Lowcarbezine! 11 May 2000

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Hey, Gang!!

I'm having a cheerful, bright eyed day.  I think it's because the
weather broke.  It was terribly humid here the beginning of the week,
and I walked around yawning.  Then we had a huge storm last night, and
today it was cooler, and *much* less humid, and sunny and just plain
gorgeous.  If you're east of me, I hope you get this new weather pattern

Some of you have contacted me, saying that Lowcarbezine! was getting to
be so long that you were having trouble downloading it; for this I
apologize.  I've tried to keep it a bit shorter this week.  I'm thinking
that I'll just have to choose between, say, a Frequently Asked Question
and a News You Can Use, and save stuff for future issues...

Still, there's plenty here.  Read on!



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!

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good, right?)


The Lent Report

At the beginning of Lent, I wrote an article about a couple of "food
weirdnesses" of mine -- the tendency to wolf my food, and the fact that
I always "know" which portion is biggest, and *want that portion*.  I
decided that for Lent I would try to moderate these weirdnesses.  I
planned to do this by putting my fork down between bites, and making
sure I'd chewed and swallowed one mouthful of food before taking
another, and by either giving my husband the portion I perceived as
larger, or letting him choose between the portions.  I promised to
report to you on the results of this experiment in behavior

First, I must confess that I was not 100% consistent with my efforts to
eat more slowly.  Often I'd catch myself starting a meal by gobbling as
usual, and have to rein myself in.  It did feel mighty strange, not
shoveling the food in just as fast as I possibly could.  Not bad, just
strange.  I learned that I have been in the habit of getting another
bite onto my fork just as soon as the last bite is in my mouth; it took
real diligence to make myself wait until I had *swallowed* the previous
bite to fork up another.

However, as the days went by, I found that I kind of like this new way
of eating.  It feels calm, and pleasant, and I find that I feel full
sooner.  Also, I feel like I'm appreciating the taste and texture of my
food more, by paying more attention to each mouthful.  I plan to
continue eating this way.

As for the portion perception problem (hey, neat alliteration!), I still
"know" which portion is biggest.  (For the readers who have come in
during the past few weeks, let me stress that my "knowing" which portion
is largest is entirely subjective.  Often, perhaps even usually, the
portions are so close in size that using a scale would be the only way
to *really* know which portion is biggest.  It's really about my
somewhat skewed relationship with food.)  However, I've found that I
actually care far less now.  I'm thinking that part of this is my
discovery that even if I take the portion that is "smaller", it's still
always enough to satisfy me.  I also think part of it is related to my
eating more slowly, and, as a result, finding that I'm full on less

Neither of these modifications of behavior have caused me to lose more
weight, though I had posited that they might.  However, they've made me
a bit calmer and happier about food.  I think we all know that a large
part of conquering obesity, and learning to eat for health, has to do
with our "emotional relationship" with food.  Cutting the carbs from my
diet made a *huge* difference in my emotion relationship with food; I
discovered that the passionate attachment, the *longing*, just wasn't
there anymore, and it was freeing to an exhilarating degree.  I know
that many of you have found the same thing -- that you weren't addicted
to food, you were addicted to carbohydrates, and that as long as you
avoid foods that are rich in high impact carbs, you have a normal
appetite and a much more normal relationship with food.

I plan to continue these modifications in my eating behavior -- anything
that makes me feel calmer and more satisfied where food is concerned is
a *good*, whether it makes me lose weight or not.


A Question From Mom

I spent this past weekend visiting my family in the Chicago suburbs --
my truly incredible mom turned 70 last week, and my baby nephew Henry,
aka The World's Most Perfect Child (no bias there!), turned 2.

I was out shopping with my mom for a birthday present for her -- I got
her a garden cart, exactly what she wanted -- and we were discussing my
writing and my diet.  She said, "I don't know if I could do what you
do.  It seems that you think of food in terms of something to eat when
you're hungry, while I often think of food as a reward -- I say to
myself, "Well, now I've cleaned my bedroom, I could have a little

Okay, so she didn't phrase it as a question, but the question is there
nonetheless.  Most of us have been raised to think of food as a reward,
and especially to think of sweets this way.  There's no question that a
system of rewards is a very effective way to influence behavior.  So how
do we, as low carbers, deal with this?  Certainly it's important that we
work on altering this tendency; few things could be more dangerous to us
than to think of the very substance we're addicted to, and which will
cause deadly illness, as our most desirable reward!  Yet we, like every
other thinking creature on the planet, will respond well to rewards --
and even respond well to rewards we give ourselves for sticking to our
low carbohydrate way of eating!

It is a conundrum, no?

Here's a few thoughts on how you can sidestep the Sugar Reward Pitfall,
while still motivating yourself with rewards.

* Rewards have different "periods" -- that is to say, we need little
bitty rewards for small tasks that don't take more than a few hours,
bigger rewards for, say, a good week's work, and *major* rewards for,
oh, completing a project that's taken us six months -- like writing a
book, maybe? ;-) Little rewards are going to be more frequent, and
therefore need to be inexpensive and completely harmless, while bigger
rewards are going to be less frequent, and therefore can cost more
money, and *maybe*, *sometimes*, involve an Indulgence.  It's using
sugar for your "little" rewards that will really get you in trouble.

* For middlin' to fairly big rewards -- like that reward for a good
week's hard work, or finishing a project that takes a week or two, or
reaching your latest 10 pound weight loss goal,  I'd think of something
other than food.  *Clothes* are *the* big reward for many dieters, and I
highly recommend that you indulge in them!  I don't care that you're
just going to shrink out of them in a few weeks!  Show off the
improvements you've already made.  It will lift your spirits, and
motivate you.  And think how good it will feel in six months to give
those clothes to the Goodwill to make room for your new, smaller
clothes!  (Speaking of the Goodwill, if you're on a tight budget,
shopping secondhand is a fine way to get good-looking clothes
inexpensively.  I've appeared on television in a suit I bought for $20
at a thrift shop -- a suit that came from a pricey, big name store, and
probably cost $500 new.  Your best bet for really nice clothes at great
prices are thrift shops in expensive neighborhoods -- especially those
that either sell on consignment, or that raise money for charity, since
either one of these offers the original owner some sort of monetary
return.  It's worth driving to the expensive side of town to shop at
these stores!)

* Other possible medium sized rewards:  A massage (Okay, I'm a massage
therapist, I'm biased!), a new shade of lipstick or new perfume, a
manicure or pedicure or both, the latest book by your favorite author
bought extravagantly in *hardcover*, a new computer game or new, cool
software, an hour's long distance phone call to an old friend, an hour
in the bathtub with a book and a glass of wine (I *love* this!!), dinner
out at your favorite place that serves utterly wonderful low carb food,
a beautiful arrangement of flowers, or a gorgeous flowering plant,
renting a dopey movie that *you* love, instead of what the family or
your spouse wants to see -- explain that it's your reward, and promise
to let them pick next time; an afternoon in a hammock in the shade.
Bet you can think of more!

* BIG rewards, for when you've really climbed the mountain!  How about a
vacation?  From a weekend at a bed and breakfast, or at one of those
"romance hotels" with your sweetie, to a ten-day Caribbean cruise, it's
hard to think of a better reward than this.  Hey, you deserve it!
Tickets to that show, game, or concert you *really* want to see.  A
professional makeover, or meeting with a fashion consultant.  You could
hire somebody else to do the task or tasks you most hate that you
usually tackle yourself, whether it's washing windows and baseboards, or
doing your taxes, or mowing the lawn and weeding the garden.  A day at a
day spa.  Real jewelry.  A big shipment of expensive, sugar-free goodies
from one of the websites that specialize in this stuff.  For that
matter, you could save up one of your Indulgences -- and if you've read
my book, you know that I feel that these should happen at infrequent
intervals; probably less often than one a month -- for a reward for a
big, long, major job well done.

* Little rewards are perhaps the most important to get a handle on,
because they're the ones we're going to need and use the most often.  We
can still use food as a reward if we want to, so long as we use low carb
foods.  I've suggested it before, and it's still good -- make out a list
of all the expensive, delicious, wonderful foods you *couldn't* have on
a low fat diet that you *can* have on your low carb diet, and *buy
them*.  If you're on a budget, just buy enough of these foods to be your
reward.  Instead of rewarding yourself with a cookie, you can have
macadamia nuts, or rich Boursin cheese on low carb crackers.  You can
keep your favorite low carb, sugar free sweets on hand -- the difference
between "I'm done with my task, so I'll have a piece of candy" and "I'm
done with my task, so I'll have some sugar free Jell-O or a sugar-free
fudge pop, or Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse to *DIE* For" is the
difference between craving more and more and satisfying your desire for
a sweet reward and not becoming crazy for another "fix".  You could also
try gourmet flavored coffees (NOT the instant ones with sugar and
artificial creamer added!) or teas as a reward, or a cup of Swiss Miss
Diet Hot Chocolate.

* You can also have little rewards that aren't food, and this is an
excellent habit to cultivate.  I reward myself when I finish an article
or some other writing task by allowing myself a little time to go yak on
the newsgroups.  (I'm a newsgroup junkie.  I could *easily* spend my
whole day doing this, if I let myself!  In fact, last year I gave up
newsgroups for Lent, and it was astonishing how much I got done.)  Or
I'll tell myself -- as I have today -- "It's a beautiful day.  When
you're done with this article, you can spend an hour walking in the
sunshine."  (Your work schedule may not permit this, but surely you
could take a fifteen minute break, go outdoors, walk around the building
or the block, do a few stretches, breathe a little.)  If you work in
town or in a mall it could be, "When I finish this, I'll let myself
spend fifteen minutes at my favorite shop."  (If I worked at the mall,
I'd spend fifteen minutes going to the pet store to visit the animals!)
Or keep the novel you're currently reading by your work station, and
tell yourself, "When I'm done with this, I can read the next chapter."
If you're working around the house, you can do these same things, and

One other thought on the subject of rewards, and particularly on the
subject of sugary foods as rewards:  When my mom brought this up, I
really thought about it, and I told her that probably the biggest thing
that caused me to shift away from sugar as a reward was a gut level
change in how I felt about it.  After all, we all operate from a sense
of reward and punishment.  I've become very, very clear that the taste
of sugar, no matter how good it might be (and much of that stuff doesn't
taste good to me anymore; it's just too darned sweet and fake tasting)
is inevitably followed by a crash.  I've actually gotten to the point
where I think "sugar", and immediately think "UGH!" instead of "Yum!",
because I'm thinking past the taste and the initial rush, to the crash.
Took a while, but I'm here.  If you can can reach the same place, I
assure you, it's a very nice place to be.

I want you to really give this matter of rewards some serious, creative
thought.  It can be one of the biggest factors in your long term
success.  Tell you what -- if you've come up with some really wonderful
reward that doesn't involve carbs, why don't you email me and tell me?
I'll publish the list in a future issue!


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

 This book is a great motivator!

I had read other books about low carb eating plans, but Dana Carpender's
is the best by far. She writes like she is talking to a good friend
which makes it extremely easy and also a very fast read! I read it twice
in the space of 3 days! I found it to be very motivating to keep me on
track and also very informative about many of the facets of low carbing
that most books make sound like medical gobbledygook! There are also
great ideas for maintaining a low carb lifestyle once your goal weight
is achieved!

Thanks, Dana for writing a great book, you've really helped me a lot!

 Andrea J McManus,  Huntsville, AL

Thank *you*, Andrea!!  It makes me so happy when I read these reviews!
Not only do I feel like I've helped people, a *huge* reward in and of
itself, but when you guys say things like "She writes like she is
talking to a good friend," I know that I hit the bulls eye with what I
was trying to do.  Boy, I'm starting to like this being an author stuff!

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, and you're in the United States, 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! (I'm
sorry to say we do not yet have an international wholesaler;
international sales will have to be via the internet, or a mailed check
or money order.)


Product Review

Would someone please rein in the marketing guys?  Who thought up
"McShakers"?  Who decided that we really wanted to eat our salad out of
a plastic cup?  No doubt they were trying to come up with something
catchy and new and fresh, but this just strikes me as dumb.

Okay, so the Grilled Chicken Caesar McShaker salad -- if you didn't
know, by now you've guessed that they're being sold at McDonald's -- is
an okay low carb lunch.  It has romaine lettuce instead of iceberg,
which right there puts it ahead of the pack, both in terms of taste and
of nutrition.  They've left out the pre-fab croutons you so often find
in cheap caesar salads, which is all to the good; those packaged
croutons not only are high carb, but they're gratuitously boring.  It
has a reasonable amount of chicken, and a fairly generous scattering of
parmesan cheese, which has been shredded rather than grated; a nice
touch.  The dressing is nothing to write home about, but then since when
do great salad dressings come in foil packets?  (Am I the only one who
finds it funny when I order a caesar salad and the kid manning the drive
up speaker asks, "What kind of dressing?"  Er, I'll have caesar dressing
with my caesar salad, thanks.)

And really, I don't expect anything exciting from a fast food salad,
anymore than I expect excitement from fast food *anything*.  I
considered it a rare, wonderful, improbable thing when, a few years
back, McDonald's actually had a grilled chicken salad that included not
only romaine, but radicchio and some other interesting greens.  And I'm
pleased to note that the McShaker line also includes a "chef's salad",
which I assume means that it includes strips of ham and turkey, and
shredded cheese.  (Hmmm.  Wonder if they've thrown in a half a hard
boiled egg?  Doubt it, but it would be nice...)  This should also be
acceptable for a low carb diet.

But the shaker thing is dopey.  It makes the salad harder to eat, and I
felt like a dip shaking up my salad in a cup. The worst thing about it,
however,  is that it has pretty much ruled out my favorite McD's lunch,
which was a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, without the bun, served on top
of a garden salad.  The hamburger patty just ain't goin' in the shaker,
and McD's doesn't have a plate available for me to assemble the whole
thing on.  I really liked the burger salad; it was fresh, and the meat
was still hot, which for some odd reason I can't explain made it seem
more like a meal to me.

So the good news is that McDonald's has two main dish salads that will
work for us; they're not terribly interesting, but they're fast, easy,
and low carb.  The bad news is that while they still have a garden
salad, they've traded the versatility of us being able to make it into a
meal for the marketing gimmick of the shaker.  One can only hope that
this, like so many other marketing gimmicks, is mercifully short lived.


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

Dana W. Carpender

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