Lowcarbezine! 8 March 2000

Return to Archive Contents

Hey, Gang!

Here's this week's issue.  Hope you like it!  *Somebody* must like it,
because we're well past 1800 subscribers, and I expect we'll hit 2000
by, oh, St. Patrick's Day or so.  Hey, guys, you're a community!

So a big thank you to all of you -- everyone of you who reads this ezine
every week, all of you who send in email and recipes and referrals and
such, and all of you who forward Lowcarbezine! to your friends!  It's
because of you that I have the privilege of writing for such a large,
and such a great, audience of readers.  It's a big responsibility, and a
big job -- but it's also a lot of fun, and deeply satisfying.



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!

We are now accepting paid advertising.  Please mailto:
advertising@holdthetoast.com for rates and terms.  Hold the Toast Press
reserves the right to reject any ad, for any reason.


Thought For the Week

Wow!  It's spring!  It's really, really spring!  At least it is here in
the American midwest.  (Yes, I know for my readers in the southern
hemisphere that it's autumn.  But autumn's nice too...)  My daffodils
are blooming this morning!

I feel moved to look up the very word "spring" in my huge,
comprehensive, unabridged dictionary.  (Random House, 2nd Edition.
Wonderful book.)  There is a lot there, but here's some of what it says:

1. to rise, leap, move, or act suddenly and swiftly...
2. to be released from a constrained position, as by resilient or
elastic force...
3. to issue forth suddenly
4. to come into being, rise, or arise in a short time
(skipping a bit)
24. to leap...
25. to secure the release of someone from confinement...

All of which goes a long way towards explaining the use of the same word
38. the season between winter and summer...

After all, what happens this time of year?  The new lives that have been
constrained inside bulb and bud are released, seemingly instantly!
Infant creatures of every sort issue forth suddenly from the womb, and
rise and leap about!  And it all arises in such a short time.  Seemingly
overnight, the world is transformed.

And every year, I'm transformed too.  I'm released from the confinement
of my home, and of all those heavy clothes.  I feel the urge to move --
perhaps even to rise, and move suddenly and swiftly.  In particular, to
move suddenly and swiftly out the door into the sunshine!

Yes, this is the perfect time of year for the formerly sofa-spud-esque
to start -- you guessed it -- exercising!  How can you *not* feel
energized by the sun?  How can you *not* want to get outside?

I'm not talking about going to aerobics class, or lifting weights, or
anything federal like that.  I'm talking about getting outside and
*moving*.  Taking a walk.  Going for a spin on a bike.  Raking up
winter's debris from the yard.  Going to the park and playing on the
swings!  This is the sort of exercise that all able-bodied people can
do, and can embrace.

It's also the sort of exercise that requires the least equipment -- got
a pair of comfortable shoes? -- doesn't call for training, and is least
likely to net you a sports injury.  But it counts!  It really counts.
I've read over and over that just a 15 minute walk a day will make a
*huge* difference in your cardiovascular health, and your sense of
physical and mental well-being.  Will it make you lose weight faster?
Dunno.  My guess is that for some people it will and some it won't --
and that the greatest gains (or losses!) will be realized by those who
have previously been the most sedentary.

Further, as an amplification of my ongoing health heresy ( ;-D ), I'm
convinced that sunshine is *good* for me.  Oh, not lying on the lawn and
letting myself turn bright red, just getting out and doing something
while the sun shines.  It makes me exuberant!  It makes me courageous!
It makes me feel like anything's possible!  And you know what?  It's a
whole lot easier to change your way of eating -- and your life -- when
you feel that way!

So get out of the house.  Yes, you!  You with the internet account!
Turn off the computer for a while, and go check out the Big Room -- you
know, the one with the blue ceiling and the overhead lighting?  Don't
worry about serious exercise, just move around!  Go for a walk.  Smell
the flowers.  Pat a dog or two.  Just get that stale winter blood
pumping through your veins, getting charged up with fresh spring air!

Stuck at a desk?  Take your lunch and head outdoors.  And when you're
done, walk around the building at the very least.  Or around the block.
Or, if all else fails, around the parking lot.  (I've done this.  I
admit it's not the most appealing option, but you're still getting sun
and fresh air.)

When you have a day off, actually *take* a day off for a change, or at
least half a day.  Forget the dry cleaning and the stuff you need at the
hardware store.  It will be there tomorrow.  Take the kids to the park,
and this time actually *play with them* on the play ground equipment!
Swing.  Climb.  Play a game of hopscotch.  Stroll around the duck pond.
Throw a Frisbee.  Pull the toddler in a little red wagon.

And, while you're at it, *BREATHE*.  As I mentioned in my column about
plateaus, fat will only burn in the presence of oxygen.  Really exhale
*all the way* -- purse your lips and blow till you can't blow no mo'.
Then suck in all the air you possibly can hold!  Repeat -- repeatedly!
I can't begin to tell you all the ways that regular deep breathing
exercises have improved my body and my sense of well being.  (Well, I
could begin to tell you, but that's another column for another day.)  I
promise you that oxygen is one of the best "rushes" you'll ever have.
Certainly the cheapest and the safest.

This is exercise at its finest -- movement not for some agenda or goal,
but simply for the sheer joy of movement. I'll quote from _The Arts And
Secrets Of Beauty_ by Madame Lola Montez (subtitled "The personal beauty
secrets and legendary cosmetic recipes of the celebrated
nineteenth-century courtesan, mistress of King Ludwig and squanderer of
millions."  Sounds like fun, no?)  In the chapter titled "How to Obtain
a Handsome Form", Madame Lola recommends, "Plenty of exercise, in the
open air, is the great recipe.  Exercise, not philosophically and with
religious gravity undertaken, but the wild romping activities of a
spirited girl who runs up and down as though her veins were full of
wine."  No drudgery, no going for the burn, no worrying about perfect
form, just *playing.*  It will improve your body, your heart, your mind
and your life.  It will also -- and this I truly believe -- strengthen
your resolve to eat intelligently, for a body that is a source of fun
and joy is a body that you will want to care for.

You've been cooped up all winter. Now go out and play!


Frequently Asked Question

Aren't artificial sweeteners more dangerous than sugar?  After all,
sugar is natural!

Ah, yes.  The "it's natural" argument for sugar.  I hear this a lot.
Here's the short form answer:  So are cocaine and heroin.

Outrageous comparison?  I don't see why.  All three are crystalline
powders of naturally occurring plant compounds that have been extracted,
refined, and concentrated.  And in all three cases, it seems to be that
extracting, refining, and concentrating that make them really
dangerous.  After all, the Bolivian natives have chewed coca leaves for
centuries without much of evidence of the sort of wholesale physical and
mental destruction that comes with the use of crystalline or crack
cocaine.  You can get enough opiates from eating a poppy seed roll to
test positive for heroin on a drug test, but it's the white flour in the
roll, not the poppy seeds, that will make you nod off after lunch.

Likewise, if all the sugar we ever got were in the form it is found in
nature, we'd probably be okay.  How is sugar found in nature?  In modest
quantities in fruits and vegetables, where it's combined with lots of
fiber, which A) fills you up, so that it's difficult to overeat and B)
slows the absorption of the sugar into your blood stream, thus damping
blood sugar spikes and big insulin releases. ( Keep in mind, too, that
the fruits and vegetables we know today have been bred for higher and
higher levels of sugar, in the interests of flavor, so that even these
have a somewhat "unnatural" level of sugar.)

Once you separate the sugar from the fiber, you start to run into
trouble -- for instance, a glass of apple juice has more sugar in it
than a comparable amount of Coca Cola.  And once you get to the white
crystalline powder state (or, for that matter, the corn syrup state),
we're talking a substance of tremendous power.

Natural?  You'd have to eat *three and a half pounds* of apples to get
the sugar in one Hershey bar.  Are you likely to do so?  Of course not.
That's about 10 apples!  There just isn't any way in nature to get the
concentration of sugar that the average American eats.

Well, okay, there's honey.  But finding a honey tree and successfully
getting past the bees was not exactly an everyday occurrence for your
average hunter-gatherer.  Further, putting on weight was a *good* thing
for them, since food supplies were cyclical, and most folks went hungry
for a while every year.  I'd be willing to bet that there's no one
reading this who goes hungry for several weeks out of the year
involuntarily.  (There's an easy bet.  If you can afford a computer and
online service, you can afford food.)

Perhaps more importantly, since they didn't abuse their carbohydrate
metabolisms every day from earliest childhood with fantastic quantities
of sugar, their occasional indulgence in a windfall of honey was likely
far better tolerated than our sugar Indulgences.  American children now
get fully *half* their calories from sugar, which is downright
suicidal.  Perhaps people who haven't grown up on soda pop and Kool Aide
and Sugar Crisp and Oreos and such can eat an infrequent dose of sugar
sweetened stuff with no problem.  But I don't know any way for you and
me to get there from here.

Does all of this mean that I think that artificial sweeteners are good
for us?  No, not really.  I'm wary of large amounts of aspartame,
although I do use it occasionally, in modest amounts, and I'm aware that
aspartame sweetened beverages and such seem to stall weight loss for a
hefty percentage -- about half -- of low carb dieters.  (As mentioned in
the last issue, there's a controversy as to whether the problem is the
aspartame or citric acid, another common ingredient often found along
with it.)  I've tried acesulfame K and a few products sweetened with it,
and find it okay.  I've read some objections to it, but most of them
seem to amount to "It's artificial, so it must be evil."  I've seen one
claim that Ace-K (commonly called Sunnette) is carcinogenic, but then,
we know for *sure* that cancers feed on sugar, so even if that's true,
it's surely not a reason for using sugar instead.  Saccharine -- mostly
sold in the form of Sweet 'n Low -- isn't very useful for anything more
than sweetening coffee or tea, since it's so bitter when used in

Splenda, made from the sweetener sucralose, is new on the market here in
the US, tastes wonderful, and so far seems to be pretty safe.  It does
contain some carbs in its Splenda form ( 0.5 g per teaspoon, which is
1/8th the carbs of sugar ), but for me has become the sweetener of
choice.  So far, I haven't found anything it doesn't work in, but no
doubt I will.  Certainly it won't give the same texture as sugar --
sticky, gooey, moist, all that stuff.

I do think that over all, the ideal is to wean ourselves away from
needing sweet stuff all the time.  I have reached this goal; I made a
sugarfree dessert this weekend for the first time in over a month.
However, reaching this degree of indifference to sweets took me quite a
while; I ate sugar free chocolate mousse every day when I started low
carbing!  I feel that what happened to me was that as my physical
craving for sugar subsided, I slowly got to the point where the taste of
sweet stuff just didn't draw me like it used to.  I've known the same
thing to happen to low carbing friends.  I do use small amounts of
artificial sweetener -- generally Splenda -- in a number of general
cooking applications, like adding a touch of sweetness to a cole slaw
dressing, or making sugar-free ketchup.  The amounts I get this way are
small indeed.

There's stevia, of course.  For those of you who haven't encountered it,
stevia is a completely natural, carb and calorie free sweetener from the
South American shrub Stevia Rebaudiana.  It's *seriously* sweet! (How
seriously sweet?  The amount of stevia extract that would fit on the
head of a pin would be *plenty* to sweeten a cup of coffee or tea --
perhaps even too much.)  It's also better in some things than in
others.  I know some folks, for instance, who find stevia to be just
fine in coffee or tea.  I've been known to use it in protein shakes, and
that's good, too.  On the other hand, when I tried to use it to make a
sugar free chocolate cheesecake, the results were nothing short of
vile.  Stevia, used in any large quantity, has the same sort of edgy
bitterness that saccharine does.  It's useful, but it's not a viable
substitute for sugar in all applications, by any means.

 I do think that moderate use of artificial sweeteners, while perhaps
not nutritionally ideal, is a whole lot safer than eating the truly
*unnatural* amounts of sugar we've grown accustomed to.  I would suggest
that you start to cut back on your consumption of very sweet things in
general, so as to encourage yourself to lose the taste.  In particular,
it's very easy to take in a *vast* amount of artificial sweetener and
other interesting chemicals by drinking pop or Crystal Light every time
you're thirsty.  Water (plain or sparkling), tea, coffee, herbal teas
all are worth trying.  If you're genuinely *thirsty*, there's nothing
like water.  Indeed, even though I drink my tea unsweetened, I'm trying
to get in the habit of drinking a big glass (I have glasses that hold a
whole liter!) of water when I'm thirsty, and *then* deciding if I want
tea as well.  Try to learn to quench thirst with water, saving other
beverages for when you really want the flavor or the caffeine or

Too, pay attention to your changing sensitivity to sweetness.  I know
that many things taste sweet to me now that didn't used to, simply
because I'm not overloading my taste buds with sugar.  One of the
pleasant results of this is that fruit really is a very yummy,
sweet-tasting dessert treat to me now, which is something new for me.  A
half a grapefruit tastes like *heaven*!  Strawberries are *incredible*!
As fruit comes into season, I'll be working on dessert recipes using the
lowest sugar fruits, and I think that  you die hard candy freaks will be
surprised how good you find them after keeping away from sugar for a

But if it's a choice between eating an artificially sweetened dessert,
and eating one that's loaded with sugar -- if the artificial sweeteners
are the thing that is allowing you to walk away from the sugar -- I say
eat the artificial sweeteners, even if they are "unnatural".

Be wary of the word "natural".  Rattlesnake venom is natural.  Death
angel mushrooms are natural.  Three out of every five babies dying
before their fifth birthday is natural.  Natural ain't all it's cracked
up to be.


Okay, here's where I usually plug my own book, _How I Gave Up My Low Fat
Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_.  However, this week, I'm going to let
someone else do it for me!  Here's a charming email I got from a reader
just recently, titled, "Thanks For Your Book!"

  I just want to say thank you for such a great book!  I am
looooovvvvving it.!!!  You make the
whole process so easy to understand.  I read Atkins book so many times
and no matter how
hard I tried I couldn't fully understand the sugar/insulin thing. Man...
i understood it right
away they way you put it.  GREAT BOOK!!
I can't wait to finish it and am looking forward to anything else you
write.  Keep up the good


Thank *you*, dizzi!  Makes me happy!  If you'd like to see what other
folks have to say about _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty
Pounds!_, you can check out my reviews at Amazon.com:
Of course, you can order the book there, as well.  And if you've already
read it, you can add your own review!
If you'd like to read the first chapter of _How I Gave Up My Low Fat
Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_  for FREE (or just see my smiling face, to
make sure I'm a real, live person), you can do that at
http://www.holdthetoast.com .


Product Review

Hey, I ate pasta today!  Reduced carb, high protein pasta, that is.
Fettucine, to be exact.

It's Pavico Pasta, from Pavico Foods, Inc. in Deerfield Beach, FL.  They
sent me both fettucine and linguine to try.  Just one of the perks of
the publishing business, I guess! ;-)

Now, this stuff isn't dirt-low in carbs.  Reading the back of the
package, we find that a serving of Pavico Pasta has 26 grams of
carbohydrate, of which 2 grams are fiber and can be ignored.  I'm not
going to eat 24 grams of usable carb in a meal!  But on the other hand,
what's a "serving"?  The package says that there's 4 servings in the
package, and looking at it, I can tell you that those would be fairly
good sized servings -- the size you would eat for a main dish.  The
pasta comes in little "nests" -- sort of balls of strands of pasta, and
there are 10 in a package.  That means that one of these little nests of
pasta is less than a half a serving, or perhaps 8-10 grams of usable
carb.  Now *that's* a manageable number of carbs!  And that's what I
cooked and ate.  (For comparison, the same amount of regular pasta would
have about double the carbs.)

I measured my fettucine after it was cooked; my one "nest" came to just
about a half a cup, cooked.  That's a nice amount for a side-dish item,
which is how I ate it.  I wanted to really get the flavor of the pasta,
since I was planning to review it, so I simply put a little butter and
grated cheese, and a smidge of fresh garlic on it, instead of covering
it with sauce.  How did it taste?  Great.  Just fine.  You'd never know
from the flavor that this was anything other than high-quality, regular
pasta.  Texture was fine, too.  (I did cook it a bit longer than the
package said -- they say 3-5 minutes, but I cooked mine for more like
7.  It was still a little al dente, which is good.)

Along with 8-10 grams of usable carb, my half-cup of Pavico fettucine
also had about 4 grams of protein, which ain't bad.  Should give this
pasta a nice, low key impact on your blood sugar.  If you're doing the
Careful Carb Diet (one of the programs detailed  in my book), this is
*exactly* the sort of pasta I was talking about when I listed "protein
enriched pasta" as one of the low impact carb selections.

My one and only reservation about the Pavico Pasta is that it does
contain soy, and if you've been reading my newsletter for the past few
weeks, you'll know that some not-so-great news about soy has been coming
up.  But you'll also know that I'm not planning to drop soy from my diet
altogether, just cut back on it.  It's up to you to decide where you
stand on the issue.

If you've really missed pasta terribly, this may well be a good product
for you.  You can't sit down to a huge plate of the stuff, but you could
have a nice side serving of it now and then, along with, say, a chicken
breast sauteed in olive oil and garlic and a salad.

You can check out Pavico Pasta -- and order it -- at their website at
http://www.pavico.com .


The Editor Brags!!

My mom always told me "Nice girls don't brag", but I just gotta.
(Anyway, who said I was a "nice girl"? ;-) )  Check me out at Amazon.com
-- I'm ranked 4,407 as of this moment!  Now, nobody goes around
chanting, "We're number 4,407!  We're number 4,407!"  But Amazon carries
literally *millions* of titles!  To crack the top 5000 is a *big deal*.
At least it is to me.  I had to tell *someone*.

Thank you for your patience!


That's it!  See you next week!

Dana W. Carpender

Return to Archive Contents