Lowcarbezine! 29 November 2000

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Hey, Gang --

It must almost be December, because this issue is full of gift ideas and
cookie recipes!  Also defensive strategies for getting through the
season unscathed.

Read on!



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Thought For The Week


No, it's not a football cheer.  It's a strategy!  It's your single best
hope of making it to January 2, 2001 with your waistline intact.

After all, we have now officially launched the Wall-to-Wall Sugar Season
-- the season when the break room is full of cookies, the dry cleaner
and the drive up window at the bank are handing out candy canes, the
cider is hot, sweetened, spiced, and spiked, and the parties come
practically one per

It is also the season when the same people who have previously only
looked at you a little sideways for your "weird diet" pull out all the
stops in an attempt to make you crack and eat garbage.  "Oh, c'mon! 
It's the holidays!  Live a little!  It's my grandma's secret recipe! 
It's a tradition!  How can you deprive yourself?!" And so on.  And on. 
And on.

How's a low carber to cope?  DEFENSE!!  DEFENSE!!  DEFENSE!!

Let's deal with the naggers and coaxers first.  Remember, they are *not*
being "nice".  They're being busybodies.  (The rest of the year I would
say that anyone who pushed you this hard to eat junk was worse than a
busybody -- I'd call them a saboteur.  But an annoying desire to see
others eat sugar does seem to infect even folks who are generally nice
and well meaning, this time of year.)  I find that the best way to deal
with this sort of thing is to give my dietary choices the status of a
medical imperative, rather than the "frivolous" desire simply to lose
weight to look better.  I don't say, "I'm on a diet"; instead I say, "I
can't have sugar", or maybe even better, "I'm profoundly carbohydrate
intolerant."  Either of these is as true as "I'm on a diet", but gets a
*lot* more respect.  You could also try, "I'm terribly allergic." 
(Well, it's true in a way -- you break out in fat!)

I wouldn't be terribly apologetic about it, either, even if they made
Grandma's Sugar Cookies just for you. (HAH!  Like they didn't eat any
themselves.)  After all, if you had a violent allergy, the sort that
would make you go into anaphylactic shock and *DIE* at the slightest
taste, you wouldn't fall all over yourself to apologize for not eating
the offending food, would you?  You'd say, "Oh, I'm sorry, but I really
can't have that" and leave it at that.  Well, more people die every year
from the various diseases associated with carbohydrate intolerance --
heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, female cancers, alcoholism
-- than die from anything else.  Your carbohydrate intolerance *is* a
matter of life and death, it just takes longer than anaphylaxis, that's
all.  Don't apologize for protecting yourself.

Now, how about shoring up your faltering willpower?  

This is the time to go into the fray *prepared*.  Even if you don't
cook much, or buy low carb specialty products, I'd recommend it now! 
You need *something* to take with you to the office, to the parties,
that you can eat and enjoy and not feel sorry for yourself.  If you have
a refrigerator at work, my Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse to DIE For! is a
good, easy choice; just put it in a snap top container and stash it in
the fridge. (Recipe at the website: http://www.holdthetoast.com)  Haul
it out whenever the cookies start going 'round again. You could vary it
a bit, if you like, by adding a drop of peppermint
extract, for chocolate mint mousse -- very Christmas-y!  Problems with
fridge-poaching co-workers?  Consider labeling it "diet dessert" or
"sugar-free dessert" -- they'll head for the cookies instead.

If you have no refrigerator at work, consider investing in some sugar
free chocolates -- these have gotten far better over the past few years,
and the good ones are now indistinguishable from the sugary kind.  These
are sweetened with maltitol or lactitol, which are, technically
speaking, carbs, but they're carbs which will be far kinder to your
blood sugar and your insulin levels than sugar will.  A perfect choice? 
Perhaps not, they may knock you out of ketosis.  A choice that is *far*
superior to eating the piles of sugar arrayed about you?  Oh, you bet!
If you're quite sensitive they may slow your weight loss, but they're
unlikely to make you gain, unless you eat a *ton* of them -- which is a
*very* bad idea, since maltitol and lactitol both act as laxatives in
high doses!  They are also unlikely to cause nasty hunger, cravings, and
mood and energy swings.  I'm particularly fond of the Darrell Lea dark
chocolate covered espresso beans; the chocolate covered almonds are
excellent as well.  

You can also get very good taffies and hard candies made with maltitol
and lactitol; these are a good choice to keep in a dish on your desk for
sudden sugar fits during the holidays.  Again, be moderate or you'll be
sorry, but if a couple of sugar free taffies keep you from eating a
half-a-dozen (or a dozen!) cookies, I call that a fine trade off.

My two favorite sources for sugar free candies are CarbSmart
http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html and Synergy Diet
http://www.synergydiet.com .  

Another yummy thing that's fast, easy and cheap is the Swiss Miss Diet
Cocoa we've talked about the past two weeks.  A number of people wrote
to say they could find this at their
Walmart Super Center, so you might look there if your grocery store
doesn't carry it.  So easy to tuck a few envelopes in your desk drawer,
purse, or attaché case!  And all it takes to prepare it is some hot
water.  Can you afford to be without?  (Remember, the Swiss Miss Diet is
*not* the same as the Swiss Miss Sugar Free -- the Sugar Free has *three
times* the carb count!)

Another fine thing to do is to make low carb cookies.  I came up with
some great recipes last year, and plan to come up with some more this
year -- but in the meanwhile, I've republished last year's recipes
below.  They do call for soy powder, a foodstuff of which I'm now a bit
wary, and I plan to try making these recipes with vanilla whey protein
powder instead.  But as these recipes stand, they taste great, and are
quite low in carb and high in protein.  So make some!  (And do get soy
*powder*, not soy *flour*.  It's got a much milder flavor.  Soy powder
is also sometimes called "soy milk powder".  Look at a good health food

If you're going to a party, you could take a sugar free cheesecake, or a
sugar free Pumpkin Pie from the recipe I published a couple of weeks
back.  If you don't tell the other guests, they'll never know the
difference!  (Until, of course, they say, "Wait a minute -- I thought
you couldn't have sugar!" and you 'fess up with a sly grin.)

Which leads us to another point:  parties.  Specifically, the numerous
potluck parties that happen this time of year!  In the past you may have
gotten away with bringing a salad or a loaf of garlic bread, but I'm
telling you, you'd best bring something high protein that you know you
can have, or you may find that you have nothing to eat but celery
sticks!  Wings are my favorite thing to bring, whether I make them
myself or pick up some hot wings at a local restaurant on my way. 
Cocktail meatballs (with no bread crumbs) are another good choice.  How
about bringing a few cheeses you particularly like?  If you have the
money, and it's a big party, you could bring a spiral sliced ham (watch
out for the glaze!) or a smoked turkey.  A *terrific* thing to bring is
an antipasto platter -- slices of ham and turkey, wedges of cantaloupe,
good olives, pepperoncini, solid white tuna with a little olive oil
drizzled over it, halved or quartered hard boiled eggs, marinated
mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts (you can buy these last two
already marinated!).  You don't have to have *all* these things, of
course.  An antipasto platter is a low carbers delight!

The point, of course, is to take care of yourself!  Make *very* sure
that you won't be in the hazardous position of being at a party for
several hours with nothing you can eat but a few cocktail peanuts!

>From now until New Year's Eve I'll be publishing mainly recipes for
and party food, to help you through.  We can party with the best of 'em
and still keep our figures and our health!  You'll see!


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!


Product Review

In the cookie recipes below you'll find a product listed called
"SteviaPlus".  I'm quite certain that many -- perhaps most -- of you
have no idea what SteviaPlus is, so I thought I'd best explain.

Many of you have heard of stevia, the herbal sweetener.  For those who
have not, it's derived from the South American shrub, stevia
rebaudiana.  The stevia shrub has leaves which are many times sweeter
than sugar, and have been used as a sweetener by the local natives for
centuries -- they call it "sweet leaf."  Stevia extract, a white powder
extracted from the leaves, is *unbelieveably* sweet -- we're talking a
pin-head sized dot of the stuff would sweeten a big cup of coffee. 
Stevia does not appear to cause any rise in blood sugar (since it's not
a sugar at all), nor any insulin release.  It has no carbohydrate.  And
it has a long history of safe use, not only in South America, but also
in Japan, where it has been used in processed foods for a long time.

This intense sweetness can actually make stevia a bit hard to handle;
it's way too easy to get too much.  Many people combine a teaspoon of
stevia extract with a couple of tablespoons of water in a dropper
bottle, and use the stuff a drop at a time.  But still, stevia is far
better in some things than in others -- for instance, I like it fine in
protein shakes, but the time I used it to make a sugar free cheesecake,
the result was nothing short of *vile*.  There is a stevia cookbook on
the market; I've got it but haven't had a chance to try any recipes from
it yet -- too busy coming up with recipes of my own!  If you're
interested, though, take a look at the low carb gifts article in this

So what does "SteviaPlus" mean?  This is a product with another natural
sweetener in it.  That sweetener is fructooligosaccharide, usually
abbreviated to FOS.  What is FOS?  It's a sugar.  No, no, calm down! 
It's a very interesting sugar -- it occurs naturally in a wide variety
of foods, from bananas to onions, and it seems to occupy the same place
in the ranks of the sugars that fiber does in the ranks of the
starches:  it's a sugar that is too big for you to digest or absorb. 
This means that it doesn't raise your blood sugar, or cause an insulin

But it gets better -- *you* can't digest FOS, but the good bacteria in
your gut, the acidophilus and bifidus, can.  FOS is actually excellent
food for these healthy bacteria, and can be quite helpful to your
health, especially if you're prone to systemic yeast infections.

So why not just use FOS by itself?  A few reasons.  FOS, unlike stevia,
is *less* sweet than regular sugar; about half as sweet.  And you can't
just use twice as much, both because the stuff is really pricey, and
also because it would have about the same effect on your gut as eating
twice as much fiber -- you'd be running to the bathroom a lot!

Okay.  We've got two natural sweeteners, both of which are easy on your
blood sugar and your insulin levels -- one that's way too sweet, and one
that's not sweet enough.  Some genius has come up with the idea of
combining the two!  And that's SteviaPlus.

It's still not cheap; I pay about $7.50 for a box of 100 packets (it's
somewhat cheaper in bulk).  And because FOS attracts water, if you keep
it around for a few months without using it it will harden up in the
packets, and become *extremely* resistant to dissolving -- I can only
get solidified SteviaPlus to dissolve if I put in a blender with a
liquid and blend it for a while!  It also can still have a little of the
"edge" to the flavor that stevia has, although it's mellower, I think. 
But it's a *very* useful product for anyone who is avoiding sugar, but
is wary of artificial sweeteners.

The cookie recipes in this issue use some SteviaPlus; if you want to buy
it in bulk, my sister and I figured out that one packet is equal to 1/4
teaspoon of the bulk product.  If your healthfood store doesn't carry
SteviaPlus, you can find it online at http://www.steviaplus.com


Tee Shirt, Anyone?

We're about to order tee shirts printed for the Low Carb High Life
Cruise, and I wondered if any of you who are not going along would be
interested in a tee shirt?  They'll have a cruise ship/beach scene in
blues and purples on the front, and say "Low Carb High Life Cruise,
January 2001".  On the back they'll say, "Whaddaya mean, deprived?" ;-D 
I'm not certain what they'll cost us to print, so I'm not certain what
I'd charge, but figure in the $15 neighborhood.

Just thought I'd feel out the interest, so I know how many to order!


Holiday Shopping Low Carb!

Got a low carber on your Christmas or Hannukah list?  Need some ideas?  

Well, first of all, *DON'T* buy him or her my book!  Why?  Because it's
really, really rude to give someone a Christmas gift that says, "Merry
Christmas -- lose weight!"  If you're quite certain that he or she
*wants* my book, would absolutely *love* to have my book, that's
different, of course.  Then you should by him or her two copies! (Just
kidding.)  But I tend to think that giving someone a diet book for
Christmas is like giving them deodorant, or a nose hair clipper.  Bad
idea -- they might deck you.

However, there are plenty of books you can buy a low carb dieter for
Christmas -- or drop hints that you might like yourself! I'll be
shopping at Amazon.com myself -- after all, I don't have to leave the
house, they'll wrap it for me, and if I buy more than $100 worth of
stuff, they'll ship it free.  Here are a bunch of great choices for a
low carb holiday:

Way, way up there on the list would be both of Fran McCullough's books
-- Fran is not only a low carb dieter herself, but a professional
cookbook writer and editor.  Heck, the recipe for Gratin of Turnips
alone is worth buying her _The Low Carb Cookbook_!  And _Living Low
Carb_ is full of great tips and shopping ideas, as well as more recipes.
It also has *my* low carb story in it, and my chocolate mousse recipe! 
Not to mention a recipe for flourless chocolate cake that knocked my
sister's socks off!

The Low Carb Cookbook, hardcover:
The Low Carb Cookbook, paperback:
Living Low Carb, hardcover:

Then there's Diana Lee's _Baking Low Carb_.  This is a terrifically
helpful book for all low carbers, but especially for three groups: 
folks who miss baked goods *terribly*, people who are sick and tired of
eggs for breakfast (you could have a muffin instead!), and low carb
vegetarians, whose horizons it will broaden considerably.  One thing I
*really* like about this book is the fact that the recipes don't use
soy, they use mostly whey protein powder, instead.  A must-have for the
complete low carb kitchen:

Baking Low Carb:

(You might want to order this one right away -- Amazon says that
shipping on this one may take two weeks!)

Looking for ideas for what to do with "meat *again*?"  How about _Back
To Protein: The Low Carb/No Carb Meat Cookbook_?  Recipes for chicken
enchiladas, Beef Wellington, no-pasta Lasagne, and more!

Back To Protein: The Low Carb/No Carb Meat Cookbook:

Then there's _The Smart Guide To Low Carb Cooking_ -- again, I have
this, but haven't used it yet.  

The Smart Guide:

Running out of meal ideas?  Here's a book that calls itself

Low Carb Ideas: Good Food2:

On the other hand, you may be looking for something fast and easy to
cook.  What am I saying?!  *Of course* you're looking for something fast
and easy to cook!  Now you can try _Low Carb Meals in Minutes_

Low Carb Meals in Minutes:

One of the very first low carbohydrate cookbooks on the market was Alex
Haas' _Everyday Low Carb Cookery_.  Alex has been eating this way a
*long* time!  This is the new, revised edition --

Everyday Low Carb Cookery:

On the other hand, maybe you're a *serious* cook.  Or maybe, like me,
you just enjoy reading serious cookbooks!  _The Gourmet Prescription_ is
utterly beautiful, and has recipes for such gourmet delights as Grilled
Shrimp with Red Pepper Caper Sauce, Crab Bundles with Avocado-Ginger
Sauce, and Seared Duck Breast with Red Rice Vinegar.  This book calls
itself "lower carbohydrate", rather than "low carbohydrate, and some of
the recipes are higher carb than you should be eating while you're still
trying to lose weight, although others are quite low carb.  And even the
ones that are a little high would be fine for, say, a fancy dinner party
once you're maintaining -- or if you're one of the lucky ones who only
has to restrict carbs just a bit to lose weight!  For the true chef


So there's a big ol' pile of low carb cookbooks, to start with.  There
are two other cookbooks I've recommended before, and I'd like to
recommend again.  One is _The Compleat I Hate To Cook Book_, by Peg
Bracken.  This is a wonderful resource, even though many recipes in it
are not low carb.  Many of them are fine for us, though, and many can be
adapted easily by leaving out a spoonful of flour, or not serving them
over noodles, or whatever.  All the recipes in this book are easy, and
all of them that I've tried have tasted great. It's one of the books I
turn to most often for inspiration.  Not only that, but Peg Bracken is a
*wonderful* writer, and this is easily the funniest cookbook on the
market.  You need this book!  

The Compleat I Hate To Cook Book:
(Sadly, Amazon says they can't promise delivery by Christmas.  I'm going
to leave this book in the list anyway, because I love it so, and Peg
Bracken is a hero of mine.  Worth waiting for.)

The other non-low-carb cookbook I've recommended before is the
granddaddy of them all, the best selling cookbook *ever* in the English
language, _The Joy Of Cooking_.  Every kitchen needs this cookbook.  Not
only does it have a pile of recipes in it, it contains a *huge* wealth
of information, like how long to roast that big hunk of meat for, and
what substitutes for what, and measurement conversions, and what various
odd ingredients are and how they're used.  Especially if you're *not*
much of a cook, this is a good book to have, because it's got tons of
information in it that you don't know, but need!  I have two editions of
this book on my shelf -- and I've worn a third copy out!

The Joy of Cooking: 

(Note: there is also a New Joy of Cooking, but apparently what they've
added is largely grain and bean dishes.  Not for us!)

There are some other books that are useful to the low carb dieter, or
just the nutrition conscious.  For instance, every low carb dieter needs
a good food count book!  I keep two on my desk --

The Complete Book of Food Counts, by Corinne T. Netzer:
The Nutribase Complete Book of Food Counts:

Either of these would be the perfect stocking stuffer for any new low
carb dieter!

A different sort of food count book is _Food Values of Portions Commonly
Used_, by Jean Pennington.  This is the place to look if you want to
know what the vitamin and/or mineral value of a particular food.  Ever
wonder how I know what low carb foods are a good source of this or
that?  This is the book!  Curiously, it often leaves out fiber counts,
and so is *not* a great source for figuring usable carb counts.  But
it's a terrific resource nonetheless.

Food Values of Portions Commonly Used:

A simpler book about vitamins and minerals, and the single best selling
nutrition book in the entire world, is _The Vitamin Bible_, by Earl
Mindell.  This one also lives on my desk.  Doc Mindell and I don't agree
on everything; he's still a fan of soy and of low fat/high carb diets,
but he knows his vitamins and minerals.  This is an easy-to-use resource
if you want to look up the sources of various nutrients, what your body
uses them for, the doses you need, the overdose potential, all that

The Vitamin Bible:

That's enough for now!!  More gift ideas next week.


We Have *EVERYTHING* Low Carb, And It's All At a DISCOUNT!

Darrell Lea Chocolates, Atkins Bars, ProSlim Pasta, Baja Bob's Low Carb
Margarita and Strawberry Daquiri Mix, and Low Carb Bread Mixes to help
you with that Thanksgiving stuffing!  You can also find Low Carb
Cookbooks, Atkins Supplements, Ketosis strips, Protein Chips,  Low Carb
and much, much more!
EVERYTHING we sell is DISCOUNTED every day!
Get Dana Carpender's _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty
Pounds!_ for just $9.99! http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html

If you're Low Carb and Smart, you'll shop CarbSmart!



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

Love this book!
I found this book when I had just about finished the Induction phase of
Atkins Low Carb Diet. I had also read Protein Power. I was already sold
on staying Low Carb. I was looking for a book that  would break down the
Low Carb philosophy in
terms of "what's the easiest way to make this a part of my life". This
book does a great job
of explaining the different approaches to Low Carb Eating, eating out
and holidays - in other words,
"low carb life"! Now I know what to buy in the grocery store, and how to
put meals together (without
spending hours in the kitchen!.)

 A reader from New York, New York USA

Thanks, New Yorker! 

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.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html , 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

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