Lowcarbezine! 27 September 2000

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Hey, Gang!

Hope your weather has been as nice as mine today!  It was very, very
hard to sit inside and write this on such a beautiful day, and I finally
got sucked out the door for a walk, or this might have been earlier!

As it is, I think it's time for dinner...  Yes, 9:30; definitely time
for dinner!

Read on!



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Thought For The Week

Let's talk for a few minutes about the concept of "whole foods".  "Whole
foods" has been a battle cry of the health food and nutrition industry
for decades now, but the concept is generally applied to concentrated
carbohydrate foods.  There's no question that whole grain bread is
nutritionally superior to white "enriched" bread, or that brown rice is
better for you than white.  But does this whole foods concept apply to
us low carb types, who aren't, for the very most part, eating grains?

I think it does, and I may surprise you with some of the ways I think it
applies to us.

Most low carbers eat quite a bit of meat, fish, and poultry.  Are these
whole foods?  Not as most Americans eat them.  (Once again, I'm forced
to admit my ignorance of the eating habits of my international
readers!)  Why?  Because where meat is concerned, the "whole food" would
be the whole animal, or at least all the edible bits.  (You're excused
from eating teeth and hair!)  This is how our ancestors ate animal foods
-- indeed, the organ meats were considered the choicest parts, superior
to the muscle meats.  For that matter, it wasn't that long ago that such
things as marrow toast were offered on very fancy dinner menus.
(Personally, I've always loved marrow; I started eating it out of the
ring-shaped bones in my lamb chops when I was too young to have
developed a prejudice about it.)

 Yet not only do most Americans eat only the skeletal muscle meats,
we're tending more and more to buying boneless cuts, thus ignoring the
most important traditional source of calcium in the human diet.  Another
thing we miss by eating only boneless cuts is the gristle -- now, you
may not think of gristle as food, but I can assure you that your
ancestors did, and if they didn't gnaw it off the ends of the bones,
they got it in the soup that they made when the bones were picked
clean.  I find it ironic that one of the hottest selling supplements
today -- glucosamine -- is basically a substitute for the cartilage
we're no longer getting with our food.

I am confident that by now, a sizable percentage of my audience is
squirming, making faces, and saying "EEEEEWWWWWW!!  Cartilage?  Marrow?
Organ meats?  No way!!"  Hey, I'm information, not enforcement; I'm not
telling you you *have* to eat these things; I'm pointing out some
possible gaps in the low carb diet as many of us are eating it.
Knowledge is power -- once you know this stuff, you can figure out ways
to plug the gaps without grossing yourself right out of existence.

Like by making your own soup from bones.  This is the easiest, least
"weird" way to get the nutritional goodness of bones, cartilage, and
marrow, without grossing yourself out or provoking a hunger strike among
the family members.  I've mentioned before that I save all of my chicken
bones, no matter how cleanly picked (except for those cooked with strong
flavorings, like curry or tomato sauce) to boil up for soup.  I save
them in a plastic grocery sack in the freezer until I have a pot full.
Then I put them in my big soup pot, cover them with water, add a bit of
salt or Vege-Sal and a quarter-cup of vinegar -- the vinegar draws the
calcium out of the bones, into the broth.  I simmer them on the lowest
flame for several hours, then cool it, strain it, and discard the
bones.  The resulting chicken broth is remarkably flavorful, and has not
only the calcium that leached out of the bones, but a great deal of
gelatin from the cartilage -- very good for the ol' joints.  Makes
really wonderful soup, too!

Another good thing to do is to cook boney cuts of meat in an acidic
sauce -- say, one containing tomatoes, or vinegar, or lemon juice.
Again, some of the goodness of the bones will end up in the sauce this
way, and the resulting dish will be more nutritious -- and more "whole"
-- than if you'd made it with a boneless cut.  And if you like gelatin,
you can add some of the nutritional value of cartilage back to your diet
by eating it, whether in desserts, aspics, or molded salads and other
dishes.  Chicken wings are high in gelatin, too, which is part of why
they're so juicy and succulent!

How about organ meats?  Well, personally, I like chicken livers, and I'm
very fond of liverwurst, so I've sort of got the liver thing covered.
There's always chopped liver, too -- would be mighty good on Fiber Rich
or Bran-a-Crisp crackers, if you ask me.  However, I know there are
many, many liver-phobes out there.  It's too bad, too, because it's hard
to think of a meat that has a higher nutritional value, which is why
liver has been considered among the healthiest of health foods,
historically.  There are liver tablets available, if you like, at
virtually any health food store.

Of course, the liver is the organ which filters toxins out of the body,
which causes a lot of people to worry about it.  I personally think that
liver's nutritional value outweighs any risks, especially if you buy
organically raised liver.  I don't usually spend the extra money for
organic meat, but where liver's concerned, I think it makes sense.  (By
the way, filtering toxins isn't the only thing the liver does by a long
shot.  It's the chemical plant of the body, where all sorts of things
are turned into all sorts of other things.  Really quite amazing.  And
of course, the toxins that are filtered don't all stay in the liver,
they get passed out of the body!)  By the way, should you decide to buy
liver tablets, you can get ones that are made from liver either from
Argentina, or from New Zealand, both of which are considerably stricter
about chemicals in livestock than the US, at least last I knew.

I'll confess that currently my only contact with other organ meats comes
from chicken giblets -- the heart and the gizzard.  The traditional
thing to do with these, of course, is to boil 'em,  mince 'em up fine
and put 'em in the gravy, along with the water you boiled them in.  This
is a fine idea.  You could also, if you're not a gravy making sort, save
them with the bones, and chop them up in the soup.  You'll never know
they're there.

One very cool idea I ran across in an old health food cookbook (with the
wonderful name _Confessions of a Sneaky Organic Cook_, by Jane
Kinderlehrer), is to order ground beef with organ meats ground right
in.  I'm thinking I'll try this, although it will entail calling the
local specialty market.  In the book she said that her standard blend
was 5 pounds of chuck ground together with a pound each of heart and
lung, and she claimed that her kids' friends always wanted to know what
her "secret" was, that her hamburgers tasted so much better than they
got at home!  If this is a little scary, consider using such a blend in
something heavily seasoned, like chili.

I'm not going to bother to try to convince you to eat sweetbreads or
kidneys, on the theory that if you like them, you like them, and if
you're completely revolted by them, you're not going to listen to me!
(Me, I grew up eating lamb kidneys.  It's that British heritage, I
guess.)  Just be aware that muscle meat is *not* the most nutritious
meat on the animal, and that the more different parts of the animal you
eat, the better nourished you will be.

How about the rest of our diet?  Surely everybody knows by now that
peeling vegetables removes some vitamins.  But there are other ways that
you may be throwing away nutritional value from what you eat.  For
instance, while preparing for a recent barbecue, a friend asked how she
could help, so I asked her to cut up raw vegetables for the relish
tray.  I was surprised to find that she removed the seeds from the
cucumber strips!  Never would have occurred to me to remove the seeds.
Which do you think is more nutritious:  a cucumber with its seeds, or a
cucumber without its seeds?  For that matter, do you know the light
colored, pithy ribs inside a pepper?  They're a terrific source of a
nutrient called bioflavonoids, which strengthens your blood vessel walls
and improves your body's used of vitamin C.  Eat the ribs along with the
rest of the pepper!  (If you're making stuffed peppers, mix the pepper
seeds in with the ground meat for an added nutritional bonus.)  Any time
you can eat the seeds along with the fruit or vegetable, your body will
thank you for it.  (Within reason, of course.  No one's expecting you to
eat an avocado pit.  But don't squeeze the seeds out of your tomatoes,
as I've often seen recipes recommend.  And if you like pumpkin and
squash seeds, you should know that melons are in the same family, and
their seeds are quite edible, too.)

Then there's broccoli.  I've known for quite a while that the cheaper
chopped broccoli (the frozen stuff) is more nutritious than the more
expensive broccoli spears.  Why?  Because they throw the leaves in with
the chopped up broccoli -- and broccoli leaves are a far better source
of calcium than broccoli florets or stems, that's why!   If you've been
trimming the leaves off of your fresh broccoli, you've been throwing
calcium away!  Don't throw away the stems, either.  This is one case
where peeling makes sense, since the outside layer of the broccoli stem
is far to fibrous to eat -- but if you peel the stems, they're even
tastier than the florets!  For that matter, the darker outside leaves of
romaine lettuce and cabbage and stuff are somewhat more nutritious than
the paler, crisper inside leaves.

In other words, use every edible part of the fruit or vegetable that you
possibly can.  Me, I chop up celery leaves right along with the stem,
and throw them in the tuna salad.  Delicious!

Another class of refined foods we all eat on our low carb diet is the
separated fats -- butter, cream, and oils.  Now, I'm surely not stumping
for a low fat diet.  Heaven forfend!  But I do think that just as
carbohydrates get more dangerous when you separate them from the foods
they grow in -- refined sugar being the best example -- because it
becomes really, really easy to get too much, we need to recognize the
possibility that perhaps the separated fats present the same risk of
skewing our diet.  I'm more comfortable with recommending the
consumption of nuts and seeds and avocados and olives and such than I am
with recommending very high consumption of butter and oil.  Use these
products, yes, but realize that they are, in fact, a refined food, and
therefore somewhat unbalanced, and govern your consumption accordingly.

On the flip side, I think of full-fat cheese and whole milk yogurt as
being more whole foods than their low fat and skim milk counterparts.
They're going to be higher in fat soluble vitamins, especially vitamin
A, than the the stuff with the fat removed.  They're more filling, to
boot.  And as for eggs, when you remove the yolk, you remove the fat and
cholesterol -- and the vast majority of the vitamins and minerals!

All of this leads us to the question of low carb specialty foods.  I've
said it before, I'll say it again (and maybe annoy my advertisers, but
what's the point of running your own press if you can't say what you
think?) --  the bulk of your diet should be made up of *real food*, not
processed low carb specialty foods.  Protein shakes and protein bars and
protein chips and low carb pasta and all of that are all well and good;
they add fun and variety, and help stave off the temptation to eat
carb-y garbage, but the vast majority of them are processed foods.  They
are *not* a substitute for meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, yogurt
and cheese.  Humankind does not yet have *any* idea what all the vital
components are to food, and we eat a diet heavy in fabricated stuff at
our peril.

One other thought on this subject:  In his book _The Vita-Nutrient
Solution_, Doc Atkins recommends that you take supplements of some sort
of whole, unprocessed food -- algae, or bee pollen, or the like.  (He
also mentions brewer's yeast, which has been around the health food
scene for decades.  He doesn't like it because of the problems some
folks have with yeast infections, but the brewer's or food yeast you get
at the health food store isn't alive, and can't grow inside you.  It's
apparently not a good idea if you've already got a yeast infection, but
if you don't, it's a *very* nutritious food.)  I think this is a fine
idea, and I take algae, kelp and pollen as supplements myself.

You've got the point, I'm sure.  If at least part of the reason a low
carbohydrate diet is good for us is because it's closer than a diet full
of grains and sugar to what our ancestors ate, we can bring it even
closer by eating as much as we can of *all* the edible parts of our

I'm not suggesting you get fanatical about this; if you've dropped sugar
and white flour from your diet, and are getting enough protein and
plenty of vegetables, you're already *miles* ahead of your average
American!  Just thought it was a concept that deserved to be examined.


CarbSmart - Smart choice for a low carb lifestyle - is proud to sponsor
Hold The Toast's Lowcarbezine! For the month of September, 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 .


Live and Learn (Again!)

A few weeks ago, I wrote that I'd discovered that if I had a large, late
breakfast of a protein-based salad (egg salad, tuna salad, or chicken
salad), with plenty of vegetables, lots of mayonnaise, and some fiber
crackers, I was full for *hours*, and didn't need another meal until
dinner time, which is often pretty late around here.

Well, within a few weeks, I discovered something else:  I'd put on three
or four pounds.  Ugh.  So much for that way of eating!

I then read something I'd run across before, but conveniently forgotten
in my fascination with how full those breakfasts were making me:  that
eating infrequently encourages fat storage, while eating the same
amount, divided up into smaller servings, more frequently, will
discourage fat storage, and maybe even encourage fat loss.  Apparently
the more frequently you eat, the less your body fears starvation, and
the less it feels the need to store up calories for the future.
Conversely, if your body only gets food, say, once a day, it gets
worried and starts packing it on.  No doubt this is related to the
ancient hunter/gatherer lifestyle -- wandering around the woods and
plains, picking up stuff and nibbling at it all day.

Accordingly, I have changed my plan (again!)  I am now trying to eat no
less frequently than every three hours, but only about 150-300 calories,
roughly, at a time.  The extra pounds are gone, and I'm kind of enjoying
the snacking thing.  I'm having two eggs for breakfast, instead of the
three I've been eating for years.  I'll have them, oh, usually between 9
and 10 (I have no children, and I work at home; I tend to sleep in).
Then I'll have some yogurt by noon or one, and a light lunch maybe
around mid-afternoon.  And so on.

I suspect this sounds impractical to those of you with less time freedom
than I enjoy, but I don't think it is.  Many people chow something down
during their morning coffee break, it's just usually something junky and
sweet.  No reason you couldn't take hard boiled eggs or a string cheese
or a packet of peanuts to work for morning and afternoon break time if
you'd like to try this approach.

Anyway, I thought I ought to let you know that the other thing had been
a failure and then some.  I'll let you know how this way of eating works
out long term!


Time's Running Out!  If You Want To Cruise With Me, Today's the Day!

Okay, all you cruise procrastinators -- yes, you, the one who's been
thinking, "Oh, man!  I've got to go on that Low Carb Cruise, but hey,
it's summer.  I'll register later."  Guess what?  Time's running out.
Already there are no ocean view rooms left!  And inside rooms are
disappearing *fast*.  If you want to come along, you'd better make that
reservation *NOW*, as in *right now*.  And don't worry about not having
an ocean view room -- that's what all those decks and pools and stuff
are for!

So reserve your space today!  It's going to be a blast!  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, learn about various low carb diet options, look at
the latest low carb cookbooks,  brainstorm day to day low carb diet
strategies, 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*?!

Join 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*.  Why?  Because just like
with airlines, you get a better rate with cruise lines if you *book in
advance*.  At this point, we're moving toward the winter Caribbean
cruise season, and prices will only go up.   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?


Your Mileage May Vary

Here I've been enjoying Splenda (aka sucralose) so much, and in one week
I get emails from two different readers, telling me that they're having
problems with it.  One reader says it knocks him out of ketosis, and
he's had to eliminate it to stay "purple".  Another reader, more
seriously, writes that Splenda makes her tired and hungry and achy --
that she really enjoyed Splenda, but that she lost all of the
"feel-good" benefits of low carbing when she started using it.  She,
too, had to drop Splenda.

So far I've had no problems, but I'm convinced that there's nothing in
the world that's good for everybody!  Listen to your body.  If you start
experiencing new symptoms after adding something to or subtracting
something from your diet, pay attention, and do what's right for you!


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

Hi Dana,
 I am new to low carb and loving it.  Just got your book.   I lost 5 1/2
lbs my first week on low carb and my energy was through the roof!  I am
so psyched!  My mood levels have evened out, too and I seem better able
to "roll with punches".
Thank you for sharing your experiences in such a fun book to read!

Christine Gundersen

Thank *you*, Christine, and keep up the good work!

If you'd like to read the first chapter of _How I Gave Up My Low Fat
Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_ for FREE, you'll find it at
http://www.holdthetoast.com , along with the foreword and the table of
contents.  And a FAQ, and a whole bunch of other stuff!

You can order the book through the website, or you can go to
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0966883101/lowcarbohysoluti and
find it at Amazon.com, along with a whole pile of other nice things
people have said about it!

Or, for that matter, you can visit http://www.carbsmart.com , and order
it from Carb Smart, who currently have it on sale!

If you'd like to buy the book from a bookstore, you'll probably have to
special order it.  If you're in the USA, this shouldn't be a problem --
just tell them that you want to order _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and
Lost Forty Pounds!_ by Dana Carpender, and that the ISBN is
0-9668831-0-1.  You could also tell them that they can order it through
Baker and Taylor; one of the country's biggest book wholesalers.  We do
ship to Canadian bookstores.

If you're outside of the US, your best bet is to order from Amazon.com.
We can ship internationally from here at Hold the Toast, too, but we're
not set up for it big-time like Amazon is.  If you're a book wholesaler
outside the US and interested in carrying _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet
and Lost Forty Pounds!_, we'd love to hear from you!


 Product Review

Sometimes you may want just a little something sweet.  Sometimes, for
instance, it's nice to have something you can pass around with coffee at
the end of dinner so as not to have to hassle with making a whole big
ol' dessert.  Especially if dinner was filling, you may well not want a
rich dessert, anyway.  You're not going to eat cookies, or petit fours,
or truffles, so what to serve?

Enter Low Carb Meringue Buttons!  Sent to me by the nice folks at
Synergy Diet, these are a very nice "little something" indeed.  They're
actually not terribly low carb -- 5 grams of carb in six buttons, each
about the size of a Hershey's Kiss.  Which is interesting, because the
label also says that those 6 buttons have only 11.5 calories.  When you
realize that carbs run 4 calories a gram, and do the math -- 4x5 = 20,
at least where I come from -- you wonder which count is wrong.  Still,
even 20 calories per six is a negligible number of calories, and the
other possibility is that these actually have fewer than 5 grams of carb
per serving, which is an even nicer thought.

The label gets even more confusing because it lists, in one place, those
five grams a serving, yet in another location lists zero grams.  Either
way, four or five of these are unlikely to blow your diet.

Further, being low calorie and fat free, these are the perfect solution
for what to serve after dinner if your dinner party includes low fat
type folks as well as low carb type folks!  (Okay, they include egg
white, which means you can't serve them to vegans, but hey, nothing's

The flavor of the meringue buttons is similar to that of a marshmallow
-- sweet and vanilla-y -- but the texture is very different.  These are
very light and very crisp.  (To keep them that way, I'd recommend
storing them in a zip lock baggie with the extra air sucked out, once
you've opened them.)

Along with egg whites, these include both isomalt (a polyol -- a
carbohydrate based sweetener which -- according to everything I've been
able to find -- is not absorbed, and causes no blood sugar rise or
insulin release) and Splenda, along with vinegar, vanilla, and
unidentified "gums", no doubt as thickeners.  They also, of course,
include lots of air, which is what makes them so splendidly light and
crispy, not to mention low calorie.

You'll want to watch the portion size on these.  They're so very light
and melt-in-your-mouth that it's really easy to eat more than you meant
to; I'd take out your 6 buttons or so and put the rest away!  You really
don't want to overeat on these, not only because they do (or don't, who
can tell?) have a few carbs, but also because the isomalt used to
sweeten them can have a laxative effect in large doses.

For $6.49 (plus shipping and handling, of course!) you get a box maybe
6" by 5" by 3" -- doesn't give the weight, but I'm guessing it's a
couple hundred buttons, at least.  I gave a baggie-full away to a
friend, and still have plenty left.

So have a cup of espresso and a couple of meringue buttons, look at your
skeptical, non-low carb friends, and say, "Whaddaya mean, 'deprived'?!"

Available from http://www.synergydiet.com .


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

Dana W. Carpender

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