Lowcarbezine! 23 February 2000

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Hey, Gang!

Spring's a-comin'!  It may be cloudy and grey, but it's in the
mid-fifties here in Southern Indiana, and it's supposed to be 60 by
Friday!  Little green sprouts are popping up in my front garden --
daffodils getting ready for March!  Oh, but it's making me happy!  I
love this time of year.  It's so full of promise.

Yes, I know that we'll still get some cold days.  But I also know that
it can't last.  And that makes all the difference!


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.

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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

Were you good this week?

If you were, cut it out!  Not being a nice person, of course, but
thinking of food, and of eating, in terms of good and bad.  Let me tell
you something very important:  Food is not a moral issue.

But we feel like it is.  We've been told for so long, in so many forums,
that this is a matter of "character", and "will-power"; that if we're
just "good" enough we can belong to the elite, the elect, the beautiful
hard-bodies. In the meanwhile, waif models in magazines (I won't buy
anything by Calvin Klein anymore; his stick-like, dead-eyed, junkie-waif
kids offend me to the core) and "lollipop girls" (stick bodies with big
heads) on TV and in the movies give us more and more and more
unreasonable standards for what "beautiful" is.  I don't know how it is
in the rest of the world, but here in the USA our last remaining
socially acceptable prejudice is against people who are obese.
Comedians who would *never* tell a black joke will tell a fat joke, and
draw big yucks.

We're nasty and judgmental over what is A) a deeply personal subject and
B) only partly under our control.  Further, our standards of physical
beauty have grown more and more unrealistic.  Used to be that to be
considered beautiful or handsome, you simply had to be one of the more
attractive people in your village -- and your village was probably a few
hundred people.  Heck, there was a time when if you didn't have pock
marks and you did have all your teeth, you were considered a rare, fair

Now what are we up against?  Constant images of the most beautiful
people in the world -- and not only people who were born beautiful, no.
People who have been surgically altered -- nipped, tucked, implanted,
peeled, lifted.  People who have two hours a day to spend at the gym
because it's part of their *JOB*.  It's gotten to the point where even
men are starting to get anorexia -- and I've read estimates as high as
one in four of college women having an eating disorder.  We believe,
deep down, that if we were just *good* enough, tried *hard* enough, that
the reward would come -- we'd look like Julia Roberts, like Gwyneth
Paltrow, like Brendan Fraser, like Tom Cruise.  And when we don't look
like that, we're sure we're at fault

I've got news for you:  I've been low carbing for over four years, and I
still don't look like Julia or Gwyneth.  Heck, I'm not even skinny.  All
I can claim to be is *skinnier* -- a normal, healthy size instead of
increasingly, unhealthily obese.  I'm a size 12, down from a size
18/20.  (I was still wearing 18s when I started my low carb way of
eating -- but I was asking a *whole* lot of them!  I would have had to
buy 20s very soon if I hadn't found low carb.)  I"ve successfully kept
the weight off, which is actually the bigger deal.   I'm also *wildly*
healthy. Shall I abandon it all or feel like a failure or save up for
surgery because I'm not a size 2?  (I've got another piece of news for
you -- as recently as fifty years ago, size 12 was considered the
"perfect" size!)

One of the most intelligent articles I ever read on this subject was by
Marge Piercy, known as a "women's novelist".  (You know what that
means?  It means she's a woman who writes novels, and often many of her
characters are women, so only women are supposed to be interested.  But
I digress.) She said that she'd been at a dinner party one evening, when
the hostess announced between courses that one of the guests had
recently lost 45 pounds, and everyone one applauded.  Now, *I* applaud
folks who lose weight, because I know from personal experience the
degree of determination and life change it can take.  But Piercy's next
point struck me:  She, herself, she said, had just finished  a novel
that had taken her seven years of research and writing -- but no one
applauded that.  And there was a doctor at the party who had recently
built a house with his own hands -- no one applauded that, either.
Weight loss, it seemed, was the most important accomplishment the
hostess could imagine.

Piercy went on to say that as a society we've come to regard weight gain
as the ultimate sin -- that we reserve the same scorn and indignation we
used to heap on women who committed adultery and abandoned their
children for women who have "let themselves go."  It seemed out of
proportion to her, and it seems out of proportion to me.

Now, I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't try to lose weight.  Obesity
and the other health problems that come with hyperinsulinemia/carb
intolerance are very nasty; they not only can shorten your life, they
can seriously erode your *quality* of life.  It ain't just about what
clothes you can wear, although I just love clothes!  It's about having
energy, and not having mood swings, it's about moving easily and
lightly, and not having aches and pains in your knees and your back.
It's about feeling like you're in control of your appetite and your
life, instead of your addictions controlling you.  It's about taking a
walk without huffing and puffing for breath.  It's about being able to
dance again.  It's about living longer and having more fun while you're
here.  And it's very powerful, life-changing stuff.

What it is *not*, however, is an indicator of how good or bad a person
you are.  Back when I was first low carb, I was on a low carb diet
support email list, and I saw the degree to which people's -- and, I
think, especially women's -- sense of self worth, of *worthiness*, would
rise and fall with their degree of compliance to the diet they had
chosen.  It made me sad.  It wasn't like they'd done something awful,
like abused a child or abandoned a pet or knocked over a liquor store.
It was just food, for gosh sakes, and the only ones they were hurting
were themselves.  That may be something to avoid, but it's surely not
something to *hate* yourself about.

One day one woman posted that she'd been "bad" that day.  I told her
that unless what she'd eaten was the neighbor's child, she might have
been unwise, but she hadn't been "bad".  She replied -- with a "smiley"
-- that if that kid had just taken on a load of chocolates, all bets
were off!  But my point had been made.

Look, I want you to do well on your low carb diet.  I wouldn't be
sitting inside writing this when it's 58 and sunny out if I didn't care
-- there are easier ways to make a living.  But I truly believe that the
more you think of it as a matter of your goodness or badness, instead of
simply as a problem to be solved, the *less* likely you are to succeed.
After all, no one can stand feeling awful and conflicted forever.  If
trying to deal with your body chemistry makes you feel bad about your
self, you're bound to give it up sooner or later.  It's just too

So.  "Wise" and "unwise", "healthy" and "unhealthy", "useful" or
"detrimental" "a step forward" or "a step back".  But not good and bad.

Let's save morality for the stuff that really counts, shall we?


Tried to read Atkins?  Protein Power?  Bogged down in dense medical
jargon?  Don't know the difference between them and the Carbohydrate
Addict's Diet, or how to choose which is right for you?  Read _How I
Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds_, the low carb book that
gives you all the options -- and makes them fun to read!


Frequently Asked Question

I'm convince I'm carbohydrate intolerant/addicted, but I'm having a hard
time with the idea of giving up sweets.  What can I do?

A few things.  First, I think it helps to realize that this really is as
much a physiological problem as an emotional one -- if you can just find
the strategies to get you through withdrawal -- yes, you may go through
withdrawal -- and get past the physical cravings, it will get easier.

Here's some strategies:

*Keep your blood sugar stable!  When your blood sugar drops, you will
*crave* sugar or other fast acting carbs that will just keep you on the
roller coaster. Eat a *minimum* of 14 grams of protein for breakfast
*every* day, and *no* high impact carbs -- no toast, no muffins, no
bagels, nuthin'.  If you like, you might have a serving of low sugar
fruit -- a few strawberries, some raspberries, a wedge of cantaloupe or
honeydew, perhaps even a half a grapefruit.  *Not* juice!!  Breakfast is
*essential* to your strategy, since it is a major determining factor in
your blood sugar level for the rest of the day.  Since you'll likely
find your appetite *far* less than you're used to, you might eat a bit
*before* you get hungry for the first few weeks, as your body adjusts to
your new way of eating.  Otherwise you may find your blood sugar has
dropped and you're craving again.  Have a handful of nuts, a piece of
cheese -- something quick, easy, and portable -- with you at work.
Pretty soon your body will adjust, and become more efficient at creating
what little glucose you really *need* from protein and, to a much lesser
degree, from fats, and you won't have to worry about it.

* Keep sugar free desserts on hand.  If you don't yet have my recipes
for Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse to DIE For and Strawberry Cups, go *now*
to the website and get them! ( http://www.holdthetoast.com , hit the
button marked "Recipes")  I've also recently reviewed Sugar Free Fudge
Pops, these are quite good, although they do have 9 g of carb per pop --
still better than eating sugar!  If you love berries, have berries and
whipped cream.  (Whip 1 cup heavy cream with 1 tablespoon instant sugar
free vanilla pudding powder.  Out of this world.) Sugar free gelatin is
*very* low carb if you like it (or even if you don't ;-D) -- you can
even buy it pre-made, in single serving cups.  You can make sugar free
instant pudding with cream in place of the milk -- if you like a
somewhat lighter texture, you can use half cream, half water.  If you
like to cook, buy some of the low carb cookbooks on the market -- I like
Fran McCullough's the best -- and try dessert recipes. Again, go to my
website -- http://www.holdthetoast.com -- and click on the "Library"
button, and you'll find links to a bunch of low carb cookbooks at

Some day you may well reach the point where you don't care enough about
desserts to bother with the sugar free ones often -- but that day isn't
today.  Find ones you like and keep them on hand.  However, realize that
some people stall their weight loss if they eat a lot of aspartame
sweetened stuff, so I can't recommend 3-4servings a day or anything like
that.  If you're eating a lot of sugar free stuff, and you're
plateauing, this might be your problem.

* If there's usually some kind of sugary garbage around at work --
donuts, cookies, candy -- take a sugar free dessert with you, for
heaven's sake!  A good offense is the best defense.  Do this when you
visit your folks, too, if they usually have a lot of sugary stuff

*If you're in charge of the food supply around your house, consider a
moratorium on sugary garbage altogether.  It's no better for the kids
than it is for you.  If they desperately want the stuff, let *them* buy
it with *their* money.  I've been told it's amazing how kids' priorities
can change when it's *their* money being spent instead of their folks!

*Learn to say *NO*.  People who urge you to eat stuff you're trying not
to eat are *not* being "nice", they're being jerks, and they deserve to
be treated sternly.  "Aw, c'mon, just one bite!" is sabotage, plain and
simple.  If you were violently allergic, you wouldn't put up with this
sort of thing.  More people die from the long term effects of carb
intolerance/addiction than from anything else, so your problem is at
least as dangerous as an allergy.  Be serious about it.  One good tip:
I've learned that often it's easier to say, "I can't eat sugar" than to
say, "I don't eat sugar" or "I'm not eating sugar these days."  "I
can't" makes it sound like doctor's orders -- which it would/will be if
your doctor has any nutritional savvy!

* Consider having a protein shake in place of a meal or a snack at least
once a day.  I know a lot of people for whom this satisfies the sweet
craving handily.  Protein shakes make a great fast breakfast or lunch.
ProFormix brand tastes very, very good.  Haven't tried the Atkins Shake
mix yet, but I'll review it soon.

*  Or, consider a sugar free protein bar -- I talk about these below, in
the Product Review section.  Personally, I think the shakes taste
better, but the bars sure are easier to carry with you.

* Take not only vitamins, but minerals.  If  you're taking a one tablet
a day vitamin supplement, the chances are *very* good that you're not
getting enough minerals.  Why?  Because one tablet a day formulas have
to skip *something* to keep it down to one tablet, that's why!  Mineral
deficiencies can cause all sorts of odd cravings.  Make you cranky,
too.  Magnesium, in particular, seems to help with cravings for sweets.
Don't, however, think that this means that if 500 mgs. a day of
magnesium is a good idea, 1000 mgs. a day is a better idea.  It's not.
You can unbalance your minerals fairly easily.  Better to buy a good
chelated multiple mineral supplement that calls for 2-6 tablets a day.
(Why 2-6?  Depends on how big a pill you can swallow, of course!)  Make
sure that you're getting 1000 mgs. a day of calcium and 500 mgs. a day
of magnesium.  Look, too, for a supplement that includes chromium and
vanadium; these are helpful for blood sugar regulation.  If your
supplement has these, no doubt it will have enough of the other
minerals, stuff like zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, etc.  What does
"chelated" mean?  It means the minerals have been bound to a protein, to
improve absorption.

You could, by the way, buy vitamin/mineral supplement that requires more
than one tablet a day, instead.  Twin Labs makes some good ones -- Mega
6 is a good formula, so is Dual Tabs, although this one is a *huge*
tablet.  You're unlikely to find anything satisfactory at the drug
store, grocery, or places like KMart or Target.  Sorry.  You'll have to
find a health food store, order online (Puritan's Pride has some good
stuff ( http://www.puritanspride.com ) so does Vitamin
Shoppe                             ( http://www.vitaminshoppe.com )), or
possibly find a friend who represents one of the many network marketing
companies putting out excellent supplements -- Life Plus and FreeLife
are two I've ordered from.  (I actually feel that many of the best
formulas are coming out of the network marketing industry.  Sadly,
however, they tend to be *very* expensive.)

* Learn to treat yourself to non-sweet foods.  Surely there's something
you love to eat that *isn't* a sweet, right?  Lobster tail?  Macadamia
nuts?  Imported brie?  What ever low carb food you adore, that you
haven't been buying because it's expensive -- *that's* your treat.

* Learn to treat yourself to stuff that isn't food!  New lipstick, new
software, a great video, tickets to a show, a hot bath and a good book,
a phone call to an old friend you haven't talked to in way too long,
fresh flowers, new clothes, a personal day -- start thinking of rewards
that aren't food related.

* If all this fails, and you're *still* just *obsessed* with sugar
cravings, you could consider trying a mini-binge program, as outlined in
my book or in The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet.  This will allow you some
sugar, under controlled circumstances.  Keep in mind that this diet
didn't work for me!  I do, however, know many people who have done well
on it.


Product Review

I really have been doing this no sugar thing for a *long* time, because
I've tried two versions of sugar free protein bars, and they both taste
*way* too sweet for me.  However, I'm aware that these things are
selling like hot cakes -- and better for you than hot cakes, too!  So
here's what I know:

The two bars I've tried are the Atkins Advantage Bar and the Ultimate
Low Carb Bar.  They both come in various flavors -- both have a
chocolate brownie flavor, both have a peanut butter flavor.  ULCB has a
cappucino flavor and a honey almond, Atkins has a chocolate macadamia
flavor, and has recently added Chocolate Raspberry, Chocolate Peanut
Butter, and Praline Crunch.  They both have a substantial whack of
protein in them -- between 18 and 25 grams per bar -- and their carb
counts are in the 2-3 gram range.  They both are fortified with vitamins
and minerals.

Maybe the biggest difference between the two is that the Atkins bars are
sweetened with Splenda (sucralose), while the ULCB is sweetened with
stevia.  Personally, I think the Atkins bars I've tried have the edge on
flavor -- they're slightly less sweet than the ULCB; stevia is *very*
sweet, and has a flavor I can only describe as "edgy".  It is nice,
however, that there is a bar out there that has only the stevia in it; I
know a lot of folks who don't want any artificial sweeteners at all, not
even Splenda, and of course stevia is an herbal extract.

These two bars have similar textures -- sort of like a stiffer, less
gooey Tootsie Roll.  The different flavors make the textures slightly
different, but not enough to really worry about.  They both depend on
glycerin -- yep, the same stuff that's in many hand lotions-- for
moistness.  (I still find them a little dry)  Don't panic, glycerin is
food derived, so it's not a really bizarre thing to put in food.
However, while it won't jack your blood sugar around, it will replenish
your glycogen stores, so if you're a ketogenic dieter -- on Atkins or
Protein Power, or the Basic Low Carb Diet from my book -- and you eat a
bunch of these, you may see some water weight gain as you replenish your
depleted glycogen stores.  Doubt it will happen if you eat them only now
and then, however.

Would you ever mistake these for a regular candy bar?  Not likely.  Can
they stave off a sweet craving?  Very likely.  Do they make a useful
meal replacement when you're on the go?  No doubt.  I've been known to
grab an Atkins bar at my health food store in the middle of an
errand-frantic day.  They kill hunger for hours.  They're a good bet for
carrying in a purse or attaché case for emergency food.

Favorites?  I like to get an Atkins Almond Brownie and a Peanut Butter
(I *hated* the chocolate macadamia!  ICK!), and eat a bite of one, then
the other.  I usually don't eat a whole bar at a time, except when, as I
mentioned above, I grab one as a fast lunch.  I'll have three or four
bites, and that's enough.  The rest goes in the fridge till next time.

I've heard some folks make the Atkins cookbook ice cream recipe, and
serve it over the almond brownie bar.  I certainly wouldn't argue about
a little thing like that. ;-)

Major drawback?  Expense.  These things run about $2.69 a shot, slightly
less if you get them on sale, or buy them by the case.  I'd try the
different flavors before I invested in a case!  Available all over the
place, even here in southern Indiana, or through many, many websites.
Just do a search!

All in all, a helpful addition to the low carb arsenal for any of you
who are terribly busy, or miss sweets badly.  I still think I can come
up with a sugar free peanut butter ball that would be better, and
cheaper.  I'll let you know the recipe when I do!


Reader Mail!

>From Mary Jenkins comes this email:

Dear Dana

I loved the 'me hacen muy gordo' reference!  I am full blooded
American and have lived in Charlotte, NC all my 34 years of life.  I
have started working with a latin american group in the past year.  I
started with your 'low carb style' the 1st week in October, 1999.  Since

then, I have lost 35 lbs. and 8 SIZES!  All of the latinos have asked me

what I am doing (especially the women!) and it is difficult to explain
why I chose to do this (I guess the visual results aren't enough for
them).  With the language barrier (un poco espanol ahora mismo), it is
hard for them to understand the whole carbohydrate thing (and how do you

translate that?).  So, I will now be able to use the 'me hacen muy
gordo' line and that explains it all.

I know you are VERY busy with all your email catch up but I wanted you
to know that since October, 1999, I have been asked at least 4 times a
day what I have done to lose this weight!  I always tell them to check
out holdthetoast.com.  The neat part is that these questions are coming
from literally ALL over the world via phone, fax and email.  I not only
have latinos in my office, our directors are from England and Canada and

the region that we support is all of Latin America & the Caribbean.

So, be happy to now that I am doing my part to spread the word AROUND
the world!  They even want me to put up pixs on our company Intranet so
the ladies in the South America offices can see the difference!

All I can say is 'muchas gracias senora' for pointing me in the right
direction!  You are definitely using the gifts God gave you.


Thanks so much, Mary!!  Boy, I love this stuff.  Happy Dance!!


Dana W. Carpender

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