Lowcarbezine! 5 April 2000

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Hey, Gang!

A big thanks to all of you who recommended baking parchment to solve my
sticking problems with the low carb crackers!  You'll find the results

Now if I could only get the Black Bottom Mocha Cheesecake right.  I've
tried three times now, and while the flavor is good, I just can't seem
to get a handle on the texture thing.  Tried a no-bake version this last
time, but I used too little gelatin -- can you say "Black Bottom Mocha
Cheese Soup"? ;-)  Tasty, but not ready for primetime.

Still, it keeps me off the streets... ;-D

(By the way, someone told me recently that they thought this little
intro was the whole newsletter, and didn't read any further!!  There's
*lots*more!  Just go past the boring but essential information below.)


All contents copyright 2000 by Hold the Toast Press.  All commercial
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Thought For The Week

Are you living on When I've Lost The Weight Isle?

Are you waiting excitedly to lose your first 20 pounds (or 30 pounds, or
50 pounds, or 100 pounds), at which point you'll buy a new wardrobe/go
back to school/leave your emotionally abusive spouse/find true love/take
dancing lessons/go to Europe (if you're not  European -- if you are, go
to America, or Australia, or Asia or wherever you've always dreamed of
going)/get that great new job/join that club/take up public speaking?

Stop it.  This is your *real life*, right now.  Don't wait to live it!!
Yes, I want you to lose the weight you want to lose, of course I do, and
to be healthy and energetic.  But folks with weight problems who are
also procrastinators, or shy or unsure of themselves, or afraid of new
challenges, have a tendency to make the weight their excuse for not
doing anything right *now* to change a life  which is unsatisfying.
Their excess bulk makes a convenient target for their dissatisfaction
with their life.

This is unwise on a number of levels!

First of all, who among us knows how long we've got?   Wouldn't you hate
to die without having done what you really wanted to do, just because
you were heavier than you wanted to be?  I got a serious lesson in this
last summer, when my husband came within inches of dying from bee sting
anaphylaxis.  He'd never had a bad reaction before, but with terrifying
suddenness he was so close to death I swear we could hear angels singing
-- if it had taken fifteen more minutes to get medical help,  I'd be a
widow right now.  Once you've gone out for a walk in your quiet country
neighborhood on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon and wound up staring
death in the face 20 minutes later, seen your husband drop to the floor
like a ton of bricks in the PromptCare lobby, you *know* that you need
to make the most of every day, *right now*.

Here's another danger to living on "When I've Lost The Weight Isle" --
it lies in the very assumption that there's something magical about
being a certain, smaller weight or size that will make you happy,
confident, popular, brave, and strong.  It won't.  Oh, don't get me
wrong, it feels good to lose weight, but never forget the great truth
from Buckaroo Banzai -- Wherever you go, there you are. If you're a
procrastinator when you're heavy, you'll still be a procrastinator when
you've lost weight.  If you're afraid of people when you're heavy,
you'll still be shy when you're thin.  If you have trouble standing up
for yourself when you're heavy, you'll still have trouble asserting
yourself when you're thin.  What happens, you see, is that you keep
moving the target.  At first, you think everything will change when
you've lost twenty pounds.  Then it's thirty.  Then forty.

And what if you *never* get fashionably anorexic looking?  Many of you
reading this won't, no matter how conscientiously you diet and exercise;
I certainly am not.  Are you then going to resign yourself to *never*
taking that safari to Africa, *never* learning how to water ski, *never*
running that singles ad?

I don't want to suggest, here, that there aren't real problems involved
in being obese; there are.  If you're 200 pounds overweight, you may not
be able to learn how to water ski just yet!  On the other hand, if
you're fifty pounds overweight, you sure can, if you'll just get over
your fear of bathing suits.

But no matter what your weight, you can meet people, you can entertain,
you can learn,  you can travel, you can change career paths, you can
grow.  And yes, you can find good, close friends who will treasure you
for yourself.  And you can, yes you really *can*, find true love.  I
guarantee you that there are *many* people reading these words right now
who have close and enduring friendships, and absolutely *brilliant*
marriages, their excess weight not withstanding.

Yes, there are people who will judge you by your waistline.  Pardon my
language, but screw 'em.  Who wants to be friends with those shallow
people anyway?  Let me teach you a life lesson my brother taught me,
that made a *tremendous* difference in my self-confidence -- remember, I
was fat, badly sugar addicted, socially inept,  too smart, too
talkative, desperate for attention, boy-crazy, geeky, and very
definitely unpopular all through my childhood, and despite quite a lot
of competent "shrinkage", the scars persisted well into my twenties.  I
got a much needed change in perspective when my brother John said to me
one day, "The difference between you and me, socially, is that when you
walk into a room full of strangers, you're wondering, "What do these
people think of me?"  And when I walk into a room full of strangers, I'm
wondering, "What do I think of these people?"

Wow.  Powerful notion, there.  Adopt it right now:  What do you think of
these people?  You've got a right to *your* opinion of *them*, you
know.  And if they're unkind or rude to you, hey, consider the source,
and find yourself a better class of friends, or a better class of
employer, or a better class of lover, or even a better class of spouse.
To a very real degree you get what you hold out for in this life.  Take
it from a girl who finally married Mr. Right -- at age 36.  It just took
that long to find a guy worth marrying, that's all.  (By the way, my
husband -- good looking, smart, adorable, accomplished, and, I might
add, 6 1/2 years younger -- married me when I was very close to my
heaviest.  Never once tried to make me feel bad about it, either.)

One other real problem with the assumption that your "real life" will
begin when you've lost the weight -- you're setting yourself up to gain
it all back.  After all, if losing weight is supposed to be the thing
that will make everything in your life okay, what do you do if you're
finally a size 12 (or 14, or 10, or whatever you're shooting for) and
you find you're still you?  Ten to one you decide it wasn't worth it,
and gain it back.

A low carbohydrate diet is a wonderful thing, especially if you've
struggled all your life with insatiable hunger and cravings, fatigue,
mood swings, ill health, and all the other ugliness that go along with
the obesity that carbohydrate intolerance can cause.  Getting the carb
monkey off your back is a blessing, and it can be truly life-changing;
it was for me, and I hope it is for you.

But I'm still essentially the same person I was when I weighed 190
pounds.  I still am profoundly disorganized.  I still talk too much, and
stick my foot in my mouth from time to time.  I still lie awake every
now and then, for a gritty, miserable night of cataloguing my
inadequacies.  And I'm still afraid of bathing suits, although I'm
pretty happy now about shorts.

But I'm not so afraid of bathing suits that I won't wear one!  Hey, you
show me the beach, I'll put on the suit.  Play me the music, and I'll
dance.  Invite me to the party, and I'm there!

After all, this *is* my real life.  There is no rehearsal.


Frequently Asked Question

What can I take to work for lunch and/or snacks?

It does seem that the most common brown bag lunches in America -- again,
I have to plead provinciality to my international readers -- are either
sandwiches or yogurt, neither of which fit very well into a low carb
diet.  So what can you take to work?

My sister has a simple but great daily low carb lunch:  She keeps bagged
salad in the fridge, and every morning she puts some bagged salad in a
snap-top container, along with a healthy helping of diced ham, chopped
hard boiled eggs, canned tuna, or any other protein that strikes her
fancy.  She takes salad dressing and a fork along with her, and adds the
dressing right before eating.  (This keeps the salad from getting
soggy.)  Other protein possibilities for your salad include:

Sliced leftover steak
Grated or crumbled cheese (cheddar, of course, but consider bleu or
Canned or leftover chicken
Canned or frozen, cooked shrimp (just toss 'em in frozen, they'll be
thawed by lunch time.)
Canned crab meat

Another good thing to take for lunch is crudite (the fancy word for cut
up raw vegetables) with a protein rich dip.  Where do you get a protein
rich dip?  You make it, of course.  Put cottage cheese through the
blender or food processor, add a little sour cream for texture, if you
like, then season.  You could add a teaspoon of dried dill weed and a
little minced onion for a dill dip.  If you're a creative cook, no doubt
you'll come up with more on your own.  For those of you who prefer to
have an actual recipe, I'll work on dips in the next couple of weeks!

For that matter, crudite with any low carb dip, high protein or not,
makes a nice side item with your lunch, or a good snack.  Try bleu
cheese, caesar, or ranch dressings as dips.  You can even buy some of
your crudite pre-cut up, if you want -- most grocery stores carry
broccoli and cauliflower pre-cut, and you could pick up cherry tomatoes
and raw mushrooms, too.  On the other hand, cutting up veggies isn't
that tough, especially cucumbers and peppers, which are some of our
favorite dippers around here.  And if you buy your broccoli by the head,
and cut it up yourself, don't throw the stems away!  Peel them with your
vegetable peeler.  Once you get the tough, woody peel off, the stems are
the best part!

Don't forget about celery stuffed with cream cheese or peanut butter --
use the natural peanut butter please, instead of the kind with the sugar
and hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Tuna salad, egg salad, and chicken salad all travel well in a snap top
container, and yes, you can eat these with a fork instead of in a
sandwich!  Or you can eat them, as I do, with fiber crackers.  (I buy
Fiber Rich brand.)  Don't worry about the mayonnaise unless you work
someplace that's *awfully* hot; all the reports in the past few years
have cleared commercial mayonnaise as a major source of food poisoning.
Apparently it actually helps keep other stuff from spoiling, because of
its acidity!  It's not going to go bad on you in a few hours.

If you don't mind eating stuff that's plain and simple -- I sometimes
actually find it kind of refreshing -- hard boiled eggs and/or chunks of
cheese travel well, and are quite filling.  You may want to keep those
little cardboard shakers of salt and pepper with the twist tops that are
sold for picnics in your desk drawer, your purse, or your attaché case.

Of course, you can take a protein shake in a Thermos bottle for a fast,
easy lunch.  Just shake it up, pour, and drink.  You could also take one
of the many protein bars on the market, or make your own from the recipe
in the Cooking Low Carb! section of this issue of Lowcarbezine!  For
that matter, the cheesecake recipes I've published in the past month or
so are high enough in protein to make a good meal; you could tote a
slice in a plastic container.

One of my husband's favorite take along lunches is shrimp.  I buy
precooked, shelled, frozen shrimp in 2 pound bags when they're on sale.
All it takes to fix lunch is to throw a dozen frozen shrimp in an old
peanut butter jar.  For him -- he's skinny! -- I include cocktail sauce,
but you'll want to be careful about that, since most cocktail sauce has
plenty of sugar in it.  Try mustard and mayo, combined, instead -- or
just buy Dijonnaise.  If you have a microwave at work, you could melt a
little butter with garlic or lemon or both to go with your shrimp,
instead.  Shrimp aren't cheap, but actually a dozen shrimp brought from
home costs about the same as a fast food burger or salad.

If you do have access to a microwave and a table other than your desk,
your possibilities open up!  You can take anything you have leftover
from dinner!  Meatza!, soup (soup could go in a Thermos, too),
fajitas-without-the-tortillas, anything that's in the refrigerator.
You'll have to tote a microwaveable plate or bowl, and a fork or spoon,
but that's not so tough, Good Ol' What's-His-Face has been doing it for
years now.  (He also likes to take hot dogs and heat them up in the
microwave; of course he takes a little container of mustard along.  Hot
dogs vary a *lot* in carb content -- read the label!)

If you run out for lunch, you surely know by now that you can get a
burger without the bun virtually *anywhere*.  At McDonald's, you can get
a Garden Salad with that -- I put the burger on top of the salad, and
eat them together.  McD's also has a Grilled Chicken Salad that isn't
brilliant, but it's not bad.  Sadly, at this writing, Burger King has
discontinued their salads, which has lost them my business.  Wendy's
still has some salads, including a Chicken Caesar.  KFC used to be a
great place to go for lunch -- I could get a couple of pieces of Tender
Roast and two sides of green beans, for a terrific low carb meal, but
they've gotten rid of the Tender Roast, and I'm not going to spend my
lunch hour picking the breading off of the fried stuff.  If you have a
Kenny Roger's Roasters or a Boston Chicken near you, though, they're
good lunchtime possibilities.

If the gang is going out for pizza, you can go along!  Just make sure
that one of those 'zas has extra cheese, and the toppings you love
best.  Then peel off the cheese and toppings, scarf them down, and leave
the crust.  If your toppings include peppers, onions, mushrooms, or
other veggies, you've got a complete meal!  If your tastes lean more to
pepperoni, sausage, or anchovies, get a salad on the side.

What about snacks on the job?  This becomes especially relevant in light
of the article below, titled "Dieting In The News!", which suggests that
breaking up food intake into smaller mini-meals will help prevent fat
deposition.    Let's face it, the vending machines in the break room are
likely to be near-hopeless. (Funny vending machine story:  My husband
worked until quite recently at Cummins Engine, in Columbus, Indiana.  In
the vending machines provided at Cummins, certain items were designated
"Balanced Selections".  The qualification for a Balanced Selection was
that the item derived 30% or fewer of its calories from fat, because of
*course* we all know that low fat foods are *always* healthy, right?  So
the Twizzlers were a Balanced Selection.  The Skittles were a Balanced
Selection.  Everything that was low fat because it derived virtually
*all* of its calories from *PURE SUGAR* was a Balanced Selection!  The
Planter's Peanuts, the only item in the vending machines with any
genuine nutritional value whatsoever -- well, those were "high fat", so
they weren't a Balanced Selection.  Ah, logic!)  So you'll want to take
snacks along with you to work.  Here's some ideas for stuff you can keep
in your desk, your locker, or even in a big purse, tote bag, or attaché

*Nuts and/or seeds, in a can, a jar, or a zip-lock bag.  I usually
encourage you to buy sunflower and pumpkin seeds in the shell, because
it slows you down, but shelled nuts and seeds are tidier to eat at your
desk.  Check out a good health food store for the biggest variety -- my
beloved Bloomingfoods has some *wonderful* nut-and-seed mixes.
Virtually every convenience store in the USA has peanuts and sunflower
seeds in little packets, and most of them have pumpkin seeds, too.

*Low carb crackers.  You can make them from my recipes, or you can buy
Fiber Rich or Bran-A-Crisp, or some other fiber cracker.  The fiber
crackers can be kind of dry by themselves, so try this:  Spread them
with butter, peanut butter, cream cheese, Boursin cheese (a wonderful
garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese), liverwurst (I *love* liverwurst), or
some other low carb spread at home, then put pairs of crackers together,
spread side in.  Wrap 'em in a baggie, and you're good to go!

*Individually wrapped cheese -- string cheese is good, so are Laughing
Cow Cheese Bits, and Swiss Knight.  Or, of course, you can cut chunks of
cheese at home and stow them in a baggie.

*Cottage cheese comes in individual servings with peel-off lids; just
take a spoon.

*Jerky and/or beef sticks.  Read the labels; all of these have some
sugar in them, you are, of course, looking for the ones with the least!

*That same peanut butter or cream cheese stuffed celery mentioned
above.  By the way, packing these face-to-face works as well as it does
with the crackers!

*Depending on the job, you could take a jar of olives.  If you do, take
a fork to spear them with, too; you don't want to be dealing with olive
juice on your hands.  Or you could get some of the gourmet, dry-packed
varieties.  I'd skip the ones with the pits still in them.  Too messy.
Still, olives offer a lot of flavor, plus healthy, appetite-satisfying
fat, for very little carb.

*If you have access to a refrigerator at work, you could keep a
container of strawberries.  Yum!

*You could also keep individual servings of sugar-free Jell-O in there.
(Me, I'm not a big Jell-O fan, but I know that a lot of folks really
like it.)

 Of course, you'll have to deal with fridge-poaching co-workers!  But
hey, so does everybody else.


Dieting News!

Cutting calories can actually *increase* the amount of fat you store,
according to a new study by Dan Benardot of Georgia State University and
his colleagues.  The study looked at the food intake of women athletes
-- 42 gymnasts in their teens, and 20 runners with an average age of
about 27 -- and found that those who ate little during the day, while
working out, were more likely to store fat when they did actually eat at
dinner.  Athletes who consistently burned more calories than they ate
during the day generally had more body fat than those whose food intake
balanced their calorie expenditure.  "We can predict body fat percentage
simply by the degree of the energy deficit accumulated during the day"
said Benardot.

So much for all those people who keep telling you, "All you need to do
is eat less and exercise more!" (Like you haven't tried that. Don't you
want to just *smack* them?)

Benardot suspects that by exercising while skimping on calories the
athletes train their bodies to actually get by with *less* food, thus
setting themselves up to store fat when they do eat a big meal at
dinner.  Benardot believes that eating enough food to match, but not
exceed,  caloric output,  and dividing that food up into 6 small meals a
day, instead of three larger meals, can help avoid this weight gain.

For us, this might mean that instead of eating 2-3 eggs for breakfast,
we might have 1-2 eggs, and then have a protein/fat snack -- perhaps a
piece of cheese or a handful of nuts -- at mid-morning.  A smaller
lunch, a mid afternoon snack, a light supper, and perhaps an evening
snack as well, would complete the picture.  I personally plan to try
eating less at any one time, more frequently, and see where I get.  As
always, I will keep you posted!


Reader Review of _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_

 What a treat to finally find a diet book that is not so full of
scientific data that it takes a bag of chips or cookies to help me get
through it. I have had trouble in the past with diet books losing my
interest because they were either too hard to understand, too wordy or
too repetitive. This book is none of those things. In fact, Dana has
done all of the work for you in reading all of the books out there and
then spelling them out in English with a huge dose of humor. It is fun
to find yourself laughing out loud while reading this book and have a
co-worker ask what you are reading and you tell them "it's my diet
book". How many of you can say that about the library of diet books we
all seem to have?  I also find myself toting the book around and
rereading passages to make sure that I am doing something right or just
to buoy myself up. If you are like me and tired of trying to first
decipher a diet book and then telling yourself you will try again next
week I guarantee that if you purchase this book it will be your last.

Dayna Gilman, Canada

Thanks, Dayna!!

You can check out the first chapter of the book FREE at
http://www.holdthetoast.com .  And you can see other reader reviews at

If you've already read _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty
Pounds, and enjoyed it, please go to Amazon.com and review it yourself!
Who knows, you might see your review right here!



I get fairly frequent emails from people wanting to know if my book,
_How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_, can be purchased
in bookstores -- either they don't like ordering online, or they have a
friend or family member who isn't online, and wants to buy the book. The

answer is yes!  Any bookstore in America can easily order a copy of _How
I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_ -- we're listed with
Baker and Taylor, one of the two biggest book wholesalers in the
country.  It will generally take a few days to arrive, but the cool
thing about this is that I've never known a bookstore to charge for this
service -- means that you don't have to pay shipping and handling!

And if enough people order it, pretty soon every bookstore in America
will be carrying it! (What, me?  Ulterior motive? ;-))

By the way, one reader let me know that her local bookstores said they
*couldn't* order _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_,
because they couldn't find it in _Books In Print_.  The bookstores were
wrong; we are carried by Baker and Taylor, and they *can* order the
book.  But _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_ should
be in the Books In Print database by the end of this week, and will be
in the up-coming print edition, due out in September.

Just thought you ought to know.


Product Review

Hey, guess what I'm eating?  Chocolate covered almonds!!

Sugar free chocolate covered almonds, that is, from an Australian candy
company called Darrell Lea.  And they're good!  If you gave a handful to
a sugar-eating friend, they would likely never think twice about it.

What are they sweetened with?  Two things.  One is our good friend
sucralose, the sweetener in Splenda.  The other is a substance called
lactitol.  Lactitol falls into the category of sugar alcohols or polyols
-- it's an altered form of lactose (milk sugar.)  Technically lactitol
is still a carbohydrate, but like the FOS I wrote about back in
December, it's a carbohydrate that you can't absorb.  Therefore, it
doesn't cause a blood sugar rise or an insulin surge.  Your intestinal
bacteria do absorb it, and pass on a few calories to you -- about half
of what you would get from the same amount of sugar -- but apparently
not in the form of a carbohydrate.  Cool beans.

Only one problem with lactitol, and it's common to all the polyols -- if
eaten in excess, it will act as a laxative.  So you'll want to go easy,
especially at first, to see how much you can consume without, er,
embarrassment.  Other than that, I'm not finding any problems with
lactitol.  (If you'd like more info on lactitol, you can go to
http://www.caloriecontrol.org/lactitol.html )

The most important thing I can tell you about this lactitol/sucralose
combination is that it tastes like sugar.  Again, I don't think I could
tell these sugar free chocolate almonds from the sugary kind!  And the
almonds are very crisp, fresh, and nice.  (Almonds, by the way, have
about the best nutritional profile of any nut.)

They are milk chocolate, rather than dark chocolate -- and might I put
in a vote right here for Darrell Lea to start working on the dark
chocolate variety? -- so all you milk chocolate freaks are going to be
*very* happy.  (This will make you even happier -- I have other
confections by Darrell Lea in my hot little hands, and I'll be reviewing
them soon, too!) (Hmm.  Chocolate "in my hot little hands".  Sounds
messy, doesn't it?)

One warning -- these things ain't cheap.  They're running $11.99 for a
half-pound bag.  But then, I don't expect cheap on a specialty, gourmet
food item that's imported from halfway 'round the world.  Further,
neither sucralose nor lactitol is the extremely cheap, common commodity
that sugar is.  However, never forget:  Any food that makes you fat,
sick, tired, and addicted isn't cheap even if they're giving it away.
I'd rather spend the money for stuff that won't screw up my body.

In the States, Darrell Lea candies are distributed exclusively by
Synergy Diet, a *huge* website of low carb products.  You'll find all
kinds of stuff at Synergy Diet, from sugar free condiments (never
underestimate the amount of sugar in ketchup and barbecue sauce!), to
low carb tortillas, jellies and jams, and low carb crackers to spread
them on -- literally hundreds of products.

The nice folks at Synergy Diet have given us a special offer -- for the
next 30 days, Lowcarbezine! subscribers will get *FREE* shipping and
handling on all Synergy Diet orders of $50 or more.  Considering that
we're talking about fairly heavy items here, getting free shipping is no
small thing.  They also said they'd throw in some free samples for you!
All you need to do to get free shipping and samples is to enter the
"secret password" in the comments section on the Synergy Diet order
form.  The secret password?  "Hold the Toast!"

I did business with Synergy Diet before I started this ezine -- ordered
Splenda, and some other stuff -- and found the customer service to be
great; website was easy to use, and everything came promptly and in good

You'll find Synergy Diet at -- where else? -- http://www.synergydiet.com
.  Check it out.


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

Dana W. Carpender

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