Lowcarbezine! 12 April 2000

Return to Archive Contents

Hey, Gang!

How time does fly!  Wasn't it Christmas just a few weeks ago?  Now I'm
putting out the Passover issue, and starting on the Easter issue!  Geez,
sometimes I think I'm going to wake up tomorrow and discover I'm 75,
slap myself on the forehead, and say, "Whahappened?" ;-D

Big ol' issue this week!  Enjoy it!



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.

If you need a website designed or hosted, please check out the info on
Webbalah at the bottom of this newsletter!  (Hey, *my* website looks
good, right?)


Thought For the Week

Boy, if you want to feel at a loss, just find yourself needing to write
about something about which you have virtually no first hand personal
knowledge, for an audience of a few thousand people!  That's what is up
with me this week.  We're closing in fast on Passover, and not being
Jewish, my knowledge, and therefore ability to advise, is pretty darned

However, I've done some research, always a good idea when one is feeling
hindered by ignorance.  I've come to the conclusion that a low carb
Seder is a pretty unlikely event.  There's no way I can think of to make
low carb charoset (a fruit compote that is an essential, traditional
part of the Seder) or matzoh, also a food required by ritual, and there
are many other traditional Passover dishes that simply do not have low
carb equivalents -- kugel (a casserole/pudding like dish that is often
made from noodles -- and even when it's not, it generally includes
matzoh meal), latkes (potato pancakes), matzoh brie, and many other
dishes simply are what they are, and I don't see any good way to de-carb
them without changing them beyond recognition -- some recipes adapt,
some don't.  (Also, since -- according to the "Jewish Cookery" chapter
of my Encyclopedia of Cooking -- beans are forbidden during the eight
days of Passover, you can't just substitute soy flour in place of matzoh
meal in a recipe that calls for it.)  For that matter, wine is a very
traditional part of the Passover celebration, and in my (admittedly
limited) experience, traditional Passover wines are quite sweet,
although I don't know if this is required.

Seems to me that for my Jewish readers, Passover is looking like an
Indulgence for sure!  Food is such a major part of the traditional
celebration that I simply can't see it otherwise.  After all, we're
talking about a religious event with a history something like 6000 years
old, coupled with a life long memory of what mama and grandma served
every year.  Powerful, emotional, important stuff.

However, as always, the holiday Indulgence tips will help prevent major
post-holiday-scale-trauma.  Here's another rundown:

* Eat your usual high protein breakfast.  This will moderate your
appetite for the whole day, and help prevent over-Indulging.

* Eat plenty of protein at the Seder, along with whatever carb dishes
you choose.  (By the way, can someone tell me why virtually every Jewish
family I know eats brisket for Passover?  It would seem to me that roast
lamb would be more in keeping with the Exodus story, but then, I'm
inordinately fond of roast lamb.  No matter, brisket is a fine protein
food.)  This will help prevent a major blood sugar crash, with its nasty
cravings, bad mood, and other attendant holiday spoilers.

*Pick and choose which carbs at the Seder really matter to you!  You may
adore latkes, but be less enthralled by, say, kugel or matzoh brie.
Indulge in the carbs that matter to you!  Then go easy on, or even skip,
the ones that don't.  (Charoset, I have gathered, actually serves a
symbolic function in the meal, so of course you'll have some, but unless
you really love it, you could limit your portion, I'd think.)

* Make sure there are some traditional foods that you love that are low
carb at the meal!  Chopped liver comes to mind (I may be as WASPy as
they come, but I love this stuff).  I also found some recipes that were
at least moderately low carb at http://www.koshercooking.com -- take a
look at Low Cal Zucchini Quiche, Broccoli Carrot Vinaigrette, Cottage
Cheese Loaf, Spinach Casserole, and Meat Beet Borscht.

* You need to be aware, if you're hoping to cut the carbs in some of
your family's traditional Passover recipes, that Splenda, while it does
carry the "U" kosher symbol, does not appear to be kosher for Passover.
I'm guessing that this is because of the malto-dextrin in it, which is
derived from a grain source.  (By the way, Splenda is parve -- neither
meat or milk, so it may be consumed with either.)  Likewise, my box of
aspartame has the K symbol, but does not say "kosher for Passover";
again, it contains malto-dextrin.  My box of SweetLeaf SteviaPlus says
nothing at all on the subject.  Stevia is derived from a shrub, and FOS
from various fruits and vegetables; this product contains no
malto-dextrin, but I don't know where it stands as regards Jewish
dietary law.

* Regarding the question of diet soda, I here quote the website
http://www.bethamtemple.org : Pepsi and Diet Pepsi are pretty easy. They
have a KP on the top of  the bottle cap. Coca Cola and Diet Coke are
much more difficult. On either the cap or the top of the bottle there is
a product number. If it ends in the letters OUP, it is certificated by
the OU to be kosher for            Passover. I am told that there was
kosher for Passover 7UP this year, but I did not see it.

* Try to limit your Indulgence to the Seder, although if you're strict
it seems that this will rule out anything sweet for 8 days, because of
the status of artificial sweeteners.  Still, 8 days of Indulging will
leave you bulging, not to mention tired, hungry, craving, and cross.  At
least you'll have a week in which you won't be tempted by any bread,
cakes, cookies, or other leavened products which may be around the
house!  (For my non-Jewish readers:  It is required by Jewish law that
no leavened products, or products made of grains or legumes, aside from
matzoh, be consumed during Passover.  Further, the home is ritually
cleansed of these foods.  I learned about this the hard way back in high
school, when I baked my friend Rich Morris a surprise birthday cake
during Passover!)

* As always, look for the lowest carb option.  For instance, my food
count book gives a range of carbohydrate counts for different varieties
of gefilte fish, ranging from 3 g. per serving all the way up through 10
g. per serving.  For that matter, it seems that a lot of brisket recipes
I've run across call for ketchup and other sugary ingredients.  Surely
you can find some way to cook a brisket that doesn't call for sugar!
(On the other hand, you may be going to mom's place...)

I hope this has been at least a bit helpful.  I would really appreciate
it if my Jewish readers could send me any recipe or menu planning
suggestions, so I can pass them on in the future!



I Need Info!

Could those of you who celebrate Easter post me and let me know what
foods are on your traditional Easter menu?  Our family has always eaten
lamb for Easter (YUM!!!), but I have a feeling that here in the States,
ham is a more common Easter entree.  And I'd be curious to know what my
readers in other countries eat for this holiday!

Thanks!  (Why do I have the feeling I'm about to receive about 592


Frequently Asked Question

I keep hearing that a low carb/high protein diet will hurt my kidneys.
Is this true?

There is a grain of truth to this, and a whole lot of bunk.  Let's see
if we can separate the former from the latter.

The truth lies in the fact that if your kidneys are already sub-par, a
ketogenic diet is a Very Bad Idea for you.  Ketones are largish
molecules, apparently, and while they appear to be harmless to healthy
kidneys, kidneys that are already damaged or otherwise not entirely
healthy don't need the extra work.

There is some evidence that very deep ketosis may precipitate kidney
stones in a small percentage of people -- between 5-8%.  This is known
from the use of very strict ketogenic diets for controlling seizures in
children, although it should be noted that there may be other factors at
work here.  In particular, fluids are restricted on a seizure control
diet, and a statement from the Child Neurology Society says that the
problem of kidney stones can be overcome by liberalizing fluid intake;
all ketogenic diets for weight loss specify that you should drink plenty
of water.  Also, these diets necessarily create a *very* deep ketosis,
because that is what is needed to control the seizures; Basic Low Carb
Diets like Atkins and Protein Power do not cause anywhere near the level
of ketones as the seizure control diets -- if you've read Atkins
carefully, you'll have noted that he wants you to stay in a
mild-to-moderate state of ketosis -- and therefore are unlikely to
trigger this problem in even that number of people.  However, if you've
been deliberately trying to get into a very deep ketosis -- to be "dark
purple", so to speak -- you should consider lightening up a bit.  And if
your kidneys are in any way unhealthy, a ketogenic diet is *not* for
you.  Better try another form of carb-restricted, insulin controlling

However, some contend that even in the absence of ketosis, a high
protein diet will damage kidneys.  Yet there is also evidence that
humankind evolved on just such a diet; it seems odd that we would have
thrived on a diet that caused damage to such a vital organ.  I pulled
out my copy of the bibliography to _Protein Power_; I knew that the
Eades had mentioned some studies which made it clear that a high protein
diet was not a danger to anyone with healthy kidneys.  I then looked up
their references in the Medline data base.  Here's the abstract for one:

Protein intake and kidney function in humans: its effect on 'normal

Blum M, Averbuch M, Wolman Y, Aviram A

Department of Nephrology, Rokach Hospital, Tel
Aviv, Israel.

The effect of dietary protein on kidney function
expressed by creatinine clearance was studied in
healthy subjects following a "normal"
unrestricted protein diet and compared with a group of
vegetarians maintained on a long-term low-protein
diet. Both groups had similar kidney function
and displayed the same rate of progressive
deterioration in renal function with age. These results
suggest that, in contrast with the important
therapeutic effect of low-protein intake on the
progressive deterioration of kidney function in
diseased kidneys, such a diet does not significantly
affect kidney function with "normal aging" in
healthy subjects.

Pretty clear -- in us folks with healthy kidneys, our level of protein
intake doesn't effect our kidney function adversely, even over the long
haul.  The Eades' also referred to another study which apparently
indicated that increased protein intake actually *improved* kidney
function in healthy people; sadly, I was unable to find that study
online.  (If you'd like to look it up, it has the catchy title of
"Dietary protein as a modulator of the renal net acid excretion
capacity:  Evidence that an increased protein intake improves the
capability of the kidney to excrete ammonium."  The authors are Remer,
T, and Manz, F. and it appeared in the journal Nutritional Biochemistry
in 1995.  Hey, if you find it, send it to me! )

What do you do if you have kidney damage, but you are also certain that
you're carbohydrate intolerant?  That was just exactly the position my
friend Rob was in.  We figured out his protein requirement, and he stuck
to about that level, not much more or less, every day.  We cut his carbs
pretty radically, but left him enough of the low impact carbs to make
sure that he didn't go into ketosis, since that would have been taxing
on his kidneys.  Of course, he needed more calories than this to supply
his energy, and I had to convince him that he could make up the
difference by eating fat.  He did, and not only did his carb-related
problems improve -- he lost weight, his triglycerides and cholesterol
improved *drastically*, and his blood pressure normalized -- but also
his kidney function improved for the first time in years.  You can read
Rob's story in his own words at http://www.holdthetoast.com/rob.html .

However, please note:  I am *NOT* your doctor. (Or anyone's doctor, for
that matter.  Nor do I play one on television.)  If you have any sort of
kidney trouble at all, it is *imperative* that you keep your doctor
informed of any changes you make in your diet, and *get tested
regularly* for any changes in your health.  Don't mess around.  Better
to be a few pounds heavier with functioning kidneys, no?

So, to sum up:  Healthy kidneys, low carb/high protein diet =  good, but
if you go ketogenic, keep to a moderate degree of ketosis and drink
plenty of  water.  Damaged kidneys, ketosis a bad idea, moderate
protein/restricted carb diet *probably* a good idea, but keep in touch
with your doctor.


Paleolithic Diet News

As surely some of you know, one of the many variants of the low carb
diet is the paleolithic diet -- the concept that we should eat a diet as
close as possible to that of our caveman ancestors, since that is the
diet on which we evolved.  The concept has been popularized by the book
_Neanderthin_, by Ray Audette, and a very interesting book it is, too.
A paleo diet is somewhat different than the basic low carb diet, as
exemplified by Atkins and Protein Power.  The point is not specifically
to cut carbs, but rather to avoid foods which are not part of the
evolutionary diet of humankind -- Audette posits that the "diseases of
civilization" -- obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders
such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus -- are due to an immune system
reaction to these substances.  (He also claims to have cured his own
diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis with his paleo diet, and I have spoken
to folks who have met him, who say he is certainly quite slim.)

The basic rule that Audette offers is that no food is allowed on a
paleolithic diet which would not have been available to the human race
in the absence of any technology beyond a pointy stick.  If a food needs
to be processed in *any* way, or even needs to be cooked, to be edible,
it's not allowed on a paleolithic diet.  (Please note:  This does not
mean that you *have* to eat everything raw!  Meat and eggs are edible
raw, but the shaky state of sanitation in modern factory farms and meat
packing plants makes cooking a good idea.)

This means that there are many foods which are allowed on a basic low
carb diet which are not allowed on a paleo diet, and at least a few
which are *not* allowed, or at least are quite limited, on a basic low
carb diet which are allowed on a paleo diet.  For instance, dairy
products are not allowed on a paleo diet, because dairy was not part of
the human diet before the invention both of herding, and of some sort of
vessel to catch the milk in.  All legumes are banned, so soy foods are
not included in a paleo diet  -- and since soy protein isolate is a very
common ingredient -- I spent 10 minutes reading tuna fish labels
recently to find one brand that didn't have soy! (Star Kist, chunk
light, water pack), this means reading labels even more carefully than I
hope you already are.   Coffee is not allowed; artificial sweeteners are
not allowed, alcohol is not allowed, vinegar is not allowed.  And of
course grains and all grain products are banned, even the low carb fiber
crackers many of us eat.  Pretty strict!

However, fruit, since it was available to paleolithic people, is
allowed; so are carrots and some of the other higher carb vegetables.
(Potatoes aren't allowed, since they need to be cooked to be edible in
any large quantity.)  Interestingly, Audette allows juices, which to my
mind are processed, refined foods -- but he does caution that if you
want to lose weight, rather than simply improve your health, you should
limit your intake of fruits and juices.

The big question about paleo diets, from an anthropological standpoint,
has been just exactly how much meat did ancient hunter-gatherers eat,
versus how much plant food?  Many folks who are up in arms about meat
consumption have asserted that our evolutionary diet consisted largely
of fruits and vegetables,  with only occasional consumption of meat,
when a lucky kill was made.  Radical moral vegetarians go further, and
insist that paleolithic man ate no meat at all, though I have no idea
what evidence they have to back up this assertion.

The question of the animal-to-plant food ratio of the ancient diet of
human kind has gotten some answers recently, in the form of an article
in the March issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  The
research clearly involved cooperation between many academics; the
institutions cited include the Department of Health and Exercise
Science, Colorado State University; The Human Nutrition Unit, Department
of Biochemistry, University of Sydney (Australia), the Departments of
Radiology and Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta; the Department of
Food Science, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University
(Australia), and the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann

They point out that the hunter-gatherer way of life in a pure form is
largely extinct, and state that therefore they looked at the most recent
information on plant-to-animal food intakes among still existing
hunter-gatherers to estimate the *likely* macronutrient ratios for
hunter-gatherers in diverse environments.  Among other things, they took
into account how differences in body fat of prey animals would effect
protein intakes (I'm thinking that one would eat less fatty meat than
lean, since it would fill you up more, and therefore protein intake
would drop with fatty meats.)

Their analysis showed that whenever and wherever it was/is possible,
hunter-gathers actually ate a high percentage of animal foods, deriving
between 45-65% of their calories from it.  Seventy three percent of the
worldwide hunter-gatherer populations studied got more than half of
their calories from animal foods, while only 14% got half or more of
their calories from plants.

They conclude, "This high reliance on animal-based foods coupled with
the relatively low carbohydrate content of wild plant foods produces
universally characteristic macronutrient consumption ratios in which
protein is elevated at the expense of carbohydrates."

Also, lending credence to Ray Audette's work, the article states, "Both
anthropologists and nutritionists have long recognized that the diets of
modern-day hunter-gatherers may represent a reference standard for
modern human nutrition and a model for defense against certain diseases
of affluence."  If you'd like to read Neanderthin, you can order it
through Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312243383/lowcarbohysoluti .
You'll also find it at many bookstores.

Steak and a salad, anyone?


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

 It really works!

 Who would have thought that giving up low fat food would actually cause
you to lose weight? Not me! But it really does. Dana Carpender's book is
a light, yet informative look into this new way of eating. She keeps
things upbeat and easy to read while also getting the point across.
There are many ideas of quick snacks and meals. She not only discusses
the benefits of low carb dieting, but also any risk factors there are.
There is a great section on interactions with other medications. I
highly recommend this book to anyone thinking about low carb dieting!

     Leslie Johnson, Vermont

Thanks, Leslie!!

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!

And if you'd rather, you can order _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and
Lost Forty Pounds_ through your local bookstore.  Hey, that way you
don't even pay shipping and handling!


Radio Interview

Your faithful editor/author will be interviewed by Roy Justis on KXIC,
800 AM, Iowa City, IA, Wednesday, April 19, at 9 am Central Daylight
Time.  The interview will be a half hour long!  If you're in the area,
tune in!


Product Review

Okay, I told you last issue that I had more sugar-free, low carb sweets
to review -- in fact, I have several, but hey, one at a time, or I'll
run out of things to write about, and then where will I be?

The folks at Synergy Diet also sent me some taffies by Darrell Lea.
Now, this sort of candy isn't my big thing, but my husband was quite
addicted to Starbursts and Tangy Taffy when he was a kid, so he makes
the ideal taster for this product.  And in his expert opinion, these
things are excellent.  Good flavor, good texture, good all the way
around.  He's been taking them to work at a pretty good clip.

I tried one -- a strawberry flavored toffee -- and I thought it was
darned good, too.  It really did taste very much like I remember
Starbursts tasting.  The texture was a tiny bit stiff at first, but
became soft and chewy very rapidly.  The flavor was intense, and nicely
balanced between sweet and tart.  If you're a fan of this sort of thing,
you'll be very happy with this candy!

I have the assortment, which includes strawberry, mango, passion fruit,
licorice, caramel, and mint.  Each of these flavors is also available
alone -- I'm thinking that maybe I should get the caramels, and see if I
can make a sugar-free turtle cheesecake.

Just like the chocolate covered almonds, these taffies aren't cheap;
they're an imported specialty item.  But if you're a big taffy fan, and
you've got the money, this is definitely a product for you!

Remember, Synergy Diet is currently offering Lowcarbezine subscribers
free shipping on orders over $50.  Just put Hold the Toast in the
comments section of the online order form.  You'll find them at
http://www.synergydiet.com , where else?


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

Dana W. Carpender

Return to Archive Contents