Lowcarbezine! 1 November 2000

Return to Archive Contents

Hey, Gang!

Omigosh, it's November 1st! How on earth did it get here so quickly?  To
all my Mexican readers, Feliz Dia de los Muertos, and go easy on those
candy skulls, you hear?

Guess it's time for me to start working on holiday recipes again, huh? 
Will do!  I've got some neat ideas for cutting back on the carbs in
turkey stuffing that I've just got to try.  And with the holiday parties
coming up, you'll be glad to know I've committed to working out a recipe
for low carb crab puffs.  Hmm.  Guess I'd better go cook!

In the meanwhile, 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.

If Lowcarbezine! has been forwarded to you and you enjoy it, you can
subscribe for FREE at http://www.holdthetoast.com .

Please note!  When you subscribe to Lowcarbezine! you *must* enter
your *entire email address*.  If you enter yourname@aol" you will *not*
be subscribed -- you *must* include the ".com"    Please realize that
your subscription is not seen by a human being who will recognize that
"yourname@aol" should include ".com", the process is completely
automated.  If you give the server an incomplete address, it will simply
choke and spit you out, and you will not be subscribed.  Which would be
a shame!

UNSUBSCRIBING:  Should you wish to unsubscribe, instructions for doing
so are at the very bottom of every issue of Lowcarbezine!  Please don't
email me and ask me to do it for you.

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   All submissions become the property of
Hold the Toast Press.  If you don't want us to print your letter, just
let us know, and we won't!   However, please note -- although I really
do read all my email my very own self, I get a *lot* of mail --
generally over 200 posts a day (not all of them about Lowcarbezine!), so
I can't promise to answer every post personally. Or I'll never get the
next book written!

We are now accepting paid advertising. At this writing, our subscriber
base is 6,370; obviously, this is a highly targeted list.  Please
mailto:advertising@holdthetoast.com for rates and terms.  Hold the Toast
Press reserves the right to reject any ad, for any reason.

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


Menu Planning 101

I've had a number of requests from my readers asking that I come up with
menus, menus, and more menus!  I'll work on that, but it will take some
time.  Anyway, there are some stumbling blocks in creating menus for low
carbers.  Let me rephrase that -- there are a whole lot of stumbling
blocks in creating menus for low carbers!

* First of all, I don't know whether you're cooking for one, two, or a
family of 8!

* Secondly, I don't know if you're cooking for a group of all low
carbers, or if you're cooking for folks who will be unhappy with you if
there's not some sort of carbohydrate food in the menu.

* Third, I don't know how much you like to cook, or how much time you
have to cook.  Some folks will want menus where only one thing, if any,
needs some doing.  Others will want knock-your-socks-off menus for
dinner parties that will leave the kitchen a shambles, and the
dishwasher stuffed to the gills.

* Fourth, people differ in how many dishes they need in a menu to feel
psychologically satisfied. Would you be happier to have just a couple of
things to prepare, and eat more of them, or will you and/or the family
feel cheated if there's not at least a couple of side dishes?

* Fifth, if I give you a whole bunch of menus listing specific dishes,
they won't do you a lot of good without all the recipes, will they?  And
even if I use only dishes for which I've published the recipes already,
my subscription list is growing so fast, many of you won't have seen
those recipes -- yet I don't want to repeat all the recipes I've already
published!  (In the new book, of course, this won't be a problem.)

You see what I'm up against.

So to help you while I'm giving this matter some serious consideration,
here are some basic principles of menu planning.

* I think a good basic low carb menu is a salad, a cooked vegetable
dish, and a protein dish, with a starch dish for the non-low carbers if
you're feeding any.  It's the endless varieties of these things that
need some thought.

* It's always a fine, fine idea to start the meal with a salad, or some
other form of fresh, raw vegetables.  There's nothing like putting the
greenery in front of the family when they're hungriest to help you get
substantial quantities of vitamins into them!  Tossed green salads, as I
mentioned last week, are one of the healthiest things you can serve the
family, but for variety, consider deli-style salads -- cole slaw,
cucumber salad, cauliflower-olive salad, green bean salad, etc.  For
greatest kid-acceptance, consider (I've said this before!) cut up
vegetables with dip.  

* On the other hand, if you're serving a main dish salad -- that is, a
salad that includes your protein for the meal -- consider soup as a
first course.  Doesn't have to be anything fancy -- canned chicken broth
with egg drops, or avocado chunks; canned beef broth with a can of diced
tomatoes added, something like that, makes a nice starter.  If you are,
indeed, buying commercial broth, *read the labels*.  You will be
astonished at the chemical soup you've been buying.  Hit the health food
store for chicken broth with no fake stuff -- Shelton's and Health
Valley are two good brands.  Health Valley has recently started
producing real beef broth, too, and about time -- the one can of grocery
store beef broth I bought had *no* beef in it whatsoever -- just
chemicals.  Kitchen Essentials is a new brand of all-natural stocks
available in mainstream grocery stores, and they come in convenient,
resealable boxes.  Look for them!

* The protein dish is, of course, the centerpiece of the menu.  If it
also contains lots of vegetables -- a stir fry, something in tomato
sauce with lots of mushrooms and onions, a meat loaf with plenty of
chopped veggies in it, something like that -- I personally feel you can
narrow your menu accordingly, and forego a cooked vegetable, unless you
really want one.  For instance, I feel that Pizza Chicken (a skillet
cacciatore, with lots of peppers, mushrooms, and onions in tomato sauce)
with a big salad, is a pretty good meal right there.

* If you're having a simple protein -- roast chicken, broiled chops,
something like that -- you may want to make a more interesting cooked
vegetable dish.  Then again, if life is busy, you may not!

* I like to take the weather into account.  If it's chilly and nasty
out, I'll serve more and heavier dishes than if it's springy and warm.

* Contrast is a good thing.  I wouldn't serve poached fish and steamed
cauliflower together -- too much soft white food!  I'd serve that fish
with some green beans almondine, or stir fried broccoli instead, or
maybe with a big, crisp green salad, and a few slices of tomato on the

* Often it helps to think of a theme for a meal, especially if it's for
an occasion.  This helps stimulate ideas.  For instance, roast lamb is a
very Greek sort of a dish.  So I might serve a Greek salad and
Kolokythia Kroquettes (zucchini/feta/egg pancakes) with it, to create a
Greek theme.  If I were making Looed Chicken, a simple Chinese dish, I
would keep the Asian theme going with an Asian cucumber salad, and stir
fried vegetables, with brown rice for the starch eaters.

* If you're serving something with a nice gravy or sauce, and want
something to soak it up, consider the virtues of cauliflower!  Pureed
cauliflower is a great stand-in for mashed potatoes under a tasty gravy
-- just steam or nuke the cauliflower until it's soft, then drain it
well and put it through the blender until it's pureed.  Add butter, salt
and pepper.  I know folks who add a nice chunk of cream cheese to this,
as well!  (Funny note about pureed cauliflower:  A young friend of my
husband's came for dinner one night; we had Chicken Paprikash, with
pureed cauliflower to put the gravy on.  The kid had never liked
cauliflower, but he *raved*!  My husband says he's brought it up several
times since, and told other folks about it, too!  Who'da thunk it?)

* Another great cauliflower trick I learned just recently from Fran
McCullough's _Living Low Carb_ (
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0316557684/lowcarbohysoluti ) --
Cauliflower Rice!  Put the raw cauliflower through the food processor
with the shredding disk, then cook it, and you end up with something
with a texture quite like rice.  I like to cook this by sautéing it in
butter until it's tender, and then put gravy or sauce over it, or use it
as a "bed" for a piece of chicken in sauce.  Neat trick.

* If you have a family that is not following in your low carb foodsteps
(Argh.  Did I really just make that pun?), you'll want to put a starch
on the table -- but keep it separate from the main protein dish.  As you
know, I'm not a big fan of feeding the people you love the most damaging
forms of carbohydrates, and so I would urge you to keep even their menu
free of white flour pasta, white rice (or, heaven forbid, Minute Rice!),
canned biscuits, instant mashed potatoes, and other such garbage. 
Better carbs include brown rice, barley (if you haven't tried barley,
it's very nice, and has a *very* modest blood sugar impact), whole wheat
pita bread, corn or whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat pasta, Jerusalem
Artichoke pasta (this is made by De Boles; look for it at your health
food store.  Sounds odd, I know, but tastes just like regular pasta),
protein enriched pasta, and potatoes. 

* Potatoes are actually a *very* high impact carbohydrate, but they do
at least have valuable vitamins and minerals, which is far more than I
can say for white rice and white flour products! Both the variety of
potato you choose, and the way you cook it, will make a difference in
the glycemic index.  The lowest impact potatoes are the little red "new"
potatoes, when they're boiled.  If you like, you could boil them, then
cut them into chunks and fry them in a little butter; you won't raise
their blood sugar impact this way.  A good general purpose potato, with
a higher impact than the little red ones, but lower than many others, is
the Yukon Gold.  The big baking potatoes have a much higher blood sugar
impact, because they actually have a higher carbohydrate content -- and
baking, by driving off the water, concentrates that carbohydrate even
more, and raises the blood sugar impact.  Mashing them raises it even
further, because it's even easier for the body to absorb them.  

Here's some menus to get you started.  In each of these menus, I've put
the starch last -- remember, this is only for the non-low carb members
of the household!

Green salad with Italian vinaigrette
Meat Balls (made with no bread crumbs)
Spaghetti sauce (no sugar or corn syrup added)
Parmesan Cheese to top
Italian Green Beans
Spaghetti  (preferably a low impact variety)

Pork Chops (broiled or pan broiled, with garlic and olive oil)
Sautéed onions and mushrooms (Remember, onions are a borderline
vegetable.  Go easy.)
Cole Slaw
Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in chunks, drizzled with olive oil and garlic,
and roasted

Spicy Peanut Chicken (this is a sort of Thai-ish recipe I ran a couple
of months back)
Oriental cucumber salad
Stir-fried Snow Peas
Brown Rice

Greek Salad
Roasted Chicken
Zucchini sautéed in olive oil
Pita with butter

Cauliflower Olive salad
Broiled Lamb chops
Creamed Spinach
Boiled new potatoes with butter and parsley

Tossed Green Salad
Pizza Chicken (skillet cacciatore with melted mozzarella on top)
Whole wheat pita, split and brushed with garlic butter, then toasted

Cucumber salad with sour cream/dill dressing
Grilled fish fillets with lemon butter
Steamed broccoli
Brown rice

Tossed Green Salad
Sopa Azteca (Mexican chicken vegetable soup)
Quesadillas (make yours with low carb tortillas)

Raw Vegetables with Dip
Parmesan Bean Salad
Buns (If you can get the family to eat their burgers in a whole wheat
pita instead, so much the better!)

Tossed Green Salad
Corn or Whole Wheat Tortillas

Spinach Pecan Salad
Baked Ham
'Baga Fries (fried rutabaga)
Macaroni and Cheese (preferably made with low impact pasta.)

Here's a couple of menus I actually have served to company:

Festive Brunch

Baked Ham
Chili Egg Puff 
Apple Cinnamon Muffins (I didn't eat these, needless to say!)
Coffee, Tea

Early Spring Feast

Tossed salad -- romaine, raddichio, red leaf lettuce, parsley, cucumber,
green pepper, red onion, and tomato, with a vinaigrette dressing
Turkey Breast basted with butter and balsamic vinegar
Stuffed with: diced tart apple, celery, onion, mushrooms, and chopped
walnuts, sautéed together in butter, with herbs and a little
Worcestershire.  This dressing had no bread or grain at all, and was a
*big* hit.
Fried Brussel Sprouts
Sugar free cheesecake with strawberries

You may be haunted by the feeling that something is missing in all of
these menus but the last one:  dessert.  There's a reason for that -- I
hope to encourage you to get over the feeling that dessert is an
essential at every single darned dinner; that the meal isn't complete
unless it ends with something sweet.  Too, many of the best sugar free
desserts take a fair amount of work; more than you're likely to want to
do on a daily basis -- what a great reason to let the desserts slowly
fade from your midst.

However, if you're not there yet, or if you'll have a dangerous mutiny
on your hands if you ax the dessert abruptly, I'd like to make a few

First of all, fruit really is an acceptable dessert.  Strawberries,
raspberries, a slice of melon, these are the most nutritious desserts,
and are low carb as well.  Heavy cream and Splenda, or whipped cream, on
the berries is fine.

Consider the possibility of "just a little something", instead of a BIG
BOWL OF SOMETHING.  Pass a few sugar free meringue buttons or a handful
of sugar free chocolate covered almonds with the coffee.  Toasted
pecans, walnuts, or almonds with Splenda and cinnamon can be a nice
little something sweet with the after dinner coffee as well.  Soon I'll
be re-publishing my best low carb cookie recipes; they'd do here too.

Speaking of baked goods, you could make something from Diana Lee's
_Baking Low Carb_

For that matter, my sister made the Flourless Chocolate Cake from Fran
McCullough's _Living Low Carb_ recently, and said it was *superb*. (All
of Fran's recipes that I've tried have been great!)

A classic English meal-ender is port wine and nuts in the shell.  You'll
need nut crackers and nut picks for this, of course, and little plates
for the shells, but it's classy as all get out.

How about flavored coffee?  Decaf, if caffeine is a problem for you in
the evenings.  Da Vinci sugar free syrups are available at Sam's Club,
and at several of the low carb retail websites.  Have a cup of coffee
with chocolate or hazelnut syrup and heavy cream or whipped cream.

For that matter, if you're not a teetotaller, you could have a cup of
Irish Coffee -- a teaspoon of Splenda and a shot of Irish whiskey in a
cup of coffee, topped with whipped cream.  Not for the kids, of course!

Dana's Whipped Cream 
1/2 pint heavy cream, chilled
1 tablespoon vanilla instant sugar free pudding powder

Whip together until stiff.  Nice, light sweetness to this, and an
incredible texture!  Try it on those berries or in the Irish Coffee.

If you haven't been to the recipe page at my website,
http://www.holdthetoast.com , and gotten the recipes for Sugar Free
Chocolate Mousse to DIE For! and Strawberry Cups, you're missing out!

Sugar free gelatin is pretty much carb free.  (If you like it.  I
don't.)  Furthermore, the gelatin itself has some nutritional value --
good for your joints.

Instant sugar free pudding can be made with heavy cream, or half heavy
cream, half water, for a lower carb pudding.

There are sugar free ice pops and sugar free fudge pops available in
most big grocery stores.  Read the labels to make sure that they're low
carb as well as sugar free!  The sugar free fudge pops at my local
grocery -- Kroger's -- have something like 8 g. of carb apiece, and
taste just like Fudgesicles.  Eight grams is more than I want after
every dinner, but now and then they're a nice treat -- and if I had
kids, they'd be a big help.

Hope I've got you thinking.  And in the future, I'll try to include more
suggestions for complimentary dishes with my recipes!


Cruise!  Cruise!  Cruise!

Here's hoping that all of you who want to go on the Low Carb High Life
Cruise, January 7-14, 2001,  have already made your reservations,
because according to our cruise planner, the Carnival Victory -- the
biggest, newest, most luxurious ship in the Carnival fleet -- is almost
full up!  If you've been thinking you'll go, but you *haven't* made your
reservations yet, you'd better do it NOW, or you'll be waving to us from
the dock as we set sail for the glorious Western Caribbean!

Here's some of the stuff we're going to do:

* Check out all the latest low carb diet books and low carb cook books!
* Learn metabolism-accelerating breathing exercises!
* Trade our best low carb diet tips and tricks!
* Sample lots of low carb specialty products!
* Learn Low Carb Restaurant Ordering 101!
* Hear about much of the latest research in low carb nutrition!
* Go on a Low Carb Adventure on shore -- pick a local restaurant and see
what we can order that's low carb!

All of this, along with glorious shore excursions at our beautiful

* See the historic sights at Chancanab, in Cozumel Mexico!  Swim with
the dolphins!
* Swim with the rays in Grand Cayman!
* Climb beautiful Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, or just shop
at the local "Straw Market"!

And then there's your free time on the Carnival Victory, where all your
entertainment -- except for gambling, of course! -- is included in the
price of your cruise package -- shows, dancing, movies, activities,
swimming, work out facilities, you name it, not to mention plenty of
food, glorious food!

But space is almost gone!  If you want to be on the cruise, you'd better
reserve a room *NOW*, because there may not be one tomorrow!

So forget gray skies and slushy streets!  Come spend a week in the
Caribbean with me and new low carb diet pals, for the winter vacation of
a lifetime!

Call 1-800-529-2469 TODAY for current pricing!


Seasonal Metabolism Trick!

Now that it's nearly winter, you might keep in mind that letting
yourself feel just a bit cool -- not freezing cold, mind you, but
slightly cool -- is a terrific way to increase your metabolism with no
effort or expense.  Instead of bundling yourself up and cranking up the
thermostat to keep yourself roaster-toasty warm, dress just warmly
enough so that you're not uncomfortable or shivering, but are coolish. 
Your body will crank up your metabolism to keep you warm!  

To get an even greater metabolic rev-up, when you get a little *too*
cool, exercise for ten minutes until you feel warm again, instead of
putting on a sweater or pushing up the thermostat!


Introducing the new carbsmart.com! CarbSmart is proud to sponsor

Get your AUTOGRAPHED copy of Dana's _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and
Lost Forty Pounds!_ for the same low price: $8.99 - that's 30% off of
cover price!
Visit us at http://www.carbsmart.com for over 400 discounted low
carbohydrate products.
Now until the end of the year - airborne@home ground shipping to
continental US addresses for only $4.99.


Dana's Health Report

I recently had bloodwork done; it had been a couple of years and seemed
about time.  The results?  My total cholesterol is 189, well within the
healthy range.  My HDL is in the fifties, my triglycerides well under
100, despite eating a fatty meal late the night before.  Add to this the
fact that my blood pressure rides around 105/65, and my pulse, when the
nurse took it right after I sat down, was 62. By all current standard
measures, my cardiovascular health couldn't be better; it'll take a
silver bullet through the heart to kill me.

Further, the doctor ordered tests for both liver and kidney function. 
Both came up absolutely fine.  This after over five years on a diet that
the nay-sayers direly predict will cause liver and kidney problems.

I have been told that a low carbohydrate diet, unstinting of meat, eggs,
cheese, butter and cream, will give me heart disease, damage my kidneys,
cause liver inflammation, and leave me with no energy.  Once again, I
have to put on my wide-eyed, puzzled face and plaintively ask, "When?"


Reader Success Story!

Several weeks back, I wrote about low carb dieting as concerns
diabetics, and got several responses. Here's an amazing letter from a
reader who has asked me to keep his name confidential:

Ms. Carpender

First I would like to tell you how much I enjoy your weekly news

Second, being a Type 2 diabetic, after reading your most recent article
I felt as though I should tell you my story to reinforce your response
to questions concerning the appropriateness of low-carb eating for

I was first diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic approximately six years ago
and began a regiment of diet, exorcise, daily blood testing and oral
medication.  Initially low dosage of oral medications seemed to control
my diabetes well. The only complications I had were periods of
discomfort when, due to excessive exercise (usually while doing
strenuous chores around the house)my blood sugar levels plummeted too
low.  Never having been a person dependent on daily medication, I
resented the need for close monitoring and daily oral medication. 
Initially my daily blood sugar reading varied between lows of 50 to
highs of 180.  This was considered reasonable control.

As the months went on, and the initial fear of diabetes subsided
(inappropriately) I became more and more reliant on oral medications. 
First my initial prescription dosage grew to the maximum recommended
daily allowance then the doctor introduced me to a second medication
which I
also became dependent on. 

 After about three years things began to go out of whack.  My attempts
at dieting were generally unsuccessful.  My weight continuously went up
and down.  My daily blood sugar testing revealed that there were more
highs then lows (and large variations). My hemoglobin A1C (long-term
blood sugar average) readings rose to about 11 (rather than the
controlled diabetic range of about 7 - 8).  Bottom line was, my doctor 
recommended that I begin daily insulin injections.  In an attempt to
avoid daily injections I joined a gym and hired a personal trainer three
days a week.  The additional exercise initially did the trick. I was
able to slightly decrease my oral medications and stay off of insulin
injections.  However this success was soon to pass as well.

After about two years of faithful gym appointments my daily blood sugar
readings again began to rise.  Then... a friend, Eliot, recommended I
investigate low-carb, high-protein dieting.  I first checked
with my doctor and with her supervision began the diet. Within the first
week of dieting, while still taking my oral medications I had two
periods of VERY low blood sugar levels.  In fact my blood sugar level
was so low I woke up in the middle of the night with the characteristic
sweating, panic symptoms of dropping blood sugar levels.  I immediately
drank some OJ and the next day went in to see my doctor. 

The doctor immediately took me off of my original medication which I had
taking for five years and gradually weaned me off of the second
medication over the next four weeks. That was two and a half years ago. 
Two and a half years of low-carb eating and regular exercising. Thus far
I have lost 55 lbs., haven't taken diabetic medications for 60 months,
have a HA1C of 4.8 (that of a non-diabetic), have a total cholesterol
level of 96, have very stable daily blood sugar levels between 70 and
80, have lowered my triglyceride level to the low side of normal, have a
great deal more energy and have also eliminated the need for daily blood
pressure medication. My doctor tells me I am a model diabetic. I can't
convince her that I'm no longer a diabetic at all, but I have all
the benefits of having never had this disease.

Has the diet worked for me? You bet it has. I credit both my friend
Eliot, who recommended this diet, and Dr. Atkins with adding years to my
life expectancy and increasing my quality of life.


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


What a delight this book is! After reading all the other prominent LC
Diet Books and trying to assimilate the differences and suggestions, I
discover Dana Carpender's book and find that she has put it all together
perfectly. The book is SO USEFUL and enlightening and chock-full of much
more than all the other books combined. It's THE companion book, or more
appropriately, the LC Bible-an absolute must-have!

Emily Danner from Alta Loma, CA USA

Thank you, Emily!  (I just gotta love a reader who uses the word

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, where it's currently 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!

Dana W. Carpender

Return to Archive Contents