Lowcarbezine! 2 February 2000

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Hey, Gang!

Happy Groundhog Day!!  Here's hoping the little guy didn't see his
shadow!  Do you know what Groundhog Day really is?  I mean, do you know
why we even pay attention to this day?  Believe it or not, it was an
ancient pagan holiday -- it's the day halfway between the Winter
Solstice and the Spring Equinox.  And that means we're halfway to
spring!!  Pretty soon it'll be light 'til 8, and I'll have to stow away
the soup recipes and start working on salads and barbecue!  Yippee!

 I'm getting more excited about this ezine with every issue I put out.
We did, indeed, pass 1000 subscribers last Wednesday night, and as of
this writing we've passed 1100! And I'm getting the *greatest* email
from my readers (that's *you*!)  Makes me grin like a fool all day when
I get success stories like the one you'll read in this issue.

Dig in.  Hope you enjoy it.  I'm sure having fun!



All contents copyright 2000 by Hold the Toast Press.  All commercial
reproduction and/or use is expressly prohibited.  As always, feel free
to forward Lowcarbezine! to any family or friends you feel might enjoy
it, provided that you forward it in its entirety.

If Lowcarbezine! has been forwarded to you and you enjoy it, you can
subscribe for FREE at http://www.holdthetoast.com .

Lowcarbezine! welcomes reader input!  If you have a question, a recipe,
a product review, a low carb success story, send it on in!!
mailto:dana@holdthetoast.com  However, please note -- although I really
do read all my email my very own self, I get a *lot* of mail --
generally over 200 posts a day (not all of them about Lowcarbezine!), so
I can't promise to answer every post personally.  Or I'll never get the
next book written!


Thought For The Week

Life in the real world!  That's what I'm living.  And life in the real
world is an endless series of choices, and an endless series of

I bring this up because I've read a *lot* of diet and nutrition books,
and sometimes I feel like they don't want to admit this.  They want me
to do things like carry little Tupperware containers of nutritionally
perfect salad dressing in my purse, so I'll never have to sin by eating
a commercial salad dressing that might -- just *might* -- contain
refined oils, or a smidge of sugar.  They want me to go broke buying
nothing but organic meats. They want me to never, ever, ever eat any
artificial sweeteners, even though I'm certainly not going to eat
anything sugar-sweetened.  They want me to never, ever eat at a fast
food restaurant, because the grilled chicken might have been marinated
with something that would add one measly gram of carb to my day.  They
want me to count every single gram of everything I eat, and balance the
proportions of every meal and snack with painstaking accuracy.

Yeah.  Right.

I've quit eating sugar.  I've quit eating white flour -- or any flour,
for that matter.  I rarely miss them, and I don't eat even artificially
sweetened desserts very often these days.  But when I started this Way
of Eating, I still *craved* chocolate.    Should I have sat there and
obsessed, ended up feeling sorry for myself, and maybe doing something
really stupid, like bingeing on sugary chocolate stuff, messing up my
blood sugar, re-triggering that awful hunger, and blowing the whole
diet?  Or was it better that I invented Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse to
DIE For!, even if it did have highly processed, artificially sweetened
instant chocolate pudding mix in it?  That mousse was one of the things
that made it possible for me to get to the point where I don't even care
about sweets, so I'd say it was a mighty good trade off.   And I've been
told by more than one low carb dieter that the mousse was the thing that
let them stay on track with their low carb program, so it sounds like it
was a good idea for them, too.  (Recipe at the website:
http://www.holdthetoast.com )

I eat out most Thursday nights with my Toastmasters Club.   I'll order
the insides of the hot turkey-bacon club sandwich, or the insides of the
gyros -- lamb, tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, onions and all -- on a bed of
romaine. That's a great low carb meal!  I'll also order the herbed
oil-and-vinegar dressing -- not likely to have sugar in it, and if
there's any, it's a tiny, tiny amount.  I also get a side of mayo --
oops!  Some commercial mayo has a smidge of sugar in it -- not enough to
show up in the nutritional breakdown, mind you, but there might be a
*bit*.  And furthermore, commercial mayo is made with commercially
extracted oils, which are clearly not as good for you as cold-pressed or
expeller-pressed oils from the health food store.  Omigosh!  Nutritional
sin!  Should I eat my "sandwich salad" without any dressing?  Nowhere
near as tasty that way.  Or can I feel good about the fact that my meal
is 99.5% nutritionally excellent?

I don't eat at fast food joints very much, but every now and then I find
myself out of the house, in a tearing hurry, and *ravenous*.  You know
what I do?  I go to McDonald's, like everybody else, that's what.  I get
either a grilled chicken salad -- and yes, the chicken has something
like 1 gram's worth of sugar in the marinade -- or I get a Quarter
Pounder without the bun, and plop it on top of a garden salad.  And I
eat it with that commercial salad dressing again!  Caesar dressing seems
to be the lowest carb dressing they've got, but it's still got a gram or
two.  Okay, so it's not an absolutely squeaky clean, perfect meal -- or
even a wildly delicious one.  It *is* a fast way to get a good dose of
protein and a few uninspiring vegetables, with a minimum of carb, in the
minimum time, for minimum work and minimum money.

For that matter, I buy commercially made pork sausage.  It's the store's
own brand, at 99c a pound, and while it's the only pork sausage I've
found with no MSG, it does list sugar among its ingredients -- virtually
all commercially made sausage does.  There can't be much, because the
nutritional breakdown says "0 grams carbohydrate", but it's there.  I
eat sausage every few weeks; it's not a daily thing for me.  Should I
feel obligated to make my own, to avoid what may be a half-teaspoon of
sugar in a pound of sausage?  Or can I figure that it's not enough to
worry about, and that anyway, sausage is far better thing to be eating
than Lucky Charms?

My daily beverages are water and tea -- I drink tea by the gallon, both
hot and iced.  (It's not my fault.  My Aunt Grace got me addicted as a
tiny child.  We used to go to her house for tea parties, and we'd always
use the good things -- bone china tea cups, sterling silver spoons, the
works.  I got hooked.  It's that simple.  I love you, Aunt Grace,
wherever you are! )  I never drink soda pop, not even diet soda pop --
can't stand the stuff.  Don't drink coffee, I never liked it.  Just tea
and water, water and tea. (And usually wine or lite beer in the

But I do drink *black* tea -- you know, caffeine, tannic acid, all that
stuff -- instead of the more "health-foody" herb tea.  Most herb tea
tastes like dishwater to me; so does straight decaf tea.  And, okay,
I'll admit it -- I'm addicted to caffeine.  I  have  gone over to
half-caf, but I still crave the stuff, and I get headaches without it.
I've read plenty of nutrition books that put all caffeine-containing
beverages in the untouchable category, and never mind the fact that tea
is simply *loaded* with antioxidants, and may even prevent cancer!
Should I feel bad for drinking caffeine, or good for drinking something
that is unprocessed, sugar-free, devoid of artificial ingredients, and
full of antioxidants?

For that matter, I drink -- gasp! -- *tap water*.  Boy, how's *that* for
a violation of health food law?  Look, I have better things to do than
haul bottles of water around, and I've got so much food in my
refrigerator that I don't have room for one of those Brita filtering
pitchers.  (You've never seen a fridge quite so full as mine.  Hey, I'm
writing a cookbook, and there's only two of us to eat the leftovers of
my experiments.  Furthermore, I tend to buy mostly food that has to be
refrigerated, on the theory that if something won't go bad, it's
probably not real food.)  I'd love to have a good, permanent,
under-the-sink water filter, but they're pretty darned pricey.  So I
drink the stuff that comes out of my tap, and figure it's a *huge* step
up from Coca-cola.

Should I worry about these compromises of nutritional purity?

Here's how I look at it:  I'm very careful about my macronutrient intake
-- that is to say, I make sure I get plenty of protein and good fats,
and only very modest amounts of carbs -- and I get those from the
healthiest and lowest impact sources, mainly vegetables and nuts.  The
vast majority of what I eat is good, real food -- fresh meat and
poultry, vegetables both fresh and frozen -- but with no added
flavorings or chemicals -- real olive oil, grade A butter,  fresh nuts
and seeds, fresh local eggs raised by local small farmers, fresh low
sugar fruits.  I eat *no* sugary, starchy, highly processed junk food.
None. I've lost -- depending on what day you ask me -- between 45 and 50
pounds, and I've kept it off for four years.  I'm about the healthiest
creature that you ever did see -- I practically explode with energy, my
bloodwork is golden, and I keep getting guessed at 28 years old, when
I'm really 41.

So if I happen to eat an artificially sweetened dessert now and then, in
lieu of the *tons* of sugar I used to eat, or I eat commercial
mayonnaise or store-bought pork sausage instead of making my own, or I
drink tea and tap water, I think that's okay.  I just don't see it as
having a major impact on my health.

Now, there are people who really revel in being "hard core".  If they're
going to do something, they want to do it all the way!  They really
*want* to make sure that they're not getting even the tiniest smidge of
sugar or artificial chemicals,  and they're willing to make everything
from scratch to do it.  They feel good about giving up caffeine.  They
find the whole thing very satisfying and motivating. And that's cool!
For some folks, it's easier to go all the way than to go most of the
way.  And if you're one of those folks, hey, go to it!  Whatever works
for you, that's fine by me.

But if you, like me, are willing to give mindful attention to your
nutrition, but don't want to make it the focus of your entire life, I
want you to know that it's okay to make the little compromises.  Only
little ones, mind you!  No compromises involving big doses of sugar!!
But you don't get any Cosmic Brownie Points for being perfect.  It's
okay to live in the real world.  Just consistently make the best choices
you can, given the situation that you're in, and you should do fine.

Being good enough is good enough.


Frequently Asked Question

I think I'm carbohydrate intolerant/carbohydrate addicted, but I'm a
vegetarian.  Can I still go on a low carbohydrate diet?

Yes, you can!  I've known a few low carb vegetarians, and they've done
fine.  I've also known some vegetarians who simply incorporated *some*
of the principles of a low carbohydrate diet -- most notably, a higher
protein consumption -- into their diets, and were rewarded by improved
health and energy.

If you wish to be a low carbohydrate vegetarian, the first thing
required is to get over the idea, very wide spread, especially among
moral vegetarians, that the body requires very little protein.  In my
experience, improved health and energy level when protein intake is
increased is virtually universal.  You also need to ignore the widely
touted idea that grains and beans are the "natural" diet of humankind,
because they have been the *principle* diet of the majority of humankind
since the Agricultural Revolution.  Remember that agriculture was
invented approximately 10,000 years ago -- and that by the best
estimates of science, humankind has a 2 *million* year history.  That's
a very long time during which human beings lived and thrived on a diet
that contained very little in the way of grains and beans, but did
indeed include meat and other animal-derived foods.

None of which means you can't be a low carbohydrate vegetarian, and be
quite healthy!  After all, the concept of "natural" when it comes to
humans is pretty meaningless.  We didn't evolve with central heating,
either, but I, for one, don't care to give it up!  All it means is that
you won't be constructing your vegetarian diet around grains and beans.

So what will you be eating?  Well, first of all, all the stuff that
non-vegetarian low carb dieters eat that isn't meat!  That would mean,
of course, plenty of low carb vegetables, nuts, seeds, low sugar fruits,
healthy fats like olive oil, mayonnaise, and butter, along with foods
that contain healthy fat -- things like avocados and olives.  If you're
a lacto-ovo vegetarian, you'll also be eating eggs and cheese.  (If
you're a vegan, you should know that most soy cheeses are indeed low

The big food group that omnivorous low carbers tend to neglect, but that
the vegetarian low carber will likely be consuming in abundance, is soy
foods -- tofu, tempeh, okara, soy based veggie burgers, and soy based
meat substitutes  -- sausage, fake cold cuts, ground beef substitutes
and the like.  You'll need to be even more vigilant about reading labels
than the omnivores, who can generally assume that all fresh meat,
poultry, and fish have about the same carb count -- zero -- and the same
protein content -- 7g per ounce, cooked. Pay attention to not only
carbohydrate content and fiber content, but also protein content, and
look for products that have 5 or fewer grams of usable carbohydrate per
serving, (subtract the grams of fiber from the total grams of
carbohydrate to get the usable carb count), and choose those with the
*most* protein for the *least* carbohydrate.

Another low carb, high protein soy food that many of you may not know
about is textured vegetable protein, or TVP.  Even if you haven't heard
of it, you may well have had it, since it's often used to make processed
foods seem like they have more meat in them than they do.  I suspect
it's also the basis for a fair number of the vegetarian meat substitutes
on the market.  TVP is a soy product, made by Archer Daniels Midland,
the ultra-huge agricultural company.  It comes dry, in granules or in
chunks (about dry dog food-sized) -- I can get both at my health food
store.  Since Bloomingfoods (that's my health food store) only carries
TVP in bulk, there was no package for me to read for nutritional info,
so I called Archer Daniels Midland.  (Hey, you can get just about
anybody's phone number if you ask a reference librarian!)  Talked to a
very nice man named Mike in the research and development department.
Here's the lowdown on TVP, nutritionally speaking:

100 grams of dry TVP has:
50 grams of protein -- and that's complete protein.
30 grams of carbohydrate
18 grams of fiber

That means that actually 100 grams of TVP has 12 grams of usable carb,
of course.

Now, you wouldn't likely eat 100 grams of TVP!   That's a LOT.  There's
about 80 grams total weight in a cup of the stuff.  And TVP grows about
200% when you add liquid, so a cup of TVP would end up being 3 cups when
it was rehydrated.  I'm figuring about a third of a cup, dry, would be a
serving -- that would be about a cup of rehydrated TVP.  That would
contain 13.2 grams of protein, and 3.16 grams of usable carb.  Not bad.

How would you use TVP?  It would make a good vegetarian chili, for
example.  Also, one night recently I was making a new meat loaf recipe,
with lots of zucchini and parmesan cheese in it (yes, I'll give you the
recipe in a future issue!) for company, and one of my guests was a
vegetarian.  I mixed together everything but the meat -- the zucchini,
the onions, the cheese, the eggs, the seasonings -- and then before I
added the ground beef, I scooped out some of this mixture and combined
it with rehydrated TVP.  I put it in an individual casserole dish, and
baked it.  My vegetarian friend loved it!

What do you rehydrate TVP with?  If you're making that vegetarian chili
I just mentioned, the moisture from the tomato sauce and such will do
fine.  For other recipes, you *can* rehydrate TVP with boiling water --
two parts water to one part TVP -- but I like to use some sort of
seasoning -- bouillon, soy sauce, something like that.  Of course,
you'll check the carb count on that, too, right?  For the
zucchini/parmesan casserole, I flavored the water I used to  rehydrate
the TVP with  some Bragg's Aminos, a protein broth you can buy at many
health food stores.  Gave a sort of "meaty" taste to the TVP.

Anyway, TVP is a versatile and inexpensive vegetarian protein option I
thought some of you might have missed; so now you know!

There are also some seitan (wheat gluten) products that are low enough
in carbohydrate to qualify as "low carb", but keep in mind that wheat
gluten is A) not a complete protein and B) one of the foods most likely
to cause unpleasant reactions.  I'd choose it less often than the soy
products, and eat it in combination with other vegetarian protein foods,
if I were you.

Read the labels on *everything*!  Don't assume that because Brand X
veggie burgers are low carb, Brand Y veggie burgers are, too.  Doing
research at my health food store, I found veggie burgers that were made
from soy protein, and were quite low carb and high in protein, and I
also found veggie burgers that were made from grains, and were very high
carb, with little protein.  Be aware that seasoning can change the carb
count, too -- if the same company makes different flavors of a product
-- for instance, Italian flavored tofu, Thai flavored tofu, and
Southwestern flavored tofu -- read all the labels on the different

Also pay close attention to products sold to flavor tofu -- scrambler
mixes and the like.  They often have starches or sugars in them.  You'll
do better to season your tofu yourself; buy a good cookbook if you have

So there you have the basics of a vegetarian low carb diet:  Plenty of
low carb vegetables, nuts and seeds, eggs and cheese, soy products, a
bit of low sugar fruit, and unprocessed natural fats.  A nutritious
diet, and a healthy one.  Just be aware that as a vegetarian, you'll be
getting more carbs with your protein than your meat-eating low carb
compatriots, and adjust the carb content of the rest of your diet
downward accordingly.

Any concerns, here?  Well, just a couple.  First of all, most vegetarian
meat substitutes cost considerably more per gram of protein than
inexpensive meat or poultry would.  Especially if you're a vegan, a low
carb vegetarian diet could get pretty pricey.  Too, vegetarian meat
substitutes are virtually all processed -- even tofu is a processed
food, to some degree.  It's unclear to me what, exactly, the impact of
this might be, but I thought I should point it out.  (On the other hand,
to be entirely fair, ground beef has to be considered at least slightly
processed, too.  After all, our ancestors didn't just eat the muscle
meats, they ate virtually the whole animal.)

Third, the only good sources of iron in a vegetarian low carb diet would
be egg yolks, nuts, and a few vegetables -- beans, the most common
source of iron in most vegetarian diets, are not suitable for low
carbing, except on some of the more liberal, "hybrid" diets, like my
Careful Carb diet.  Vegetarians may wish to choose such a hybrid diet,
or take an iron supplement.  (Be aware, though:  Iron is a mineral where
not getting too much is as crucial as not getting too little.  Too
little will cause anemia, and make you tired.  Too much has been
associated with an increased risk of heart disease.  Women of
childbearing age are the population most at risk for anemia.)  (In case
you were wondering, the most absorbable form of dietary iron is called
"heme iron", and is found in red meat.  Those of us who eat an
omnivorous low carb diet shouldn't have to worry much.)

My fourth worry applies only to vegans:  I'm convinced that cholesterol
is *good* for you -- it's essential for every single cell in your body
--  and a vegan diet supplies *none*.  It is also lacking in DHA, a
fatty acid essential for brain function.  (There's now some speculation,
for instance, that the measurable difference in brain function between
breast fed and formula fed babies -- breast fed babies tend to be
smarter -- may be due to the fact that breast milk is rich in DHA, while
formula has none.)  Eggs are a good source of both, so lacto-ovo
vegetarian low carbers don't have to concern themselves with this.
Also, be sure to eat plenty of the vegetarian sources of healthy fats --
olive oil on your salads, and to sauté things in, avocados on your
salad, things like that.  A low carb/low fat diet isn't good for you.

One other possible problem occurs to me:  Eating out as a low carb
vegetarian could become a very difficult proposition.  Most vegetarian
entrees at restaurants are based on pasta, beans, or rice.  I'm afraid I
don't know much of a way around this, except perhaps to pick a good
local restaurant where they're known for catering, to some degree, to
vegetarians, and let them know of your dietary restrictions.  They just
might come up with a great new tofu dish or tempeh stir fry for you!


Need a great website for your business or organization?  If you like the
Hold the Toast website -- sure is clear and easy to use! -- you'll want
to talk to Webbalah Internet Services for all your web development and
internet hosting needs!  www.webbalah.net


Reader Testimonial

Oh, boy, is this letter making me happy!  It's from my long-time
cyberpal Clarence (we watch the same soap opera, Guiding Light):

Hey Dana,

Just wanted to share recent health news.

I've lost 25-30 pounds (starting approx. 240, now approx. 210) and held
it for over 1 year.  This works out to a little over 10% of total body
weight which I saw somewhere was a good goal for most Americans to
have.  I feel great and have lots of energy.

Cholesterol scores are much improved.  (Clarence attached his bloodwork
-- his total cholesterol is down 155 points, his triglycerides are down
220 points, his HDL is up 13 points, and his predicted risk of a heart
attack has dropped from twice normal to normal.)

While not following a strict low carb diet, I have drastically improved
the quality of the carbs I do eat, thanks to your guidance.  Your
explanations are easy to understand and to follow (carry out).   Val has
me exercising more which helps but I think improved nutrition has been
the key.

Thanks from the bottom of my presumably clearing heart and arteries,

See Dana do the Happy Dance! La-la-la-la-la!


Should I be on a low carb diet?  A *no* carb diet?  What can I eat?
What should I avoid? How strict do I need to be?   Why won't eating
cholesterol give me heart disease?  What's the difference between
Atkins, Protein Power, and the Carbohydrate Addict's Diet?  And why
can't someone explain all this to me in language I can understand!?
Read _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_ , the low
carb book that gives you all the options, without all the confusing
medical jargon.  Read the first chapter FREE at


I asked this once before, and I'll ask again, periodically -- if you've
read my book, and you like it, do me a favor and go to Amazon.com and
write a review, would you?  Won't cost you anything but a minute of your
time.  Here's a link:


Product Review

Love chocolate?  (Hey, I might as well ask, "Enjoy breathing?", right?)

Well, there's always my Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse To DIE For! (recipe
at the website:  http://www.holdthetoast.com ), but sometimes you just
don't feel like cooking.  And sometimes you want something -- well,
something sort of ice cream-like.

Which is why I tried no-sugar-added fudge pops this week.

To be quite honest, I didn't expect to like them much. Having had a bad
experience with sugar free fruit pops last summer, I figured they'd be
too sweet, fake tasting, have a weird texture.  I was pleasantly
surprised!  These things are good.  Really quite tasty; my memory may be
faulty, but I'd swear they taste like the fudge pops of my childhood.
For that matter, my husband didn't expect to like them either -- when I
had one last night, he didn't want one.  Until he tried a lick or two of
mine, that is!  Then he changed his mind, and grabbed one of his own.

The fudge pops are not dirt-low in carbs, however.  About 9 grams per
pop -- and they come two pops to a paper wrapper, so don't go thinking
you can eat both of 'em for that count!  Most of those carbs come from
maltodextrin, milk, and buttermilk -- I have no problem with milk and
buttermilk, nutritionally, but maltodextrin isn't really my favorite
substance, since it's very highly processed.  The fudge pops also
include some artificial colors and flavors, and of course they're
sweetened with aspartame, which some people tolerate better than
others.  You'll have to decide for yourself whether these fit into your
own, personal, low carb lifestyle.  Me, I figure I'll eat them now and
then, but not make a regular thing of it.  The mousse is both lower
carb, and tastier, if somewhat more work.

"What brand are the fudge pops?" I hear you cry!  Well, that's the bad
news, or the good news, depending on where you live.  They were Kroger's
store brand, which means that if you live near a Kroger's you can get
them, and if you don't, you can't.  Luckily, Kroger's is the single
biggest grocery chain in the United States, so a lot of my US readers
will be able to get them.

However, I'm betting that they're made -- as are most store brands -- by
some big manufacturer.  Further, I'd bet that the same manufacturer
makes store brands for other grocery chains, and also makes the fudge
pops under some brand names.  So go sight-seeing in your grocer's
freezer case, and see what you find!  And, as always, READ THE LABEL!!

And next week, I'll tell you about no sugar added creme pops!


Seen on a list of humorously  bungled headlines:  "Kids make nutritious
snacks!"  Well, at least they're low carb.  ;-D


Low Carb in the News!

In this month's American Journal of Cardiology, Dr. Gerald M. Reaven of
Stanford University School of Medicine has published the results of a
study regarding the effects of carbohydrate intake on triglyceride
levels.  A small study, it looked at 8 healthy volunteers, whom were fed
either a diet of 60% carbohydrate, 25% fat, and 15% protein (a low
fat/high carb diet) or 40% carbohydrate, 45% fat, and 15% carbohydrate
(a moderately reduced carb/moderately high fat diet).  Each group stayed
on their diet for 2 weeks, waited 2 weeks, and then tried the other diet
for 2 weeks.

The study showed that triglycerides were higher on a high
carbohydrate/low fat diet than on a diet with restricted carbs and
higher fat.  The volunteers also had lower HDL cholesterol (good
cholesterol) on the low fat/high carb diet than on the diet with less
carbohydrate and more fat.

Dr. Reaven said, "Given the atherogenic potential of these changes in
lipoprotein metabolism, it seems appropriate to question the wisdom of
recommending that all Americans should replace dietary fat with

Kind of fits in with Clarence's letter, doesn't it?


That's it for this week!  See you next week!

Dana W. Carpender

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