURN chocolate on the way (no DHA)
  • Basically VitaminsElectrolytes, and Protein: now available!

First of all, here’s a little (belated) New Year’s sale to kick off 2024 – use the coupon code BASICALLYEAR for 20% off Basically Food during the month of January. :)

If you missed out on the SUPERBODYFAM coupon code in 2023, this is your chance to get the same discount this month. But if you still have an active subscription using SUPERBODYFAM, don’t cancel it – the discount will continue until you cancel! And you can reschedule, postpone, and edit the subscription in the meantime.

We don’t have any further discounts or sales planned out at the moment, so this is your best chance to get one if you’re looking for a deal! ;) Finances are very tight for us now, so we can definitely use all the non-discounted sales we can get. Personally, I’ve opted to take a pay cut to just below subsistence income, in order to maximize the chances that we won’t run out of money or inventory this year. :d But don’t worry about that. We’ll be fine. :]

Speaking of inventory, we are temporarily out of stock of BOOST chocolate and (very nearly) BUILD chocolate, as those are apparently our most popular items at the moment. But the reason we don’t have more is not for lack of funds, it’s because the new manufacturer we were going to work with turned out to be… not so great after all. :p

But the good news is, we have finally placed an order with a new new manufacturer, who so far seems to be quite promising, both in terms of pricing and quality (attention to detail). We’re very excited about it, honestly. If all continues to go well, we should have another 1000 units each of BOOST chocolate, BUILD chocolate, and also BURN chocolate (the next most popular) in… a few months, most likely? A couple months if we’re lucky.

Obviously, any number of months other than zero is less than ideal, and we’re really sorry to leave you chocolate-lovers hanging. :/ If you’re really craving your chocolate, might I suggest adding 100g of cocoa powder to a tub of vanilla-flavored Basically Food powder and shaking it up to make chocolate? :3 Or just make do with cinnamon. Your choice.

Oh, and for those of you who responded to the DHA survey a few months ago (or those who experienced the dreaded fishiness firsthand), we have analyzed the feedback and come to a tentative decision: no more DHA. Starting with the three chocolate batches we just ordered.

I was surprised to find that nearly half of all respondents had experienced fishiness at some point in the last few years of Super Body Fuel and Basically Food, and nearly half of those people were adamant that we remove the offending DHA from the formula or else they would not continue to buy our product. Many of them had already stopped! Even considering the self-selection bias in survey respondents, that’s a lot of people.

What made the decision for me, though, was this study on the shelf-life of DHA powder, which showed that it could last pretty long at room temperature, but at 122°F (50°C), literally 0% of the DHA powder remained after six months. It had all oxidized – transformed from a vital nutrient to a disgustingly fishy smell. How much DHA would remain after a few days at 122°F in a shipping truck in the summer? Probably more than 0%, but even if a small percentage oxidized during that time, it would make the whole thing unpalatably fishy.

If we can’t guarantee that the temperature will stay cool at all times, we can’t guarantee the amount of DHA in the final product, and we can’t guarantee that it won’t get fishy. :/ So no DHA.

But… there’s a bright side! Just last month I came across another study, showing that you can actually synthesize enough DHA from the plant-based omega-3 fat ALAas long as you only get a tiny amount of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and a tiny amount of the plant-based omega-6 fat LA (linoleic acid, not Los Angeles). Too much omega-6 (as in seed oils), and even too much omega-3 (as in flax or chia), is actually counterproductive and blocks the conversion step. You can see relevant snippets from the full text quoted in the discussion thread here, showing that olive oil (which has a small amount of omega-6 LA, and an even smaller amount of omega-3 ALA) actually results in just as much DHA in the end as ALA-rich flaxseed oil, but without the significant oxidation risk. And similarly for milk fat – it’s even better than olive oil.

That is a game changer. That means that the small amounts of ALA and LA in the olive oil or avocado oil or cream you add to BURN or BALANCE, or the milk you add to BOOST or BUILD, should be enough to produce sufficient DHA in your own body! That is, as long as you stay away from high-omega-6 foods like seed oils (aka, “vegetable” oils, and to a degree, nuts and lard and poultry fat) – which you really really (reallyshould already be doing, anyway. My health (and skin) is so much better since I started strictly cutting out seed oils a few years ago. I still eat corn chips – I just bake my own from organic corn tortillas and they’re just as crunchy. :d

Of course, if your brain is still growing, as a kid or teenager (or even young adult?) or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you’ll need more DHA, and it would probably be a good idea to eat seafood once in a while or take a quality DHA supplement.* If you’re craving fatty fish, you’re probably needing a bit more DHA. If not, maybe not.

Lastly, we finally have our Basically supplements available to order, with fully fleshed-out product pages and nutrition info and such – thanks for your patience. :) There’s Basically Vitamins, which is like Super Micros but mixed with cellulose to prevent it from absorbing moisture and clumping. There’s my favorite, Basically Electrolytes (Super Electrolytes), which I mix with water and Stur flavor drops to make a refreshing drink that I enjoy daily. And based on the feedback from our supplements survey, there’s Basically Protein, which is like Super Protein without the added gums and fiber. Just brown rice protein and amino acids. Doesn’t taste great, but you can mix it with something that does! ;D

We don’t have a ton of these in stock, so no pressure to go out and order them, but they’re available for those of you who can’t go without. :3

Anyway, that’s it for now – enjoy the sale (BASICALLYEAR!) and best of luck getting your January off to a good start! :)

Thanks for sticking with us. Take care, all! :D

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

* It’s not just DHA – the same goes for protein, by the way. Adults need less, kids and teenagers (and athletes) need more. The key here is “adults need less” – there’s been some fascinating discussion and experimentation in the nutrition nerd hangouts I frequent about protein-restricted diets for weight-loss, energy and longevity. And I’ve been doing my own version of the experiment, eating a loosely vegan diet consisting of mostly starch with a bit of fruit and veggies, with no added protein or fat. I’m also consuming plenty of old expired Milk Fuel samples mixed with just water, though! ;p

Maybe it’s my rice farmer ancestors, or maybe it’s the degree to which I’ve been force-feeding myself protein at every meal since I was a teenager, but my energy and sleep have been great and I’m gradually losing the little bit of belly fat that tends to show up when I eat a balanced diet while severely stressed and sleep-deprived. No cravings for meat or protein whatsoever – not yet. It’s fascinating. The traditional “peasant diet” works! Who would have thought?

Keto is certainly faster for burning off belly fat, but my energy and sleep tends to suffer whenever I restrict carbs. Eating as much starch as I want while restricting protein and fat is just… easy, for me. I noticed the same thing when I ate lots of starch and a fair amount of protein while cutting out fat completely, when I was doing hard physical labor on a daily basis, manufacturing at Super Body Fuel last year. But apparently the protein part is pretty much optional for me too. At least for now. :p

Well, I’m definitely saving a lot of money on my food bill this way! And I finally have a use for all that extra oat flour that was left when we shut down SBF manufacturing. Homemade oat crackers are quite delicious. :] And oat cakes, and oat cookies, and oat pancakes… Maybe even oat dumplings, though I haven’t tried those yet. :d

Anyway. Feel free to reach out if you want my recipes. ;)

Basically Food BOOST tubBasically Food BUILD tubBasically Food BALANCE tubBasically Food BURN tub
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Basically Food Update (DHA survey)

Basically Food logo

Hi everyone,

Have you ever noticed a fishy smell or taste in your Super Body Fuel or Basically Food shakes? (tell us – take the survey here!) We’ve talked about it before. It all started around the end of 2019, beginning of 2020 – that moment that will mark our memories forever as the time that we added algae-based DHA to our formulas, and well… life has just never been the same since. :d

We were able to mitigate the fishiness issue a bit by lowering the DHA dose and adjusting our manufacturing processes, such that the problem seemed to be resolved by the end of 2020. But no – even this year we’ve had reports of entire Super Body Fuel orders ruined by fishiness, especially when shipping to places known for their hot weather, like Australia or the Southern US, as DHA can be sensitive to heat. :/

And the problem has been more prevalent again with Basically Food orders, since the rebrand. Maybe you’ve noticed! :p It’s just one of the many little disappointments we’ve had with the contract manufacturer that we hired to make these first Basically Food production runs – on top of the literal years of spurious delays since we first made the order. :s

So, as we’re starting to move forward with a shiny new manufacturer, we are faced with a big decision: Do we continue including DHA in our formulas, or do we attempt a return to our pre-DHA glory days?

We want to know what you think. What you’ve experienced so far, and what you care about.

So we made this DHA survey, so you can tell us. Please take the survey now if you have a minute! :3

Are you so fed up with the fishiness that you won’t buy again until the DHA is removed? Let us know. Is DHA your favorite nutrient and the entire reason that you started trying Super Body Fuel (or Basically Food) in the first place? Let us know! Think we should compromise and cut the dose in half again (down to the minimum DHA intake described here)? Please let us know in the survey.

In other news…

Plain flavors are available to order on the Basically Food site, yay! :D

We made them ourselves in small batches at the Super Body Fuel facility, and they finally have been received at the Basically Food warehouse in Illinois and added to the website. :d Aww yeah… No monk fruit, no flavor, no problems. B)

Because we made them ourselves, we used bags instead of tubs but with a Basically Food makeover! :) (Thanks to Arrow for hopping onto Illustrator to make the labels!) Our intention is still to switch over to HDPE tubs for future production runs, so, uh, enjoy (or endure) it while it lasts, I guess. :d

But also, now that we’re done with the last of our manufacturing, we’re been looking for someone who wants to take over our San Francisco production and warehouse space! We’re still on the hook for rent (not just any rent, Bay Area rent, people) until our lease expires at the end of January. :p

So, we’ve been looking for two months now, and still haven’t found a tenant to replace us. For a few days it was looking like we’d found the perfect replacement in the form of Final Foods, a plant-based meat manufacturer whose lease was up right when we wanted to leave our space, by the end of August. But at the last minute, it turned out that there was literally not enough electricity going into our unit to power their custom pea-protein meat-making machine. :o

On the bright side, I did convince them to move away from using seed oils in their products to minimize linoleic acid content (inflammatory omega-6) and transition from sunflower oil to high-oleic sunflower oil to, ultimately, avocado or coconut oil. So, you’re welcome, vegans. ;d

But overall, the main challenge is that most businesses that would want to move into our space are food businesses, that need more equipment or ventilation systems than are currently built in, and can’t afford the time and expense to make those modifications themselves. :/ Theoretically, it could also be good for biotech or cosmetics (or, you know, supplements), or of course warehouse storage, but there’s just not as many of those businesses around. At least, not that we know of.

Do you know of any? :3 Please let us know! We really need to find someone to take over our lease. If you have any suggestions or leads, we’d love to hear from you.

Heck, if you want to start your own ‘lent company in San Francisco, you can have our old mixer. And a bunch of stainless steel scoops. And a stainless steel work table if we haven’t sold it by then. :d I might even help you set up a bunch of spreadsheets to manage your operations, if I’m feeling generous. Please reach out. We have the perfect space for you. ;)

It will be a huge relief once we have said goodbye to our old Super Body Fuel space after eight long years of service. Ready to pour our energy into new things with Basically Food. :]

I’ve been hanging back for the past month, trying to find a new tenant and sell off all our old equipment while the rest of the team has been taking a well-deserved month-or-so off (paid, of course – don’t worry!) after years of grinding. Hopefully when Rhodel and Arrow come back refreshed in a couple weeks, we’ll have a clean slate with an empty warehouse and no rent to pay. :)

If you can help us with that (or if you’re in SF and you want a mixer for cheap, or a very powerful but slightly dusty fan, or a new, unopened chalkboard…) please get in touch. Thanks.

And take the DHA survey. ;3

Also, don’t forget to use the coupon code SUPERBODYFAM for 20% off all orders and subscriptions of $100 or more at Basically Food until the end of this year.

Basically Food BOOST tubBasically Food BUILD tubBasically Food BALANCE tubBasically Food BURN tub

Here’s the Basically Food announcement post if you missed it, or in case this wasn’t long enough and you really just want to keep reading, for some reason. :d

Okay. Thanks for reading. Take care. :)

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

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Basically Food Update (supplements survey)

Basically Food logo

Hi everyone,

We’re getting ready to start bringing our supplements and DIY ‘lent ingredients over to Basically Food, and we need your feedback to help guide us! :D

If you’ve tried our custom vitamin mix Super Micros, our electrolyte mix Super Electrolytes, or our hypoallergenic complete protein mix Super Protein, we want to hear from you. Or if you might want to order one in the future, or want to suggest some other supplement that you wish we had available – we want to hear from you too! :)

Please take this survey now if you have a minute! c:

It’s split up into sections, so you can easily skip to the page relevant to the supplements you want to weigh in on. :d

For the vitamin mix we’re thinking of calling Basically Vitamins, we need to find a way to keep it from clumping up and solidifying as it pulls moisture from the air (mostly thanks to that pesky Choline Bitartrate, which is extremely hygroscopic, as they call it). Or rather, we need your help in deciding which method to use – should we add cellulose, or mix it with electrolytes, or just go back to adding… (gasp) xanthan gum? :O

Let us know in the survey! :D

For Basically Protein, should we include glucomannan (or, dare I say, xanthan gum?) for stability and smoothness of taste and texture as we currently do in Super Protein, or just keep it pure and simple (and bitter and gritty and chalky and separate-y)? Should we add taurine and glutamine as well, or should we just cap the amino acid additions at lysine and glycine? Would you like a flavored version? Are we asking too many questions?

You tell us – take the survey! :3

Anyway, here’s the obligatory reminder to cancel your Super Body Fuel subscription and create a new one at Basically Food if you haven’t already – and thank you to the majority of you who already have! :]

And yes, if you have a plain or strawberry subscription, you can hold off – we’re working on the Basically Food plain batches right now. They’re looking good! B)

Anyway, don’t forget to use the coupon code SUPERBODYFAM for 20% off all orders and subscriptions of $100 or more until the end of this year. :d

Oh, and if you’re still wondering what Basically Food is, check out our last update on the blog. Short answer: it’s our shiny new rebrand of Super Body Fuel. :]

Basically Food BOOST tubBasically Food BUILD tubBasically Food BALANCE tubBasically Food BURN tub

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know how the new product compares! Your feedback is very helpful for us, and we want to make sure you have a good experience. :) We’re still offering free replacements for any tubs that smell or taste off in any way, and we’ll continue to do so. :d

Also, take the supplements survey! Please. :3

Thank you! :)

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

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Basically Food Update (international shipping)

Basically Food logo

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that we’ve started to experiment with international shipping for Basically Food! :D

Currently the costs are about the same as they’ve been with Super Body Fuel, meaning not too bad if you’re in Canada (or the US, of course), and pretty darn expensive for everywhere else. Sorry. :p

We’re still working with our new fulfillment center to see if we can find any cheaper rates, but since many of you have been asking and waiting patiently, we thought we’d just go ahead and open the doors to international shipping. And if better prices become available, we’ll update the site accordingly. :)

Don’t forget to use the coupon code SUPERBODYFAM for 20% off all orders and subscriptions of $100 or more until the end of this year. ;)

In other news, we’ve finished up the final batches that we’ll ever do at Super Body Fuel last week, so orders on the SBF site are now restricted to products that are in stock – no more backorders! :o

If you have a subscription still active with Super Body Fuel, please cancel it and start a new one with Basically Food at your earliest convenience! If you’ve got a plain or strawberry subscription, no rush though – you can keep those going until further notice. :d

We’re about to start making our plain batches for Basically Food, which we’ll be busy with for the next several weeks. They’ll be in bags instead of tubs, since we’re filling them by hand ourselves, but with the colorful new Basically Food look. We’ll let you know when those are available to order on the new site! :)

Oh, and if you’re still wondering what Basically Food is, check out our last update on the blog. Short answer: it’s our shiny new rebrand of Super Body Fuel. :]

Basically Food BOOST tubBasically Food BUILD tubBasically Food BALANCE tubBasically Food BURN tub

Please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know how the new product compares! Your feedback is very helpful for us, and we want to make sure you have a good experience. :) We’re still offering free replacements for any tubs that smell or taste off in any way, and we’ll continue to do so. :d

Thank you! :)

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

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Basically Food Update (without a subscription)

Basically Food logoHi everyone,

If you’ve been waiting for the option to try Basically Food without starting a subscription, now is your chance to try it. :)

If you have already started a subscription, thank you, and please let us know how the ordering process and subscription-editing interface has been for you! There’s still time to change things around. :d

If you’re wondering what Basically Food is, check out our last update on the blog. Short answer: it’s our shiny new rebrand of Super Body Fuel. :]

Behold…

Basically Food BOOST tubBasically Food BUILD tubBasically Food BALANCE tubBasically Food BURN tub

Anyway. Aside from the whole “most people really don’t want to create a subscription” thing, we’ve heard that some of the tubs are turning out fishy from the DHA somehow. Initially it seemed like this was specific to BALANCE chocolate, but it turns out that it’s just a small percentage of tubs across all flavors and product lines that have the issue. :o

And there’s no way to know which ones will have it, until you open them and smell. :p

Sadly we don’t seem to have any recourse or leverage with the manufacturer that screwed this up, but we’re working on it. Like we said before, next time, we’re trying a new manufacturer. Sigh.

So… the way we’re thinking of handling this is just to send out free replacements for fishy tubs, no questions asked (except for, “how many tubs?” or “what’s your order number?” and stuff like that). Same with any mixing inconsistencies that might arise – if it tastes weird, send us an email. It’s supposed to taste good. Most tubs taste good. :|

We’ve added some guidance and clarification to the FAQ – feel free to check there first if you’re not sure.

For all our customers outside the US, we’re still trying to work with our new fulfillment center to find an international shipping option that will not be prohibitively expensive. It seems that there may be an option to bundle multiple shipments to the same country together to reduce costs a bit, but we’re still waiting on the bundled price quotes so we can see if it will actually be viable. Stay tuned. :d

Anyway, if you still have a subscription on Super Body Fuel, please start a new one on Basically Food this month if you can. If you don’t do subscriptions, please try placing a one-off order with Basically Food and let us know what you think! :D

Thank you all!

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

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Announcing… Basically Food!

Basically Food logo

Hi everyone,

In case you haven’t heard, we’re rebranding. New name, new logo (yes, we actually have a logo now!), new website, new packaging. Same formula. :)

Super Body Fuel is now… Basically Food (or basicallyfood, if you want to be fancy).

Milk Fuel is now BOOST (the yellow one).
Athlete Fuel is now BUILD (the green one).
Super Fuel is now BALANCE (the blue one).
Keto Fuel is now BURN (the red one).

Basically Food BOOST tubBasically Food BUILD tubBasically Food BALANCE tubBasically Food BURN tub

Air. Earth. Water. Fire. Long ago, the four macro ratios lived together in harmony… Yes, I’m a nerd. Sorry not sorry. :p

Over the next month or two we’d like everyone to switch over to the new website so we can phase out of superbodyfuel.com completely. If you have a subscription, please start a new one at basicallyfood.com and cancel your old one when you’re ready – ideally before it renews!

Use the coupon code SUPERBODYFAM for 20% off subscriptions of $100 or more. It expires at the end of this year, but if you enter the code before then, you’ll get to keep the discount indefinitely – or at least until you cancel your subscription. ;)

So far we have chocolatevanilla, and cinnamon available at the new site, with plans to add plain in a couple months. Original will be merged with our plain flavors – just add a touch of monkfruit or maple syrup or whatever sweetener you prefer, and you can turn plain into original. We’d like to bring strawberry back at some point but we’re not sure when we’ll be able to make that happen – feel free to stock up now. Yes, I know – it’s my favorite flavor too. :/

One-time orders will continue to be available on the old site until we’ve cleared out all our old inventory, but we’ll be raising the prices a bit on Super Body Fuel chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon as a little nudge to switch over to the new site. Please switch over. Did we mention that US shipping is free? :3

We’re working on making international shipping available on our new site, hopefully coming soon! If you’re outside the US, you can continue to order on Super Body Fuel and we’ll let you know when the new site is ready for you. If you want to be a guinea pig and help us test out some cheaper international shipping options, let us know and we’ll get in touch. :)

By the way, the new packaging in rigid tubs means that the powder is a bit fluffier than usual, since we’re not squeezing all the air out by hand like we do with every Super Body Fuel bag. For the most part, measuring out a heaping scoop instead of a level scoop is enough to compensate for this difference in density.

If you’re a Keto Fuel customer though, note that the BURN powder turned out quite a bit fluffier than expected (probably because of the MCT oil powder), throwing off the scoop sizes. If you don’t use a scale to measure your powder, you’ll want to use two scoops of a standard 1/4 cup measuring cup per meal instead of the included 90cc scoop. Otherwise, your BURN will be inexplicably watery and flavorless. :x

…Then, everything changed when the ketogenic diet attacked.

Okay, sorry! I’m actually sorry this time. :o

Anyway, that’s the important stuff – good job for getting through it! :] Now here’s a bit of backstory, for those of you who like to read…

It’s been a long road.

We started out as Custom Body Fuel, back in 2014. Then we dropped the whole “custom” thing and became Super Body Fuel in 2015. You know, like Super Mario. Because videogames. But to be honest, the name was always a placeholder. I’d personally brainstormed hundreds of potential names in that first year, each more awkward than the last (Neosylt, anyone?), before giving up and settling on Super Body Fuel, figuring I’d come back to it later.

Eventually I did come back to it, and well, we’ve been at this for a long time – this was years ago, still. As in 2017. We did some surveys, concluded that “Super Body Fuel” really conveyed the opposite of what people liked about our implicit “brand” – or how we’ve always done things. I mean, it’s not the worst name ever, but “Super Body Fuel” sounds hyperbolic, sounds like the sort of overpriced, dubious supplement you’d buy at a gas station and see generic gym bros using, as more than one customer put it on our surveys! (No offense to the upstanding bros out there bulking with Athlete Fuel or getting shredded with Keto Fuel, of course.)

We’ve always been the opposite. I’ve always been the opposite, and the people on the team here who have stuck with me have always been the opposite too. We’re understated. We underpromise and overdeliver – at least when it comes to optimal nutrition and value for price, if not, well, packaging aesthetics and polish. :p We’re down-to-earthapproachablerelatable even – not puffed up in the slightest. Maybe a little silly – we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Even though we take the important stuff – nutrition and quality ingredients – very seriously. Of course. This is what people like you told us, in our survey back in 2017.

“Hey, what’s that stuff you always drink for lunch?”

“Oh, this? It’s basically… food.”

“Yeah, sure, but… like what is it, exactly? What’s it called?”

“Oh, I mean, that’s what it’s called! Basically Food.”

“You’re joking.”

“No, really. Check it out. Basically Food dot com. It’s good stuff. Tastes pretty good too!”

I crack myself up sometimes. XD

Seriously though. That was it. Simple, understated, unpretentious to the point of being pretentious, a bit silly – self-deprecating, even. That’s me – that’s us. Breaking food down into its most basic components. Basically Food.

It took a while to find the right name and to find designers who could translate that into a visual identity that did it justice. You see, Super Body Fuel’s “no aesthetic” aesthetic isn’t a result of me not caring about graphic design. It’s about me caring too much. I can’t do it halfway – it’s 0% or 100% for me. I’m an artist at heart, and a perfectionist with very strong opinions about how things should look and feel, and turns out I’m a very hands-on client when it comes to graphic design and branding projects. :d Shout out to Double Six Design for their patience in putting up with me! ;D

Their work (our work, if I may be so bold) speaks for itself. It literally looks like some of my indie game prototypes, if it were a really classy food and nutrition brand. :o It’s so… me, so aligned with my artistic style and soul in a way I never imagined possible before this. It’s like they plucked it right out of my dreams. I mean, I just wanted to have a website and packaging that I wasn’t actively embarrassed to show people. :p

Look, I’m not trying to pat myself on the back here, Double Six Design deserves the credit – I’m just trying to convey how stunned I was at what ultimately came out of the year-long process of working with them… and how agonizing it has been to be sitting on this for the last five years since then, waiting for all the logistical pieces to come together to actually launch it – particularly the made-from-scratch custom designed website, which we… ended up scrapping and are now working to rebuild, in Shopify. 8|

So many delays and setbacks…

Anyway, one thing you may be wondering about is the packaging. Looks different – a tub instead of a bag? :o Yes, and despite the deceptively natural look of the Super Body Fuel bags, they’re actually neither compostable, recyclable, nor reusable, and they often break during shipping when handled roughly, which is immensely wasteful of the resources bound up in their precious nutrient cargo! Because the bags are made of plastic, metal, and paper fused together, there’s no way to un-fuse those materials and recycle them.

With Basically Food, we want to do things better. Using only the most food-safe type of plastic available, HDPE (the bags use the inferior PET plastic), the tubs hold up much better during shipping, reducing waste, and can be recycled or reused safely for food storage (unlike other plastics). They’re also more amenable to automated filling, since we currently have to squeeze the air out of every Super Body Fuel bag by hand to get the powder to fit. :p

Which brings us to our next point. We’re not filling these tubs by hand. And we’re not mixing them, either. We’re not even storing them in our tiny San Francisco warehouse. We’ve finally hired a contract manufacturer to mix up a literal ton of powder at a time, with their fancy equipment (no clumps!), and crank out thousands of tubs to cover all our product lines. The most immediate benefit to you will be next-day shipping (no more backlog!) but it should also help provide a buffer against the global supply chain disruptions that seem to be happening much more frequently these days. :o

Finding a contract manufacturer and getting them to produce a product to our exacting specification, with all the exact same suppliers and ingredients that we’ve spent years fine-tuning, has been a challenge, to put it lightly. :p There have been a lot of delays and setbacks. Suffice it to say that we will be trying out a different manufacturer for our next run.

Our plan for the plain flavors in the meantime is to make a bunch ourselves in San Francisco, using the new packaging design, and ship them to the warehouse in Illinois that’s handling fulfillment for Basically Food. We just can’t afford the minimums required to get a contract manufacturer to mix these flavors for us – not when we sell so few. Same for ingredients like Super Micros and Super Electrolytes (Basically Vitamins, anyone?). :]

Also, since we finalized the product labels and had them printed back in 2021 (it’s been a long road), we got stuck with the pre-glycine formula from that year. So this first version of Basically Food does not include the added glycine that I’ve grown to love, sadly. :c But fortunately for some of you, it still uses xanthan gum instead of the konjac root glucomannan we’ve started using this year.

Glucomannan is great but it has resulted in shakes that are thicker yet tend to separate more into layers, often including a sludgy layer at the bottom – as you may have noticed. :p So far, it seems that shaking again 30-60 minutes after mixing is the best defense against this abomination, if you can manage it.

We’re still cranking out the batches by hand at Super Body Fuel, but the goal will be to get everyone switched over to the new site and the new brand in the next month or two. The more people switch over, the less time we’ll have to spend scooping powders and moving heavy objects around, and the more time we can devote to fleshing out the new website.

Long-term, we would like to phase out of Super Body Fuel entirely – the sooner the better. We’re all very excited to have our time freed up to make educational nutrition content (articles, videos, podcasts…) as well as to better support and inspire DIYers with guides and resources. It’s been nine long years now – about time for part two. I think you’ll like it. :]

Thanks so much to all of you for your support across these very long years. <3

Please let us know how it goes with the new website and the rebranded product – we’ll be standing by to address any issues that come up. Hope to hear from you soon! :D

Thanks again,

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

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December 2022 Update

Hi everyone,

In our last email update, we announced that we’d run out of our custom vitamin and mineral mix and had to switch back to placeholder vitamins, again.

Now, I’m happy to announce that we got our custom vitamin mix back, and it’s a new and improved formula! :D That means that Super Micros is available to order again, and soon, new orders of all products will be shipped out with the new vitamins instead of the placeholders we’d been using. :)

You can see the full supplement facts here, but changes to the formula include using only Vitamin D3 (from a vegan, algal source) instead of D2, increasing some B vitamin amounts to cover 100% DV with a single meal (while still staying within safe limits), adding the phytonutrient Quercetin (which is supposed to help reduce inflammation and allergies), and including Myo-Inositol in the mix (previously included in our meals but not Super Micros). Now that we’re adding Glycine directly to our protein blend, we’ve also swapped out some mineral glycinates for citrates, which should be similarly bioavailable but more readily available to source given supply chain challenges. :d

I did consider many other phytonutrients as well (inspired by PhytoGenesis), but Quercetin was one of the few that were generally safe and beneficial in all circumstances, when dosed appropriately. Others may have benefits, but also drawbacks in certain situations, or aren’t safe for certain people – like Lycopene, which may be unsafe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding! Or like Curcumin and Piperine, which can interfere with certain medications. Some, on the other hand, were just not available or affordable to include.

I did want to add Lutein and Zeaxanthin for eye health, but they’re extremely expensive and would have disproportionately increased the cost in a way that the majority of people would most likely not want to pay for. :p As it is, with the improvements we are including, along with inflation and supply chain cost increases, the cost to us from the manufacturer is already twice that of the previous version! :O

Happy to answer any other questions about the new formula – just let me know. :)

We’ve also removed the Xanthan Gum from Super Micros, so you can add it to drinks and soups without it clumping or getting thick. This means it is much more susceptible to humidity damage, however, so be very careful to keep it in a dry environment! :o

Next, we are actually replacing Xanthan Gum entirely with a more natural (and more expensive) alternative: Glucomannan from konjac root, which is what shirataki noodles are traditionally made of. :) Based on my tests, with a 95% or higher Glucomannan extract, the resulting texture and stability is almost indistinguishable from Xanthan Gum! This is for the small number of people who have sensitivities to Xanthan Gum or otherwise prefer an alternative. We’d love to have you. :)

Apparently there are a fair number of studies on the health benefits of Glucomannan as a dietary supplement, as well, and it seems to stack up favorably against both Xanthan Gum and Psyllium Husk in that respect. So, probably a good move all around. :]

Oh, also, as I just posted here over at r/SaturatedFat, we’ve got an experimental vegan 50% stearic acid powder available now as Super Saturated, to go along with our Super MCT, Super Protein, Super Electrolytes, and of course, Super Micros. If you’re wondering why anyone would want more saturated fat (aside from that it’s a zero-carb powdered fat source!) you can read this little writeup I did back in 2021. Short answer is that not all saturated fat (or fat in general) is created equal, and stearic acid stimulates mitochondrial fusion and fat-burning. Kind of like how MCT oil (another saturated fat) stimulates the generation of ketones even outside of a zero-carb ketogenic state. Anyway, feel free to check it out – and please let us know how it goes, if you do!

We hope you like the new changes. Happy Holidays, and thanks as always for your support! :)

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

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October 2022 Update

Hi everyone,

My apologies for not getting an update out earlier – as you may remember from our June update, I’ve been busy manufacturing full-time and haven’t had a lot of time to write or respond to emails! :o Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you – in fact I am lovingly hand-crafting every batch we ship out. ;) I’ve made some small tweaks and additions to our process to ensure a more consistent mix, which you will probably not notice, except in the absence of any bad-tasting or poorly mixed bags. :d But of course, if you do come across any issues, let us know!

With Dan gone, we are thoroughly understaffed – it’s down to just me, Rhodel, and Arrow now, and we’ve all had to step up and do a little bit more (or a lot more!) than before. So our order turnaround time varies, but we’ve got a perpetual rolling backlog of maybe a week or so for most orders these days, as we crank out the batches as fast as we (sustainably) can manage.

The good news is we’re not actively losing money every month now! But if we were to hire another person, we would be. So, we are surviving, not thriving – which is honestly pretty good, considering how many of our competitors are actively in crisis. It’s a tough time for a lot of people. :/

So, let’s start with the not-so-great news.

  • NATURELO: temporary placeholder vitamins.
  • Super Micros: out of stock for at least a month.
  • International Shipping: no more discount rates.
  • Canadian Shipping: trying out netParcel (UPS).

First of all, we have once again run out of our custom vitamin mix before we’ve been able to get our resupply – our premix manufacturer has been even slower than usual this year! That means that we are out of Super Micros, and we are beginning to use NATURELO brand vitamins as a placeholder for the time being – for at least the next month or so. These vitamins are vegan and use methylated B vitamins and chelated minerals and all that good stuff, so while the dosages may not be the exact same, the quality should be comparable.

Next, we’ve made the hard decision to remove the considerable shipping discounts we’d put in place for international orders – no more flat rate shipping for orders of $100 or more, outside the US. :/ This is the place we’ve been losing the most money, and as we search for ways to stay afloat as a business amidst rising costs, this is the place that has made the most sense to tighten up first. We considered ceasing international shipping altogether, but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave so many people out like that.

So, we’ll be charging (almost) what it costs us to ship, with USPS Priority Mail International. For those of you who will no longer be able to afford to order from us overseas, I hope you can find an alternative that works for you. <3

For those of you in Canada, we are starting to test out netParcel, a service that provides access to cheaper shipping between the US and Canada, mostly with UPS. The shipping costs are lower and the shipping speed even seems quicker as well – the potential catch may be that getting through customs without delays or fees might be trickier. Hard to say at this point! We’ve gotten a few test packages through without a problem, but one seems to be stuck, and there’s no information as to why. :p

So, we’ll give it a try and keep on monitoring the situation – if it doesn’t work out, we’ll have to go back to USPS and their very expensive shipping costs. Fingers crossed. :d

Okay, so is there any good news? Well… I have been able to listen to a ton of podcasts, with all the rote manual labor I’ve been doing most days. I’ve been learning a lot – for example, about worker-owned cooperatives, as explained concisely in this 20-minute podcast about Alvarado Street Bakery. Apparently there are actually a lot of worker-owned co-op bakeries right here in the Bay Area! Neat. :)

I mean, Super Body Fuel is basically like a bakery – just, with more nutrients, and less glamor (and gluten!). ;d

Anyway, food for thought. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the future – as I’m sure many of us are, these days – both for humanity as a whole, and this business, as well as my place in it. I will resist the urge to overload you with all my thought-provoking podcast recommendations (though here’s one more podcast on worker-owned co-ops, an insightful big-picture discussion between two very thoughtful people) but I do want to acknowledge that we are apparently living in, increasingly, interesting times. I just want to do my best, and I’m still figuring out what that is.

For now, that does seem to mean shuffling heavy containers and scoops of nutrient powder around in a dusty room while listening to podcasts, but this is probably not a long-term solution. :p

The biggest challenges faced by this business currently include ingredient supply disruptionsrising costs of everything, and an increasingly maxed-out and burned-out team, myself very much included!

The obvious solution to these challenges is and has always been what most companies have already done: hire a contract manufacturer that can make literal tons of product at a time to buffer supply disruptions, along with cheaper costs but also better quality due to fancier equipment. Then we can focus on the fun stuff – like putting Rhodel’s video production skills and Arrow’s graphic design skills to good use, along with my tendency to write way too many words! :)

What’s the catch? Aside from the obvious upfront costs (often made easier via crowdfunding) the real challenge is finding a manufacturer that is good enough and big enough to create a quality product at a reasonable cost, while also being small enough to even consider taking on such a relatively small client as us. Especially when that small client is very picky and has way too many flavors and product lines. :p

Really what you have to do is find a promising, upstart manufacturer that believes in your brand and your vision and wants to grow with you – to hitch their wagon to your horse, so to speak. And that’s the sort of perfect match that’s hard to find.

So… kind of a long shot, but if you happen to know of any promising contract manufacturers making supplements or nutraceuticals in the US, who would be aligned with our philosophy and our vision (even better, if they’re a worker-owned co-op!) please let us know! ;D We’d love to talk with them. :3

Thank you all! :D

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)

PS – Email me if you want my podcast recommendations. ;]

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June 2022 Update

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to give you a heads up about a couple things, in case they affect you! :O

First of all, we’re shutting down our dairy-based, ketogenic companion brand Actualize, and we wanted to give you a chance to stock up before we close it all down for good!

From now until the end of June, you can get all Actualize packs for just $1/packet – our lowest price yet – while supplies last. :) Use coupon code: KETOKINDNESS

At the end of June, shop’s closed! :o Any leftover inventory will be donated to (citizen) science at r/SaturatedFat(The nutrition nerd community there deserves a break after suffering through all my silly memes lately!) ;p

In case you’re wondering, we just didn’t get enough traction to keep up with increasing costs and minimum order quantities for outsourced manufacturing, and after consistently losing money month after month on Actualize this year, decided to focus our resources on the products that have maintained a strong following: Super Body FuelThanks to you all! :)

For those of you who have tried Actualize in the past, I do have some experimental samples of an improved version that will now (most likely) never see the light of day. :/ So if you want to try them and offer your feedback, I’d be happy to send you some with your next Super Body Fuel order – just reply to this email and let me know! ;D

We also still have some free samples of the current Actualize available for anyone who wants it in their SBF shipment this month – let us know. ;)

So, Super Body Fuel. That’s why you all are here, anyway! :d

Last month I mentioned that things have gotten a little rough for the business, losing money for the first time, this year. Not an emergency – the past month has been a bit better – but definitely a thing.

The responses we got actually surprised me – literally every customer who replied said they may not want to pay more, but they wouldn’t mind if prices went up a little bit to account for rising costs – honestly it’s been surprising that we hadn’t already done so. Oh, okay. :o Y’all give me hope for humanity, thank you. <3

Well, I really don’t want to raise prices if I can possibly avoid it, so here’s what I’ve come up with. After bringing all our cost calculations up to date, and fiddling with the numbers to see how to get that bottom line consistently above zero, I found a couple things we can do…

Shipping costs have consistently been going up over time, and while that affects everything, the place where we lose the most money per order is on international shipping. To start with, I’m bumping up the Canadian shipping base cost from $20 to $30, and the base cost for other countries from $30 to $40. Honestly, it probably won’t make a huge difference since we still offer that (very silly) flat international shipping rate on orders of $100 or more, but it’s a start. And I probably should have done it a long time ago. :p

Secondly, that 20% subscription discount is where we’re starting to lose the most money overall. Back when we first increased the discount from 10% to 20% the idea was to make up the difference in increased volume, but… turns out it doesn’t really work that way long-term. That was fine as long as costs were low enough to still break even, but these days? No longer the case.

So, we’re bringing subscriptions back to 10% off, or $45 per bag instead of $40. Fortunately for you all, the subscription plugin on our website doesn’t automatically update existing subscriptions when the price is changed, so all of you who already have subscriptions are grandfathered in at the cheaper price. (For now!) ;p

Obviously, that doesn’t really help us break even, so the plan is for someone (me, unless Rhodel wants to do it) to manually adjust all the active subscriptions to the new price at the end of this month. As far as the (thousands of) additional paused subscriptions in the system, I’ll probably just cancel them at that point, and you all can start a new subscription when you are ready for more. :d

In other words, enjoy the next couple weeks of blissfully low prices on your existing subscriptions, because at the end of June, your favorite fuel is going to take a timid step toward (partly) correcting for inflation! >:o I mean, unless you manage to convince me otherwise between now and then. Feel free to let me know what you think. :3

(Alternatively, we could instead try leaving subscription prices low at $40 and raising one-off purchase prices from $50 to $55 or $60, effectively subsidizing the subscriptions. But that might feel a bit arbitrary and unfair. You tell me!)

The other thing is that Dan, our stalwart manufacturing lead and passionate vegan advocate, will soon be migrating south with his enormous plant-powered puppy to resume his Waldorf teaching career. Rather than hire a replacement, in order to save money I will be taking his place for the next few months, measuring and mixing powders like the good old days. No one else on the team is eager to “seize the means of production” in this particular way, so it’s my chance to show I still got it and crank out batches like a boss. B)

Honestly, I’m looking forward to listening to a ton of podcasts, annoying Arrow with the latest updates on my biohacking experiments, and personally putting our work-life balance policies to the test. ;) And don’t worry, we’ve got some exciting updates in the pipeline with this long-awaited rebrand, so the story is far from over. It’s just about to get interesting. :)

Thanks for sticking with us. You make this all possible! :D

Alex Cho Snyder (axcho)