Lowcarbezine! 12 July 2000

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Hey, Gang --

Welcome to this week's issue!  It kinda ran away with me, and there's a
lot here.  It's also very late as I write this, so I'm just going to say
-- Read on, and enjoy!



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Thought For The Week

Y'all are aware that low carbohydrate diets are a wee bit controversial,
right?  Raise your hand if you've had at least one person tell you how
your diet will give you heart disease, or give you cancer, or leave you
with no energy, or destroy your kidneys, or...  Thanks!  I needed the

I was at a party a while back, and started talking to a nice lady, who
was terribly interested to learn that I'd written a book.  Then somehow
-- I disremember how; I admit I'd had a couple of beers (light beers, of
course!) she mentioned how awful it was that all these people were
getting sucked into this unhealthy low carbohydrate diet fad.  My
husband was behind my back, signaling "NO!!  NO!!  Don't go there!!!"

It was too late, of course.  :-)

The nice lady (her name was Piper -- isn't that totally original?  Fit
her, too.), when she learned that my book was a low carbohydrate diet
book, was a little embarrassed, but she stood her ground.  She wanted to
know how I could back something so unhealthy -- all the medical writers
said low carb was dangerous, she pointed out.  It causes heart disease!
It causes cancer!  It will destroy your kidneys!  Etc, etc, etc.

As gently as I could -- after all, I can't blame her for having read all
that stuff; I can certainly understand where she got the idea that low
carb is evil -- I explained.  I pointed out that I had been on a low
carb diet for *five years* now -- did I look terribly unhealthy to her?
Did I appear to have no energy?  Then I let her in on some of the high
points of the research I've been reading all these years:  That a low
fat diet has been shown to do nothing to prevent breast cancer, and that
indeed it's beginning to look as if a very low fat diet, high in complex
carbohydrate, may well *increase* breast cancer risk.  That just this
April two articles appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, both
of which detailed 4-year studies that demonstrated that a low fat/high
fiber diet does *not* prevent colon cancer.  I told Piper about the
study done at Schneider's Children's Hospital in New Hyde Park, NY,
where the kids on the low carb/high fat diet lost twice as much weight
as the kids on the low fat/high carb diet -- and had a greater
improvement in their bloodwork, as well.

I pointed out that the Inuit (also known as the Eskimo) had lived for
*centuries* on a diet which, during all but a few brief months in the
summer, consisted *solely* of meat, fat, and fish -- yet they'd done
okay.   I pointed out that the traditional diet of the Masai people of
Africa was blood and milk, mixed -- not as low carb as meat, blubber,
and fish, but still quite low carb -- and they had thrived.  I pointed
out that grains and beans were a remarkably new addition to the human
diet, historically speaking, and mentioned the recent research into
hunter-gatherer diets which concluded that paleolithic people most
likely ate a low carbohydrate diet, with over fifty percent of their
calories coming from animal foods wherever the environment was rich
enough to support it.

Piper was intrigued.  "I haven't read *any* of this!" she said.  "Why
don't the medical writers cover this?" she asked.

Boy, ain't that the question of the year?

I've come to the conclusion that much of the medical community has a
quasi-religious faith in a low fat/high carbohydrate diet -- the sort of
belief that is irrational, and can't be shaken by mere research.  How
else to explain the reaction of one of the researchers at the National
Cancer Institute, who said, regarding his study's results showing that a
low fat/high fiber diet did *not* prevent colon cancer, "We were very
disappointed.  It would have been a strong statement."  It *was* a
strong statement -- just as Galileo's work was a strong statement that
the Church was wrong about the sun going around the Earth.  It just
wasn't a strong statement that affirmed the prevailing faith, and you
remember what happened to *him*.

I've also mentioned here before the woman who, in reaction to the
Schneider's Children's Hospital Study, said that she would still
hesitate to recommend a low carb diet, because after all, it wasn't
teaching children to eat a healthy diet long term.  Her faith in a low
fat diet was such that she could look at the hard statistics showing
that a low carb diet not only was twice as effective as a low fat diet
in treating obesity in these children, but also improved their bloodwork
considerably more than the low fat diet -- and still see the low fat
diet as manifestly "healthier".

I read the most interesting comments regarding the evils of low carb
dieting, and so often they reflect that faith.  At first -- back when I
started this -- they said that a low carbohydrate diet wouldn't work for
losing fat; all you lost was water.  (To which my response was always,
"FIVE GALLONS?!  I've lost *FIVE GALLONS* of water?!")  Then it became
clear that people were, indeed, losing more than water on a low carb
diet, and it wasn't all muscle mass, either.  The tune changed,
sometimes hilariously -- I've read that a low carbohydrate diet is
actually a low calorie diet.  May be, may not be -- but the Schneider's
Children's Hospital study demonstrated that, on a low carb diet, one can
eat more calories than on a low fat diet and still lose more weight.
I've read, "Yes, you can lose weight on a low carb diet, but you'll gain
it all right back when you go off the diet."  Well, er-DUH!  If you lose
weight on a low calorie diet, and then go back to eating your old number
of calories, think you might gain the weight back?

(Incidentally, regarding the old "It's only water weight" canard -- I've
read it again and again, but never once do the anti-low carb faithful
admit that for this very reason a low carb diet generally lowers blood
pressure *fast*.  Guess they think that taking diuretics is healthier.)

I've read statements about how people go on low carbohydrate diets
because "People like to think they can lose weight without changing the
way they eat."  Run that by me again?  Cutting out bread, potatoes,
pasta, cereal, and sweets isn't changing the way you eat?  This
statement comes from what I call the Church Of Pain -- "You're not doing
it right because you're not suffering."   Another remarkable statement
from this particular faith was, "It just fools your body into not being
hungry."  Like that's a *bad* thing!  But the winner of first prize for
True Believer in the Church Of Pain was "It only works by changing your
metabolism."  Yep.  This was actually stated as a reason why low
carbohydrate diets are a *bad* way to lose weight!

Not uncommonly, the low fat faithful contradict themselves -- I have an
article in front of me that states, "...everybody in the field already
knows that when people lose weight, *no matter how they do it* (emphasis
mine), they improve the levels of cholesterol and other blood products
that can be harbingers for cardiovascular disease."  Yet *one paragraph
later* it says that the fats in the Atkins diet cause "a greater risk of
dying from heart disease" even though the diet causes weight loss --
this, by the way, is in an article explaining away a recent study
showing that the Atkins diet indeed does cause weight loss and lower
cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL, just as Doc Atkins has
claimed all these years.  (I talk about that study later in this issue.)

The same article, by the way, repeats the old scare about ketosis --
refers to ketones as "chemicals like the ones found in nail-polish
remover", as if that meant a thing.  Breathing causes your body to
create carbon dioxide, as found in auto exhaust, too -- does that make
breathing a bad idea?  Diets creating *extreme* ketosis have been used
for *decades* for seizure control in children, with remarkably few
health problems, but apparently these folks missed it.

And of course, I still read the old, disproven stuff about how a low fat
diet is essential to preventing breast cancer and colon cancer, which
only goes to show that these folks haven't been keeping up with the

Of course, there's a risk that we could all become true believers as
well -- the low carb faithful.  In the interest of keeping my mind, and
yours, open and functioning, let me state right here that I do not know
if my diet -- or your diet, or the Atkins diet, or the Heller's diet, or
any other low carb diet -- is the *best*, most ideal diet for human
health.  I do not know if one best diet even exists.  I do not know
whether it is safe to eat unlimited quantities of red meat, or whether
the difference between the fatty acid profile of the game we evolved on
and the fatty acid profile of today's feedlot meat is crucial.  For that
matter, I don't know whether the increased exposure to synthetic
hormones and other chemicals concentrated in meat fats are a serious
risk, or only a small one.  I do not know if we would be better off to
eat less red meat and more fish, or less fish and more poultry, or if
eggs are *the* ticket to good health.  I don't know whether eating lots
of butter and sour cream and cheese is ideal, or whether, as the
paleodieters insist, dairy products are a bad idea because they're a
more recent addition to human nutrition than meat, eggs, nuts, seeds,
fruits and vegetables. I don't know whether it is best to eat as much
protein as possible, or to eat just about one's protein requirement for
the day, and make up the rest of one's calories in fats -- although
that's the way I'm currently leaning.

Nutrition is a *very* new and dauntingly complicated science, and hard
research into specific differences in the various low carb diets is
virtually nonexistent.  We may all have to adjust our diets accordingly,
as new research comes to light -- I've already lessened my consumption
of soy products, for example.  I'm comfortable with that sense of
incomplete knowledge, and I hope you are too.

Of this much I am relatively convinced:  That a diet very low in fats in
general is a very bad idea.  That eating large amounts of carbohydrate
is prejudicial to the health of a substantial subset of the population.
That eating any sizable quantity of highly processed carbohydrate is bad
for everybody.  That it is virtually impossible for large quantities of
grains and beans to be essential to human health, since large quantities
of these foods have only been available for a tiny fraction of human
history.  That *my* health, and the health of a large but indeterminate
number of people has been greatly improved by eating a diet low in
carbohydrate, and higher in protein and fat.  Perhaps my health would be
improved more by altering my diet yet again -- time will tell -- but
that I am healthier now than I was on a low fat/high carb diet is

For all the rest, I wait with interest, and an open mind.


Frequently Asked Question

Got this one again recently:

My husband and kids are "meat and potatoes" eaters.  What can I serve
for dinner without cooking two meals?

I confess, I get flummoxed by this question -- maybe I'm not reading
something into it that is actually there.  It seems to me that feeding
meat and potatoes types and low carbers at the same meal is a piece of
cake.  (Sugar free cake.  Made with soy flour.  Whatever.)  After all,
you eat meat, they eat meat.  See, you've got half the meal in common
already!  It's feeding Hamburger Helper types and low carbers at the
same meal that gets tedious.

All joking aside, the easiest way to construct a meal for "normal"
eaters and low carbers is, indeed, along a "meat-and-potatoes" sort of
line.  You make the protein course separately -- a steak, chops,
chicken, a roast, burgers, whatever.  You make a side dish of some sort
of starch -- hopefully brown rice or baked potatoes rather than Minute
Rice or Tater Tots.  And you fix a vegetable or two.  (You *are* feeding
your children vegetables other than potatoes, right?)  If you're pressed
for time, no reason that the vegetable can't be pre-cut cauliflower,
broccoli, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and celery from the grocery store
salad bar with jarred dip, or plain frozen vegetables nuked in the
microwave, or bagged salad with a (low carb) bottled dressing.  Et voila
-- you eat a goodly portion of the flesh du jour, and a heapin' helpin'
of veggies. Everybody else eats the protein, the veggies, and the starch
dish.  How easy was that?

This sort of meal should feed even the pickiest meat and potatoes
crowd.  After all, it's when you get into casseroles and such that
pickiness really rears its ugly head.  To quote the immortal Peg
Bracken, "Most men don't regard the casserole too highly.  You seldom
hear a man reply, if  you're so foolish as to ask him what he'd like for
dinner, "Why don't you make that good prune-chicken-broccoli
whatchamacallit?"  If you retitle it a Stew or a Goulash, it stands a
slightly better chance with him.  even so, he'd rather have a piece of
meat, or, at any rate, a hamburger in recognizable form."  The same is
true, for the most part, of picky kids.  (You, on the other hand, may be
getting bored.  You'll have to decide which is worse, being bored, or
cooking more.)

(Digression:  If you haven't read Peg Bracken's cookbooks, you're
missing out.  Not only are they *wildly* useful, even though they're not
low carb cookbooks, they're also very, very funny.  You *need* _The
Compleat I Hate To Cook Book_.  Really.  You can get it at
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0883657945/lowcarbohysoluti .  We
now return you to our regularly scheduled ezine.)

So go ahead.  Take the easy route, and serve good ol' plain meat.  Broil
a steak.  Pan fry some chops.  Broil those burgers.  Serve up a ham
slice.  (These are a very convenient form of ham, by the way, since they
cook quickly, which is more than you can say for a whole roast ham!
Just read the labels to be sure you're getting the brand with the least
added sugar.)  Roast some chicken quarters, or even a whole chicken.
Short on time?  Grill or sauté boneless, skinless chicken breasts, roast
some wings -- they roast *fast* -- or bring home a rotisserie chicken or

In truth, I grew up on these very simple meals, because my father was,
and still is, a notably picky eater.  Here's a list of the most common
dinner menus in my household when I was growing up:

Hamburgers, rice, spinach, salad
Chicken (plain roasted), rice, green beans
Steak, baked potatoes, spinach, salad
Spam, macaroni and cheese, green beans, salad
Lamb chops, baked potatoes, broccoli (spinach for Dad, who wouldn't eat
broccoli if his life depended on it.)
Roast pork, roast potatoes (peeled, cut in chunks, and roasted in the
pan, around the pork), applesauce, salad, cooked carrots
Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, green beans

Oh, we had the occasional tuna casserole, but for the most part, it was
this very simple pattern -- meat, starch, vegetable, salad.  On Sundays,
it was more likely to be a roast of some sort -- for instance, roast
beef, Yorkshire pudding (like a big popover made with the beef drippings
instead of shortening), mashed potatoes, gravy, spinach (or green beans,
or cooked carrots -- they're the only vegetables my dad will eat.),
salad.  The basic pattern remains, and it's still an easy one for us low
carb dieters -- eat the meat and the vegetables, omit the starch from
your plate.

What about recipes like meat loaf?  You can make meat loaf with no bread
crumbs or cereal; I've done it, and it works fine.  Me, I add a little
oat bran (16 g usable carb per 1/3 cup), but admit that this will only
save you a couple of grams of carb, so I also cut back on the quantity.
You could use a couple of slices of "lite bread" -- Pepperidge Farm
makes one.  Or you could do what my sister does, and use crushed pork
rinds instead of the bread crumbs.  If you do this, leave out the salt
that's in your usual recipe, since pork rinds are salty.

But when you do something like this, altering a recipe to cut the carbs
a bit,  the one thing you must *never* do is *tell your family*!
Chances are excellent that if you leave everything else in the recipe
the same -- the seasonings and such -- they'll never notice unless you
tell them!  Just put it in front of them, and zip your lip.

What if you're worried about your kids and/or your spouse eating too
many carbs?  Maybe they are overweight, too, or have other carb
intolerance problems. With your spouse, I'm afraid I have to say, hey,
he/she is a grown up, and grown ups get to choose their own diet.
Nagging and whining will only make him/her dig in his/her heels, and
will make him/her angry and resentful to boot.  However, that being
said, if that spouse eats a lot of garbage-y, carb-y foods, and then
complains about his/her health, energy level, mood swings, weight,
whatever, I do think that you're entitled to say, "Look, I love you.  I
care about you.  I want you to be well.  You know that I think you eat a
lousy diet, and that it bugs me to the core.  That's your choice, but if
you're going to eat garbage, I don't want to hear about how lousy you
feel.  You can fix the problem, and you choose not to.  Fine, but leave
me out of it."

Kids, I confess, I can only theorize about and observe second hand,
since I haven't got any.  However, I would once again strongly recommend
the Sneaky Method of Nutritional Improvement.  (There was a health food
cookbook back in the '70s called _Confessions of a Sneaky Organic Cook_;
I still have it on my cookbook shelf.  If you ever see it at a used
bookstore, you might want to pick it up.)  If at all possible, keep any
and all nutritional changes a deep, dark secret.  Certainly you should
never deliberately *tell* them that you've changed a recipe for their
own good!  The bonus is that the recalcitrant spouse may never notice,

For instance, I  recommended that you serve brown rice instead of Minute
Rice (or, for that matter, regular old white rice.)  But I certainly
wouldn't suggest pointing the change out to them!  Just serve it,
preferably with plenty of butter or gravy.  It's not terribly different
from white rice, except for the nutritional content and glycemic
impact.  (It does have a texture that is a lot different from that of
Minute Rice -- and the difference is all in favor of the brown rice, if
you ask me.  I never liked Minute Rice, never-never-never.  If you've
been using Minute Rice, I'd go for a sequential change -- first to
regular white rice -- "converted rice" is minutely more nutritious than
the other stuff -- and then to brown.)  Chances are, if you can refrain
from saying, "Here, try this, it's good for you!", and can keep the smug
expression off your face, they won't cop to the change.

Never cooked real rice?  It takes longer to cook than Minute Rice --
like, duh! -- but it's actually no more work.  You measure out the rice
-- figure it will grow roughly four times in cooking -- and put it in a
pan *that has a tight-fitting lid*, and add twice as much water as rice.
Cover it.  Put it on a burner at lowest temperature.  Leave it alone for
a good twenty minutes (for converted rice) or half-hour (for brown
rice).  You can, of course, be getting the rest of the meal together
during this time!  (Or having a drink in front of the TV, instead.  I
mean, what do I care?)  Check the rice.  If there's still *any water at
all*, it's not done.  If all the water's gone, bite *one grain* to see
if it's soft through.  If so, it's done.  If not, add another few
tablespoons of water, put the lid back on, and let it sit there for
another five-ten minutes, and check again.  DO NOT STIR THE RICE.
Stirring will make it sticky.  As you can see, this is hardly a
labor-intensive operation, here!

As for pasta, you could try whole wheat pasta on them, but I'm betting
you won't get away with it.  Unlike brown rice, it's very different from
its highly refined counterpart -- doughy, and with a pronounced flavor
of its own.  However, there are a couple of kinds of pasta which are
nutritionally superior to your standard white flour pasta, yet are
virtually indistinguishable in texture and flavor.  One is protein
enriched pasta, which you can get from Pavico Foods (
http://www.pavico.com ).  I reviewed this pasta several months back, and
can attest that it has the flavor, the texture, and the appearance of
standard high quality pasta.  (It's even low enough in carbs that you
might fit a half-cup serving into *your* dinner occasionally.)  The
other is DeBoles brand Jerusalem Artichoke Pasta -- sounds dreadful, I
know, but it too tastes like the real stuff, and has a more moderate
blood sugar impact, because Jerusalem Artichokes derive much of their
carbohydrate content from a carb called inulin, which has the lowest
blood sugar impact of *any* carb yet tested.  The DeBoles Jerusalem
Artichoke pasta is widely distributed in health food stores in the US.

Then there's potatoes.  On the one hand, nothing you can do will make
potatoes anything but a very high impact carb.  On the other hand,
there's high impact, and then there's *high impact*.  Fresh, real
potatoes, preferably the red ones, served boiled, have the lowest blood
sugar impact of any form of potatoes.  (Why?  Well, first of all, the
red "boiling" potatoes actually have a slightly lower starch content.
Also,  mashing potatoes makes them easier to digest and absorb, raising
the blood sugar impact, and baking them drives off moisture,
concentrating the starch, and raising the blood sugar impact.  When you
boil them, they absorb some water, diluting the carbs a bit.)  *Avoid
instant mashed potatoes like the plague*.  They're sugar-shock in a
box.  Baked potatoes are even slightly higher impact, but at least have
a few of their vitamins left.  French fries have a very slightly lower
blood sugar impact;  that's largely because of the fat in them, and when
they're commercially made fries, the fats used are likely to be of the
very worst sort -- old, overheated, multiply re-used, hydrogenated
vegetable oil.  Better to feed them homemade mashed, boiled, baked or
fried.  Cheaper, too.

Have you been relying on frozen potatoes, instant mashed, or Betty
Crocker mixes, because fresh potatoes can take a while to cook?  Here's
a few ideas:

* If your family likes baked potatoes, but they take too long for you to
serve them on days you've been at work, you can speed them up a bit by
boiling them for 5 minutes, or by running an aluminum nail or a skewer
lengthwise through each one before putting them in the oven.  Either
way, you'll speed them up by at least 15 minutes.  Also remember that
you can bake a potato at anywhere from 325 up to, oh, round about 475,
and you know how they're going to bake faster!

* If you don't want to turn on the oven just for a couple of baked
potatoes, (especially in the summer!), you can, of course, microwave
them, but I never thought microwaved baked potatoes were much of a
substitute for the real deal.

* I found a couple of neat ideas in an old, old book of household hints
for how to bake potatoes more rapidly, without turning on the oven.  One
idea is to wrap three or four medium sized potatoes (well scrubbed, of
course, and with the skins greased, if that's how you like them) snugly
in a couple of layers of aluminum foil, and then lay the whole package
on a gas burner turned to the lowest setting.  Turn every now and then,
and test with a fork for doneness.  The other idea was to bake a potato
on the stovetop, in a coffee can -- set a jar lid inside the coffee can,
put the potato on the jar lid, cover the can with a pot lid that fits
(or foil if you don't have a lid that fits), and set the whole thing on
a burner over the lowest flame.  The book claims this takes about 20
minutes -- but I'm not sure you're fitting more than one potato in that
coffee can!  This, however, could be convenient in a household where
only one person wanted a baked potato with dinner.

* Before I went low carb, I used to bake potatoes in my toaster oven
like this:  I'd cut them into chunks, roughly an inch and half by an
inch, and toss them with a little olive oil with garlic in it.  I'd put
them on a tray in the toaster oven at 350, and they'd be done in 15
minutes or so.  You can sprinkle these with oregano, or toss them with a
little parmesan cheese, or both, if the family likes.

* As mentioned earlier, the little red "new" potatoes are the easiest on
blood sugar of all the potatoes if served boiled, which is the
traditional way to serve this sort of potato anyway.  They're easy, and
fairly quick cooking, to boot.  Just butter 'em and maybe sprinkle 'em
with a little chopped parsley (except the kids might say, "Ooooh, what's
that green stuff?")  Do *not* mistake "easiest on blood sugar" to mean
"acceptable on a low carb diet".  They're still a high impact carb,
they're just going to be a little better for your family of picky
eaters, that's all.

* Canned potatoes are already cooked, of course, and have a relatively
low blood sugar impact as potatoes go.  If you want "convenience
potatoes" they're likely to be a better bet than the boxed or frozen.
Cut them in chunks or slices and fry them in butter or oil until they're
getting browned and crispy around the edges.  You could throw in a
little onion with this if you think the troops would like it.  Or not.

Especially if your kids and/or spouse are also overweight, or have other
signs of carb intolerance, keep in mind that the rice and the
protein-enriched pasta are going to be easier on their blood sugar and
insulin release than the potatoes.  Also keep in mind that *portions*
matter -- we've become accustomed to the *huge* baked potatoes that
restaurants serve, but a "serving" of potatoes is actually a potato
about the size of a tennis ball.  Choose potatoes at the store
accordingly.  Also remember that the more protein and/or healthy fats
you can get into them at the same time, the more the blood sugar impact
will be blunted.  Serve some cheese on those potatoes!

What about *bread*?  I'm afraid that there's little redeeming
nutritional value to white bread.  The term "enriched" is a joke; it
means they've removed over 35 nutrients that have been identified so
far, and added back five.  Further, the stuff is definitely high
impact.  Sadly, most whole wheat bread is also high impact, although it
contains a few more vitamins and minerals, and a bit of fiber.  There
are only a couple of kinds of bread that have a moderate blood sugar
impact -- one is whole grain rye bread, and we all know the odds of
getting most American kids to try *that*!  (Funny thing is, Polish kids
and Russian kids and all sorts of Slavic kids grow up loving the
stuff...)  The other, though, you might have a chance with -- pita
bread.  For some weird reason, pita bread, the round stuff with the
pocket in the middle, has a lower impact than bread that comes in a
loaf, and I've known a lot of kids who like it.  Whole wheat is best,
but white flour pita bread is definitely a better choice than squishy
white loaf bread.

Before I wrap this up -- it seems this article has run away with me! --
let's touch on a few of the commonly served non-meat-and-potatoes menus
served in your average American household, and how you can serve them
without cooking a separate meal for yourself.

* Spaghetti, and other pasta:  Make spaghetti with meat balls, leaving
the bread crumbs out of the meat balls.  Choose or make a tomato sauce
with no sugar or corn syrup (or honey or fruit juice concentrate, if
you're buying it at a health food store.)  If you're concerned about the
kids' blood sugar, choose one of the superior pastas mentioned above.
Make a big salad, too.  The family gets spaghetti, meat balls, sauce,
parmesan cheese, and salad.  *You* get meat balls, sauce, cheese, and
salad.  Wasn't that easy?

* Tacos or burritos:  You can either have a plate of ground beef burrito
filling with all the toppings -- grated cheese, sour cream, shredded
lettuce, etc, by itself, or you can serve yours on top of a bed of
lettuce.  Or you can buy La Tortilla Factory Low Carb Tortillas and
serve yours in one of them.

* Chili:  Make all-meat chili with your usual seasonings, and let those
who like them add the beans to their bowl.

* Anything served over rice or noodles:  Depending on the sauce -- many
sauces have starchy thickeners in them -- you may be able to eat these
by themselves.

I'm afraid that the vast majority of packaged meal "helpers", frozen
"complete meal, just stir fry" packages, and the like won't work for
us.  But then, they tend to be bland and boring and overpriced anyway.

As for sweets, well, you know how I feel.  I consider sugar to be a
highly addictive, very dangerous recreational drug.  It also now
comprises a full 50% of the average American child's diet.  If you're
allowing your children to eat this way, "because they like it", all I
can say is SHAME ON YOU!  Would you let them have whiskey if they liked
it?  How about if they whined and begged and nagged, and said that all
the other kid's parents let them have all the whiskey they wanted?  It
is a parent's job to say NO when it is appropriate, and to continue to
say no in the face of their child's wheedling and attempts to

I'm not suggesting that you can keep sugar away from your children if
they're old enough to go out of the house without you.  You can't.  But
you don't have to buy it for them.  If it's so important to them to have
Lucky Charms and Froot Loops and Shark Bites and NesQwik and Coca-Cola
and all the other rubbish that poses as food, let them spend *their*
money on it.  Then make sure their allowances aren't too big, and let
them know that if they want more money, they can jolly well work for it.

And if you suspect they're *seriously* addicted, count the money in your
wallet.  Take it from one who stole to support her childhood sugar

However, try them out on some of the sugar free desserts.  I've never
had *anybody* not like Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse To DIE For!, the
recipe for which is at my website. ( http://www.holdthetoast.com )  The
sugar free fudge pops I reviewed a few months back tasted just like
Fudgesicles to me -- try handing them one without showing them the box.
Ditto sugar-free ice pops and such, and sugar free gelatin.  Try feeding
them a PB&J sandwich made with natural (sugarless) peanut butter and
all-fruit preserves, or Splenda sweetened preserves (available from
http://www.synergydiet.com , among others.)

If you want to bake for them, here's a few points you might keep in

* The sugar in most recipes can be cut by 1/4 or more without much
effecting the results.

* For that matter, you could cut back on sugar and add some Splenda to
bring the recipe up to sweetness.  (Sugar, in many recipes for baked
goods, effects texture as well as flavor.)

* Sucanat -- dried whole sugar cane juice, ground into a coarse powder
-- is available at health food stores, and in baked goods it tastes
remarkably like brown sugar.  It is still a form of sugar, and will
effect blood sugar accordingly, but at least it contains some vitamins
and minerals, which is a heckuva lot more than you can say for either
white or brown sugar.

* For that matter, in recipes where sugar isn't needed for texture, a
half-teaspoon of dark molasses for each half-cup of Splenda will give a
brown sugar flavor with few carbs.

* The nutritional value of anything made with white flour can be
increased without effecting flavor or texture by putting 1 tablespoon of
powdered milk, 1 tablespoon soy flour, and 1 teaspoon wheat germ for
each cup of flour to be used into the measuring cup before measuring the
flour.  This is an old trick called "Cornell Triple Rich".

* Most cookie recipes are improved by substituting oatmeal for half of
the flour.  It's more nutritious, and it adds fiber, which will slightly
lower the blood sugar impact.

* Adding chopped nuts (or, for that matter, sunflower seeds) will add
protein and healthy fats, and again, will somewhat blunt the blood sugar

* Consider making recipes with a strong protein-fat component, like
peanut butter cookies, rather than cookies that are largely sugar and
flour, like sugar cookies or chocolate chip cookies.

How about "snack foods"?  (Boy, there's an oxymoron if ever I heard
one.)  It's good to know that *3 cups* of popcorn contains fewer grams
of carbohydrate than about 15 potato chips.  It's cheaper, too,
especially if you use a popcorn popper instead of buying packages of
microwave popcorn.  (Microwave popcorn is often loaded with hydrogenated
oils.  Better the kids should eat butter.)  And I haven't yet met a kid
who turned up his or her nose at peanuts in the shell.  Why in the
shell?  Because the shells slow them down, that's why.  And of course,
you know about pork rinds -- no carbs, lower in fat than potato chips
(!), and fairly high in protein.

Of course, you could offer them fruits and vegetables. ;-)

Beverages may be a harder nut to crack.  I can't recommend diet pop,
since kids tend to put down any soda by the gallon -- or the 2 liter
bottle -- and I'm not entirely comfortable with that level of aspartame
consumption for adults, much less kids.  (I wouldn't be adverse to a can
a day or so, if it doesn't trigger any sort of nasty symptom.)  Iced tea
is fine; try sweetening it with stevia or Splenda; if you prefer they
not get caffeine, decaf tea, both instant and regular, is widely
available.  Lemonade can also be made with stevia or Splenda.  Most
juice, other than lemon and lime,  is *loaded* with sugar -- apple juice
actually contains more sugar than an equivalent amount of soda pop, and
only a trace of vitamins and minerals.  You could be radical, and
suggest that they drink *water*.  (One trick that helps some with
younger kids, at least in the summer -- install a water fountain on the
back yard faucet.  They'll be more likely to drink a little water when
they're thirsty, rather than traipsing in demanding sweetened beverages
and tracking up your nice clean kitchen floor.)

Remember, one can of Coke has just a little under a *quarter cup* of
sugar in it.

Whew.  Covered a *lot* of ground, here!!  I'd better get to the rest of
the 'zine, or I'll never get to bed before midnight!

But before closing this out, I'd like to voice a stern reminder, here:
The potato recipes, the baking suggestions, etc, etc, are not for *YOU*,
the low carb dieter.  They are offered as ways to improve the
nutritional status and health of those in your household who are *not*
low carb dieters, and perhaps start to stabilize their blood sugar
enough so that they spontaneously start to crave less of the junk.  You,
you stick with the program, you hear?


CarbSmart - Smart choice for a low carb lifestyle - is proud to sponsor
Hold The Toast's Lowcarbezine! For the month of July, we are selling
Dana's book _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_ for
$8.99 - that's 30% off of cover price! We have all of your favorite low
carb products on sale for at least *20% off list price*! Come visit us
at http://www.carbsmart.com .


Atkins Diet Found Safe and Effective!

Finally, somebody did a clinical study of a very low carb diet!  Durham
VA Medical Center in North Carolina presented the results of their study
of 41 mildly obese individuals to the Southern Society of General
Internal Medicine at their meeting in New Orleans.

The study ran for four months, and the participants not only reduced
carb intake to 20 g per day or less, they also took vitamins and fish
oil, and exercised at least 20 minutes, three times a week -- hardly a
rigorous workout schedule.  The average weight loss over 4 months time
was 21.3 pounds.

The participants also showed an average drop in total cholesterol of
6.1%, and a drop in triglycerides of nearly 40%.  The average rise in
HDL was 7%.  Theoretically, this translates into a substantially reduced
risk of heart disease.

Interestingly and importantly, the study did not find any problems with
liver or kidney function.  Critics of low carbohydrate diets frequently
hurl accusations of kidney and liver damage at low carb diets,
especially ketogenic diets, even though kidney problems have been
uncommon even on diets used for seizure control, which cause much deeper
ketosis than the Atkins diet.

Said Dr. Eric C. Westman, assistant professor of medicine at Duke
University in North Carolina, and the head researcher for the study, "In
four short months on the Atkins Diet, we were able to confirm
scientifically what Dr. Atkins states he has seen in his practice over
the past decades.  The diet lowers cholesterol and triglycerides and
raises HDL... which may represent an entirely new approach to the
control and prevention of heart disease."

The study is continuing, which will give us much needed and useful
information about the long term effects of low carb diets.

Well, about darn time, wouldn't you say?


Cruise!!!  Cruise!!!  Cruise!!!

Come cruise the Caribbean with me!  You know you want to!!  We're going
to have whole lot of fun, learn a lot, get away from *WINTER* (which
*is* coming, you know!), get rid of the holiday stress, get the New Year
off to a *great* start, sample new low carb products, learn way-cool
breathing exercises to accelerate metabolism -- all on an outrageously
luxurious and beautiful floating resort called the Carnival Victory, the
newest, largest, and most luxurious ship in the Carnival fleet!  You
have to see this ship to believe it!  And we're going to Mexico, Grand
Cayman, and Jamaica!  How cool is *that*?!

So come meet me!  Get an autographed preview copy of my second book!
Meet new low carb pals!  Knock off another five pounds!  And have a
*ball*!  We sail on January 7th, 2001 (You'll want to be in Miami by the
evening of the 6th -- we can arrange that, too.) for a full week!

But you want to get your reservations in *now* -- before August 5th.
Why?  Because just like with airlines, you get a better rate with cruise
lines if you *book in advance*.  So book *now* -- your deposit is fully
refundable through October 15th, should anything untoward happen.  Check
out all the details of the cruise at
http://www.holdthetoast.com/cruise.html .

C'mon, which would you rather be doing come the second week in January?
Shoveling snow?  Or sailing blue waters with me and a whole bunch of low
carb diet pals?


Product Review

This is a quickie, folks -- just to let you know of another fast food
joint that's doin' us right.  I recently stopped in at a local Arby's,
just planning to get an iced tea, only to find that they had a chicken
caesar salad on the menu.  I was a might peckish, so I figured what the
heck?  Give it a try.

Darned if that wasn't the best fast food chicken caesar I've had so
far.  Fresh, big, plenty of chicken.  Plenty of parmesan.  Even included
a couple of tomato wedges and a couple of cucumber slices.   All told,
it was a pleasant surprise.  I'd pick an Arby's over any of the
competition, at this point, on the strength of this salad alone -- and
they have a couple more I haven't checked out..

While we're on the subject of fast food salads, after I reviewed the
McDonald's McSalad Shakers, I got an email from a reader who had heard a
rumor that the McD's chicken for their salad was actually reconstituted
-- ground up and then pressed back into shape, and included sugar and
other carbs.  Accordingly, I called McDonald's Central for the straight

The nice man was very helpful.  No, he said, no reconstituted chicken
here -- grilled chicken breast, romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, your
basic, real, foodstuffs.  I believe him -- there are *major* lawsuits
waiting for any food corporation that lies about their ingredients, so
they're not about to take that risk.

And while he was at it, he gave me some info about the Chef McSalad
Shaker.  It contains lettuce, tomato, ham, turkey, and hardboiled egg --
a nice little low carb meal or snack, although I still hope they lose
the stupid shaker soon.

All told, things are looking good for us at the fast food joints,
although Burger King needs to get with the program and at least bring
back their side salads.  I haven't bought much but iced tea at a BK
since they dropped their Garden Salad, and it's such a shame.  I used to
have such fun ordering a Whopper, hold bun...


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!

You can read this and other reviews of _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet
and Lost Forty Pounds!_ at

And you can read the first chapter of _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and
Lost Forty Pounds!_ for FREE at http://www.holdthetoast.com !  You can
order the book through the order page on the website, through
Amazon.com, or -- and this is a *very good deal!* through Carb Smart, at
http://www.carbsmart.com .

If you'd like to order the book through a local bookstore, you should be
able to do so virtually anywhere in the USA -- just give them the title,
_How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_, and the ISBN
(0-9668831-0-1), and tell them it's available through Baker and Taylor
-- that's our wholesaler!

International readers, I'm afraid you'll have to order through the
internet, or by sending us a check or money order here at Hold the Toast
Press -- we don't have an international wholesaler yet. :-(  But we've
shipped as far as Japan!  We'd be happy to ship to you!


Upcoming Review!

Just a quick note to let you in on what's coming -- I received, just
today, a copy of a new cookbook called _Baking Low Carb_, by Diana Lee.
Just a quick glance through this cookbook is pretty exciting -- I find
recipes for Custard Pecan Pie, Chocolate Cake Roll, Homemade Ice Cream
Bars, Shortcake, Chocolate Muffins, even pumpkin pie for your
Thanksgiving dinner!  Of course, the proof is in the baking.  I'll be
trying a few of these recipes, and I'll let you know what I think soon!

Dana W. Carpender

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