Lowcarbezine! 9 February 2000

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Hey, Gang!

Hope you've had a good week!  I'm smiling today -- it's up over 50
degrees out there, and sunny!  (For my readers in other countries, *calm
down*!  That's 50 degrees Fahrenheit, not Celsius.)  I'm going for a
walk today, and no one is going to stop me!

I'll be getting some more sun this week, too -- as of tomorrow morning I
am outta here, heading to San Diego to see my sister and my dad.  Going
to go whale watching, drive up to Anaheim and go to Disneyland, and
hopefully see the new baby panda at the San Diego Zoo.  Oh, and cook up
a storm with my sister, who is also low carb.  If we come up with
anything wonderful, I'll take notes and let you know.

I'm not just telling you all this to make you jealous.  You need to know
that I'll be away through next Thursday, so next week's issue of
Lowcarbezine won't be out a *minute* sooner than Friday evening, and may
be as late as Saturday.  Just didn't want you sitting in front of your
computers next Wednesday, muttering, "Where *is* it?!"

Now, if my cyberpals would only stop discussing gory details of plane
crashes... ;-D



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
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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

Don't look now!  Just when you've really shaken that Holiday Five, here
comes Valentine's Day!  Surely you've noticed the heart-shaped satin
boxes piled up at every grocery store, discount store, convenience
store, and even truck stop.  Yes, it's another all-American Junk Fest!

Okay, so it's not as bad as "The Holiday Season", where you're facing
carbohydrate land mines for more than a month.   Still, you're likely to
encounter at least one open box of chocolates or plate of cookies with
fluorescent pink icing sometime this week.  It's time to give a little
thought to strategy.

First of all, decide *now* whether Valentine's Day is worth having an
official Indulgence for.  For those of you who haven't read my book,
"Indulgence" refers to a planned, celebratory deviation from your low
carb diet.  I much prefer this term to "cheat", which A) signals you
that you should feel guilty, which is silly, and B) suggests that you're
going to get away with something.  You never, ever do.  Your body knows,
and *will* react accordingly!  Me, I always expect to put on 4-5 pounds
when I have an Indulgence, and to take the best part of a week getting
it off again.  Which is why I have Indulgences very, very rarely -- I
had 6 Indulgences in all of 1999, just one every other month.  (For the
record, that was my fewest Indulgences in a year since I went low carb
-- I had 8 in 1998.  I disremember how many in 1997.  The point being, I
care less and less about these things as time goes by, which is

Before you make that decision, though, consider some ways you can
celebrate Valentine's Day *without* eating candy!  Your Valentine could
give you:

*Flowers!!  These are maybe even more traditional for Valentine's Day
than chocolates.  Or consider a flowering plant that will last longer --
a pot of hyacinths would be lovely, or a blooming azalea.

*Jewelry!!  Don't you think that you're worth it?

*Perfume or cologne -- something that makes you feel beautiful or
studly, depending on which gender you are.

*A great dinner out.  How about lobster dipped in lemon butter?  Or a 16
ounce sirloin?

*Slinky lingerie!  Think you haven't lost enough weight yet to wear
something really sexy?  Think again.  I was just in Lane Bryant
yesterday, and they have some really *wonderful* stuff that *will* fit
you.  Stop thinking of yourself as fat, and think of yourself as *curvy*
for a change!  Gentlemen, how about buying your wife some slinky
lingerie as a Valentine to yourself?   Ladies, if your husband is low
carbing too, how about a pair of silk boxers for him?  Personally, I'd
forego the hearts and get him something classy he'll actually wear.

*Watch a romantic video with your own true love.  My personal favorite
is a little-known romantic comedy that came out in the 80s called
"Getting It Right", with Lynn Redgrave, Helena Bonham-Carter, and John
Geilgud -- some cast!  Or maybe you'd both prefer something a little
steamier.  Up to you!

*How about a Day of Beauty (or a half-day if money's tight) at a salon
or day spa?

*Or a massage -- great for men and women alike.  (As a career massage
therapist, I'm very fond of this suggestion!)

*A night at a romantic getaway, whether it's a Victorian
bed-and-breakfast, or one of these places like Sybaris, with hot tubs
and waterfalls in the rooms.  (Don't think my sister's guest room
qualifies here, do you?)

Do one or two of these possibilities strike you as more fun than candy?
If so, go for it, and don't regret the lack of chocolates!

Maybe, though, you're still shaking your head and thinking, "Nope.
Valentine's Day just doesn't make it without chocolates."  In that case,
you're headed for an Indulgence!  But remember, this is an *Indulgence*,
not a complete revocation of all the rules of low carb dieting!  Here's
a few suggestions to get you through your Indulgence with the least
possible damage:

*Your Indulgence lasts for *one day* and *one day only*.  This means no
weaseling a 5 pound box of chocolates out of your Significant Other and
then noshing on them for a few days!  Far better, buy a half-a-dozen
*sinfully* expensive chocolates of your very favorite kind, eat them all
on Valentine's Day, and have done with it.  Or go out for dinner
somewhere where they serve really decadent desserts, have your
Indulgence, and go home to safe low carb territory.

*If you like them as well as any other kind, dark chocolate covered nuts
will mess up your blood sugar less than, say, caramels or chocolate
covered cherries.  Why?  They have less sugar, and more protein and fat,
of course!  Still, it's your Indulgence, so if you really have a strong
preference, I'd say run with it.

*You could get sugar-free chocolates, most good chocolate shops carry
them, but they're generally sweetened with sugar alcohols like sorbitol
or mannitol.  These *are* carbs.  They are, however, somewhat more
slowly absorbed than sugar is, so they may spike your blood sugar less,
so you may have less of a rebound crash/hunger/craving problem.  Still,
most of the sugar-free chocolates I've tried weren't brilliant.  I'd
make sure you really like them as well as the kind with sugar before I
wasted an Indulgence on something that isn't exactly what you want.  Oh,
and you should know that sugar alcohols can act as a laxative if eaten
in any quantity!

*Eat your chocolates after you've eaten a meal of protein, fats, and
veggies, rather than by themselves as a snack.  They'll affect your
blood sugar far less -- and you'll be less likely to overeat on them.

*Don't go eating sugary stuff you don't really care about just because
it's Valentine's Day and you've decided that this is an Indulgence Day
for you.  There are likely to be cookies or cupcakes or cheap chocolates
in the break room at work -- are they the really, really good kind
that's worth the four or five days you'll spend getting them back off
again?  Or are they cheap, cheesy grocery store cookies that don't even
taste very good in the first place?  Be very, very choosy about your
Indulgence foods!

Related to that last tip:  Whether you plan an Indulgence for
Valentine's Day or not, it's a very good idea to take a low carb treat
to work with you next Monday.  Pack up some Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse
To DIE For! (recipe at http://www.holdthetoast.com ) in a snap-top
container, and take it along.  Or make some of the Chocolate Walnut
Balls that I gave you the recipe for at Christmas -- I've repeated it
below --  and take them along.  Either way, you'll find resisting the
break room junk far, far easier!

So, Indulgence Day or not, have a wonderful Valentine's Day!  Here's
hoping Cupid shoots you, but good!


Frequently Asked Question

What the heck do you mean by "usable carb"?

If you've read either my book, _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost
Forty Pounds!_, or _Protein Power_, by Michael and Mary Dan Eades,
you'll understand the term, but if you've read one of the many other low
carb books out there, it may well be a mystery -- and you may well be
limiting your diet more than you need to!  The Eades introduced this
concept under the name "the Effective Carbohydrate Count" or ECC, and it
is a real breakthrough for low carbohydrate dieters.  Here's the

When you read a nutrition label on a packaged food, or when you look a
food up in a food count book, the number that you find listed as "Total
carbohydrate" on the package, or as "Carbohydrate" in the food count
book, actually can be broken down into three separate parts:  sugars,
starches, and *fiber*.  On food labels, you'll see sugars and fiber
listed right under the Total Carbohydrate listing -- they don't list
starches, for some reason.  In a food count book, of course, the fiber
will be listed in the column headed "fiber".  (This is why you want a
"food count" book rather than just a carb counter.  I often use _The
Complete Book of Food Counts, by Corinne T. Netzer.  You can find it in
my low carb library at the website -- go to http://www.holdthetoast.com
and click on the "library" button, scroll down, and you'll find a link
to the book at Amazon.com.)

You see, fiber is, technically speaking, a form of carbohydrate.
However, it's a carbohydrate that is too big for you to digest and
absorb, which is why you can't live on grass the way a cow does.
Therefore, fiber will not raise your blood sugar level, nor will it
cause an insulin release.  Better than that, fiber will actually buffer
the absorption of the sugars and starches eaten with it, moderating
their effect on your blood sugar level!

So when you read a food's carbohydrate count, you need to read its fiber
count, too -- and subtract the number of fiber grams from the total
grams of carbohydrate to get the number of grams of "usable carb" -- the
grams of carbohydrate that you will actually absorb, and will effect
your insulin release.  This can give you a lot more food!  For instance,
a half-cup of broccoli has 4.9 grams of carbohydrate, but 2.8 grams of
that is fiber, so there's actually only 2.1 grams of carb that you have
to worry about in there -- less than half of that original count!
Pretty cool.

When it comes to fruits, this can make the difference between being able
to eat them and not being able to eat them!  For instance, a half a cup
of blackberries -- which I grow in my backyard -- has 9.2 grams of
carbohydrate, which is pretty high if you're in the early phase of your
low carb diet.  But when you subtract out the fiber, there's only 5.6
grams, which sounds a lot better, doesn't it?  You could fit that into
almost any low carb diet.

There are even some baked goods that are "fiber enriched" enough that
they'll fit into a low carb diet.  As I've mentioned in a previous
issue, I buy some crackers called "Fiber Rich" that are mostly bran
stuck together.  They have almost no usable carb in them!  They're not
wonderful by themselves, but they're pretty good with tuna salad or
dips, and it's nice to have something crunchy like this that we can eat.

Of course the other big benefit to this "usable carb" concept is that we
no longer have to worry about getting enough fiber on a low carb diet --
by choosing foods with low total carbs and high fiber content you can
get all the fiber you need.  By the way, if you've been thinking that by
knocking grains out of your diet you've lost your best source of fiber,
guess again.  Vegetables are far and away the best source of fiber, and
you can eat plenty of vegetables on a low carb diet.  Further, you
remember those studies that indicated that fiber was important for
preventing colon cancer?  More recent studies show that fiber, in and of
itself, does *not* prevent colon cancer -- eating vegetables does!

So eat your low carb, high fiber vegetables, and enjoy your healthy


Product Review

Okay, last week I reviewed no-sugar-added fudge pops, and really liked
them, and I promised you that this week I'd review no-sugar-added creme
pops.  So, true to my word, I tried no-sugar-added creme pops this
week.  Here's my review:


Okay, I admit that this isn't really my thing anyway.  I've always been
the sort who would take chocolate anything over any other flavor. (I
believe that when they dug up the old family castle in England, chiseled
over the fireplace were the words, "If it ain't chocolate, it ain't
worth it." ;-D )  Just looking at the box, I didn't expect to like
them.  But still, these things just ain't that good.

If you haven't seen one of these, it's a popsicle sort of outside with
an inside of vanilla ice cream-oid substance.  The popsicle part has the
standard very sweet fake fruit flavor, not a big fave of mine in the
first place.  The vanilla stuff in the center is, as I said, sort of
vanilla ice cream-ish, but it's really hard to get a good flavor and
texture to vanilla ice cream when it not only has no added sugar, but no
fat.  It's just sweet and bland, with a thin sort of texture.

About the only good thing I have to say about the creme pops is that
they have only 3 grams of carb apiece, considerably less than the fudge
pops, which had 9 grams.  But you know what?  I didn't like these things
well enough to waste even three grams on them.  I didn't even finish
one.  I'll have to find somebody else to give the rest of the box to,
because I sure won't be eating them, and my husband didn't like them

However, there is, no doubt, somewhere among my readers, *somebody* who
always loved popsicles, and likes the fruit/vanilla combination.  If
this describes you, it might be worth your while to at least try these,
since they are quite low carb. You should know that they're sweetened
with aspartame, so if you're one of the aspartame-sensitive folks, these
aren't for you.  If you still want to try them, despite my bad review,
the ones I bought were Kroger's own brand.  If you don't live where
there are Kroger's stores -- Kroger's is the biggest grocery store chain
in the US -- read the labels on the pops in your grocer's freezer case.
No doubt you can find something similar.

Personally, if I wanted a fruit flavored dessert, I'd much rather make
the Strawberry Cups recipe at the Hold the Toast website -- very, very
easy, and really, really yummy!  ( http://www.holdthetoast.com )  Or
just have some strawberries and whipped cream!


Tried to read Atkins or Protein Power and found the medical jargon to be
a bit too much?  Confused about the differences between low carb diets?
Read _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_  Fun,
friendly, easy to read, easy to understand.  Check out the first chapter
FREE at http://www.holdthetoast.com .


An Update For Low Carb Vegetarians

Last week I wrote about low carb vegetarians -- which vegetarian foods
would work for a low carb diet and which would not.  Well, since then
I've had some worrisome news about perhaps the most common low carb
source of vegetarian protein -- tofu.  Many of you who are not
vegetarians may still eat tofu, at least in my Sugar Free Chocolate
Mousse to DIE For! (recipe at http://www.holdthetoast.com ), so you'd
better read on.

It seems that research has been done in Hawaii that indicates that
eating tofu speeds up "brain aging", and may lead to Alzheimer's
disease.  The head of the research project is Dr. Lon White, a scientist
with the Pacific Health Research Institute at Kuakini Medical Center.
The work was financed by the National Institute on Aging.

This conclusion is based on a long term study of 3,734 Japanese-American
men in a heart and aging research program in Honolulu.  Comparing
cognitive tests on the subjects with their diet histories, Dr. White
found that more than two servings a week of tofu, eaten in middle age --
after age 45 -- may affect cognitive function in old age.  The
relationship between tofu consumption and decline of brain function
appears to be a straight line -- the more tofu a subject ate, the
greater the decline in brain function in old age.

 Dr. White also took into account many other dietary factors, including
green tea, black tea, rice, miso (a fermented soy product), meat, fish,
milk, and coffee.  The only food that showed any relationship to brain
function was tofu.

It is unclear exactly how tofu would effect brain function, but it is
possible that some of the same estrogen-like chemicals which make tofu
and soy extracts popular with menopausal women may somehow block the
effects of the body's own estrogen on the brain.  Estrogen is needed for
healthy brain function.

There is apparently some precedent for beans causing problems with brain
function.  Says Ray Audette, author of _Neanderthin_:

"A recent Nova program on PBS was about Alzheimer's.  In it were shown
examples of the two most closely related diseases to Alzheimer's. The
causes of these disorders are well known.  One is caused by eating the
beans of a plant found in  Micronesia.  The other is caused by eating a
certain type of pea found in India and consumed only by people who
because of poverty have nothing else.  To find that Alzheimer's disease
itself is caused by consuming a bean would not be surprising."

What are we to make of this?  Well, I haven't thrown out my tofu just
yet.  First of all, I eat tofu far less often than twice a week -- I use
it only in my chocolate mousse and when I make hot-and-sour soup, and I
don't eat either of those things on a weekly basis, much less twice a
week or more -- and neither of these things contains so much tofu that
I'd consider them a full "serving".  Secondly, and quite important, is
that this is *one* study.  It's very hard to be certain of anything from
one study.  Also, last I knew, this study had not been published by a
peer-reviewed scientific journal.  Without the peer review process,
judging the validity of the information is more difficult.

Another thing that occurs to me is that Alzheimer's seems to have been
happening for a long time, and tofu has only been part of the American
diet for the past few decades, except for folks of Asian ancestry.  It
seems unlikely to me that tofu could be the only cause of Alzheimer's --
perhaps we will find other foods that are a problem as well, or perhaps
there are factors completely unrelated to diet that we haven't
discovered yet.

Still, I would recommend that low carb vegetarians eat somewhat less
tofu, and more of other low carb protein foods.  That miso is not
associated with the decline of brain function makes me hopeful that not
all soy products will be implicated.  Eat plenty of nuts and seeds, eggs
and cheese.  And while I would never suggest that you do anything you
find morally offensive,  if you're a vegetarian largely for health
reasons, rather than moral/spiritual reasons, it may be time to rethink
your diet.


That's it for this week!  See you again when I get back from vacation!

Dana W. Carpender

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