Lowcarbezine! 19 April 2000

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Hey, Gang!

Had a good week?  I have!  I've been cooking a lot -- at this point,
I've got recipes stacked up for the next few issues!  Also, my radio
interview this morning went very well indeed.  And I've been spending a
*lot* of time doing research; I'm a big enough wonk that spending a
morning reading medical journal stuff at Medline is my idea of *fun*.
:-)  Lots of interesting new information coming out about low carb diets
-- wait till you see the "Low Carb In the News!" section below!

Also, I finally ordered the exercise machine I've wanted for *two
years*.  I know that it's not strictly in keeping with the topic of low
carbohydrate dieting, but I'm thinking I may review this thing in a
month or two.  Now if the UPS man would just bring the thing already...

Add to that the fact that it's finally warm and sunny here again, and
I'm a happy girl.

Enough!  Read on.



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Lowcarbezine! welcomes reader input!  If you have a question, a recipe,
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mailto:dana@holdthetoast.com  However, please note -- although I really
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I can't promise to answer every post personally.  Or I'll never get the
next book written!

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Thought For the Week

Easter is here!  As you have no doubt noticed, Easter moves around every
year -- it can come as early as the end of March, or as late as the very
beginning of May.  The actual date is derived from a formula settled on
by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD -- the first Sunday after the first
full moon after the vernal equinox.  But forget the formula, or even the
calendar; you can tell that Easter is here by the vast piles of bunny,
egg, and chick shaped candy in the stores.

When did all this happen?  When did the highest holy day of the
Christian church become nothing but another marketing opportunity?  I
find it distressing.  Most distressing is how this holiday has become
yet *another* excuse for feeding children unlimited sugar.

I remember Easter when I was a child.  We always went to church, and I
sang in the choir; we practiced for *weeks* for Easter service.  Yet the
most important thing to me, the cause of the greatest excitement, was
all that *chocolate*.  I strongly suspect I'm not alone on this one.  I
have a feeling that more than a few of my readers, when they hear the
word "Easter", think of Cadbury Butter Cream Eggs and Marshmallow Peeps
before they think of the spiritual meaning of the day.

Now, I'm not here to preach; your religious faith, or lack thereof, is
entirely up to you.  But your carb consumption *is* of concern to me,
and to you too, if you're reading this.  So let's talk about the Easter
Feast, shall we?

Once again -- and those of you who have read my book, or have been
subscribed to this ezine for a while have heard this before, but I get
many new subscribers every week, so bear with me here -- you need to
decide whether Easter is going to be an Indulgence Day for you.  For my
new readers, an Indulgence is a planned deviation from your low carb
diet -- I much prefer this term to the word "cheat", which implies A)
that you're going to get away with something; you never, ever do, and B)
that you should feel guilty about it, which is senseless and
counterproductive.  Only you can decide if Easter is a holiday so
grounded in food and food traditions for *you* that it's worth the
trouble of gaining five pounds of water and taking several days to a
week to get back on track.

For me, it's not.  I Indulge on Christmas and Thanksgiving, but Easter
doesn't make the Indulgence list for me, partly because candy isn't
anything I miss, and partly because I find it sooooo easy to put
together a terrific low carb Easter dinner.

But hey, that's me.  Maybe Peeps are nirvana to you; what do I know?  (I
never liked Peeps, even when I was a kid.  Always preferred chocolate.)
So once again -- at the risk of belaboring a point -- here's a quick
rundown of damage control tips if you feel that Easter is a really
important Indulgence Day for you:

* Eat your high protein breakfast!  Always, always, always, but
especially on an Indulgence Day.  It will be a strong protection against
*over* indulgence.

* Pick and choose what sweets and other carbs are worth it to you, and
have *only* those sweets.  Maybe your family has always eaten homemade
hot cross buns for Easter breakfast, since you were a tiny child.  That
might be something that was *really* worth it to you, while cheap Easter
candy was not.  (Of course, you'd have at least two eggs with that hot
cross bun, right?)  Maybe you *adore* Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs, but
don't care about jelly beans.  Whatever.  I just want you to be wary of
eating a single bite of sugary or starchy stuff that isn't *exactly*
what you want.

* The *worst* candies for your blood sugar are the Peeps and other
marshmallows, jelly beans, malted milk eggs, and other stuff that's
almost all sugar, very little fat.  Eating these is very much akin to
sticking a needle in your arm and infusing pure glucose.  Butter cream
eggs are very nearly as bad.  Milk chocolate is a little better, and
dark chocolate, since it has less sugar, is a bit better than that.  The
Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs are a little better, as well, because of the
fat content, which buffers the sugar rush.  *None* of them is good for
you, but you'll get less of a rebound blood sugar crash from the less
sugary, higher fat candies.  (Dark chocolate covered nuts are a pretty
low impact candy.  Still sugar, so don't go overboard, but certainly
easier on your body than Peeps.)

* There are some sugar free candies out there, and these get better
tasting by the day.  I've reviewed some of these in recent weeks -- the
Darrell Lea sugar free chocolate covered almonds might be a nice
substitute for those ubiquitous foil covered chocolate eggs. (Available
at http://www.synergydiet.com )  I have also learned that the Jelly
Belly company makes sugar free jelly beans.  These are sweetened largely
with maltitol, a sugar alcohol. (They also include aspartame.)  Maltitol
is a carbohydrate -- the sugar free Jelly Bellies have a very similar
carb count to the regular kind -- but it is not easily absorbed, and
what part of the molecule is absorbed is absorbed slowly; all this adds
up to a muted effect on blood sugar.  Eat enough of them and you will
put on a pound or two, but they won't wreak anything *like* the havoc
that regular jelly beans will.  The folks at http://www.jellybelly.com
assure me that if you place an order by 11 am Pacific time tomorrow
(Thursday), and pay for overnight service, you can have your sugar free
jelly beans by Easter.  Personally, I could care less about jelly beans,
never did like them, but some people are devoted to these things.

*Want a fun project to do with/for the kids?  Blow some eggs (poke a
hole at both ends with a big needle, piercing the yolk, and blow out the
insides; save for scrambled eggs; then rinse the inside well.)  Using a
small funnel or a rolled piece of foil, fill the shells with sugar free
Jell-O (you'll have to tape the bottom hole first!) and chill.  Crack
'em open and get Jell-O eggs!

* May I also suggest that you substitute a cute stuffed bunny, chick, or
duck in your child's Easter basket, in place of a lot of the sugary
garbage?  Not only is it better for your child, but they'll have it for
months or years to come.  (PLEASE don't get a live chick or duckling.
Assuming they survive getting mauled by a small child, they'll grow up
to be chickens and ducks, neither of which make good pets unless you own
a farm.  Rabbits make somewhat better pets, but still take work and care
-- and have sharp claws.  Stuffed is good!)

* Again, when it comes to Easter dinner, decide which carbs really
matter to you.  Maybe you love potatoes, but don't care so much about
rolls.  Be picky, and eat plenty of protein and vegetables along with
your carbs.

* If, like so many folks, you're planning to have ham for Easter dinner,
shop carefully.  All ham has some sugar added, but they vary a great
deal in how much.  I've seen ham with as little as 1 gram of carb per
serving, and I've seen ham with as much as 6 grams of carb per serving.
That's a 600% difference!  Buy the ham with the least sugar.  And if
your traditional way of roasting a ham is to glaze it with brown sugar,
consider cutting that sugary outside crust off of your portion.

* How about some really wonderful vegetables at your Easter feast?
Asparagus is the ultimate spring vegetable, and it's very low carb.
Further, you can have it with lemon butter or hollandaise sauce with no
pangs of guilt!  And believe it or not, it is proper to eat asparagus
with your fingers!  Even Miss Manners says so.  You can shock the other
people at Easter dinner, only to be able to show them you were correct
all along.  A big, wonderful salad is another good addition to the
Easter feast.

Here's what we're having for Easter dinner here at Chez

Boned, rolled leg of lamb, roasted with garlic, olive oil, and lemon
White turnips, peeled, cut in chunks, and roasted around the lamb
Asparagus with lemon butter
Greek salad -- romaine, fresh parsley, cucumbers, peppers, red onion,
tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese (and anchovies for my
husband, who loves them!), tossed with a garlic/olive oil/lemon juice
Greek "kroquettes" -- little pancakes made from grated zucchini, grated
onion, crumbled feta, a little oregano, beaten eggs, and a smidge of soy
powder, fried by the spoonful in olive oil.

I haven't decided on a dessert yet; I was thinking of a sugar free
chocolate cheesecake, but the more I look at this menu, the more filling
it seems, and the more I'm leaning toward something light and simple,
like strawberries with a little whipped cream, or melon balls with a
little grated fresh ginger, lime juice, and a touch of Splenda.

One last lecture/plea:  If Easter has religious meaning for you,
*please* try to rein in the consumer frenzy/junk food mania that has
grown up around it; it's getting to be nearly as bad and Christmas.
More focus on the message, and on family, and less focus on chocolate
bunnies and marshmallow chicks is not only good for you, but very, very
good for your children.

Happy Easter!


Frequently Asked Question

Will a low carb diet lower my thyroid function?

Boy, I wish I knew.  I've run across this question a few times now,
enough to make me concerned, so I've done a fair amount of digging, and
I haven't been able to turn up anything conclusive one way or the
other.  There was one study I found where a low carbohydrate diet did
lower levels of T3 a bit, but levels of T4 and TSH remained unchanged,
and the researchers drew no hard conclusion.  Interestingly, in this
study, both a low carb diet weighted toward protein, and a low carb diet
weight toward fat, were tried, and the higher protein diet lowered T3
less than the higher fat diet.  Looks like the old wisdom that protein
is good for your metabolism may be at work here.

Another study, however, looked at the effect of reducing diets in
general, and found that T3 levels dropped *both* in low calorie dieters
and low carb dieters. (Again, T4 and TSH levels remained unchanged.)  It
may be that this is part of the little-understood mechanism whereby the
body tries to prevent weight loss by slowing the metabolism.

That's it.  That's all I could find.   Certainly neither the Eades
(_Protein Power_) nor Dr. Atkins report lowered thyroid function as a
problem with their patients, and they've worked with thousands of
people.  Further, I just had a thyroid panel done myself, and after
almost 5 years of low carbing, it came up normal.  I will report that my
TSH was *slightly* higher than it was two years ago -- a higher TSH
indicates a lower thyroid function -- but still well within normal
bounds.  I keep an eye on it because my mother is hypothyroid.

However, it's important to be aware that an estimated 8 million
Americans (and who knows how many folks worldwide?) are hypothyroid and
don't know it.  If you have a great deal of trouble losing weight,
despite diet and exercise, have dry skin and dry, brittle, or thinning
hair, are cold even when others are not, are sluggish and tired despite
plenty of rest, have low blood pressure and a slow pulse, and/or have
irregular menses, it's a good idea to get tested.  Low thyroid will not
only make it near impossible to lose weight, and make you feel depressed
and tired, it can lead to very serious health complications, including
an increased risk of heart disease.

If you'd like more information, you might check out
http://www.glandcentral.com .  (Don't you love the URL?)


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

 Great way to start low carbing!

 Looking to start a low carb diet? Dana's down to earth approach gives
you a peek at all the popular low carb diets and
 discusses the pros and cons of each. What's different about Dana's book
is that she does not endorse one plan over another
 but encourages you to experiment and figure out what will work for you.
Additionally, Dana writes in an easy, conversational
 style that just plain leaves you with a good feeling. What have you got
to lose?

Carol, Rockford, Illinois

Thanks, Carol!

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!


Low Carb In The News!

A paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Adolescent
Medicine detailed a controlled trial of the efficacy of low carbohydrate
dieting versus low fat dieting for weight loss in obese adolescents.
The study, which involved teens between the ages of 12 and 18, who were
between 20 and 100 pounds overweight, was done at The Center for
Atherosclerosis Prevention at Schneider's Children's Hospital in Hyde
Park New York.

The result was that the teens who ate a low carbohydrate diet lost an
average of 19 pounds in 12 weeks, while those on a low fat diet lost an
average of only 8.5 pounds.  This, despite the fact that the low carbers
were eating considerably more calories than the low fat dieters -- the
low carb teens ate an average of 1830 calories a day, as compared to an
average of 1100 for the low fat dieters.  That's quite a difference!
Looks like Dr. Atkins was justified in asserting that a low carb diet
confers a metabolic advantage, huh?

The researchers apparently weren't surprised at the greater weight loss
in the low carb group, which interested me; it seems that the fact that
a low carbohydrate diet does, indeed, work for weight loss is starting
to sink in.  What did surprise them a great deal was that the teens on
the low carbohydrate diet showed a greater improvement in bloodwork.
Total cholesterol fell in both groups, but triglycerides fell 33% in the
low carb group, as compared to 17% in the low fat group.  Further, HDL
(good cholesterol) increased more in the low carbers than it the low fat
group, as well.

What both astounds and amuses me is this comment from one researcher:
"I worry about telling kids to go on nothing but a high-fat diet.
That's bad news... We're not talking about teaching kids over the
long-term to eat a healthy diet."

Run that by me again?  They lose weight, their cholesterol drops, their
triglycerides drop, their HDL goes up -- and it's not a healthy diet?

Some people have a touching faith in a low fat diet that simply borders
on the religious, and apparently can't be shaken by something so trivial
as hard research.

Wish I'd gone on a "bad news" high fat diet as a teen.  I bet my social
life would have been better for it!


Product Review

Summer's on the way, and we'll all be looking for something tall and
cool to drink.  Maybe you're a little bored of diet soda pop --
personally, I can't stand the stuff -- or maybe you're one of those
people who doesn't do well with aspartame.  Maybe you're just looking
for something new.

How about a nice glass of lemonade?  I've just tried Baker Halls
Original Classic Low Calorie Lemon & Barley Drink Concentrate, and if
that's not the longest product name you've ever heard, I'll be very
surprised.  This is a liquid concentrate that you mix with water to make
lemonade.  I really like it -- it's made with real lemon juice, instead
of with artificial lemon flavoring like so many of the powdered drink
mixes on the market.  And the primary sweetener is Splenda, not
aspartame.  It does have some fructose in it, which is, of course, a
sugar, but it doesn't have lot.  You mix one part of concentrate with
five parts water, which means that 200 ml of concentrate will make over
a liter of lemonade.  (If you're not really clear on your metric system,
a liter is very close to a quart.)  That 200 ml. of concentrate has just
2.3 grams of carb in it.  A couple of grams of carb in over a quart of
lemonade ain't bad.

The stuff tastes great.  I can see myself really enjoying this on a hot
afternoon in July.  I could also see mixing it half and half with iced
tea, or using it for mixed drinks.  I also plan to try it mixed with
seltzer, for a lemon soda.

Where do you get this stuff?  Why, it's yet another product sent to me
for review by the folks at Synergy Diet.  (Hey, they wanna send me low
carb food, I'll eat it and tell you about it.)

The same company also makes an orange beverage, with real orange juice
in it; the first thing I noticed when I opened the bottle was the very
genuine orange aroma that came up at me.  Orangeade has never been my
favorite, but if you really miss orange juice with your breakfast, this
might be a very nice option for you.  And if you're an orange soda fan,
or you like Orangina, you could mix this with seltzer.

What I've done with it so far is use it in cooking -- I used some in a
marinade the other day, and it came out great.  Here's how I did it:

I mixed a crushed clove of garlic with 1/4 cup each of spicy brown
mustard, soy sauce, bourbon, and Splenda, plus a teaspoon of dark
molasses (gives a brown sugar taste, but only adds 5 g of carb to the
whole recipe) and 2 teaspoons of the Low Calorie Orange & Barley Drink
Concentrate.  Combine it well!

I used this two days in a row.  On Saturday, I took about a pound and a
half of pork spareribs and put them in a large ziplock plastic bag with
about half the marinade, and left them in the refrigerator for several
hours, turning them when I thought of it, to make sure they were evenly
marinated.  That evening I roasted the ribs on the broiler rack at 325,
for 2 hours.  These ribs tasted great without any barbecue sauce, which
is very cool, since barbecue sauce is just *loaded* with sugar.

On Sunday, I did the same marinade in a bag routine with three chicken
leg and thigh quarters; marinated them for about 3 hours, then roasted
them for an hour at 375.  Also very, very tasty.

Anyway, if you're bored of what you're drinking, or you'd like a far
more natural tasting fruit beverage than you can get from Crystal Light
and the like, you might check these out.  Once again, they're available
at http://www.synergydiet.com , and  you've got another two weeks to get
in on free shipping for Lowcarbezine! subscribers -- just put "Hold the
Toast" in the comments section of the online order form.


Radio Interview

Your faithful editor/author will, once again, be appearing on the
radio!  This Friday, April 21st,  I'll be on WJGR, AM 1320, out of
Jacksonville, Florida, from 1:00 - 2:00 pm, Eastern Time.  The host of
the show is Andy Johnson.  This is a call in show, so if you're in the
Jacksonville area, this is your chance to call up and ask me a question!


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

Dana W. Carpender

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