Lowcarbezine! 17 January 2001

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Hey, Gang!

I'm baaaack! We had perfect weather, and calm seas.  I've been to Hell
and back before lunch (there's a village on Grand Cayman called Hell),
swum with the stingrays, climbed Dunn's River Falls, played with sea
turtles, and eaten *incredible* food for a whole week -- and I'm a pound
lighter than when I left!  Plus it's all tax deductible.  Life is sweet!

Our group for the cruise was small, but wonderful.  It included Diana
Lee, who wrote _Baking Low Carb_, and it was fun to trade notes with
another self published low carb author.  We actually had three
mother-daughter pairs, and a pair of sisters, which made for a lovely
dynamic, and we all bonded as a group.  It was sad to say goodbye! 
We're all looking forward to the next get-together.

My husband Eric, aka our faithful webmaster, was the only man along, and
he withstood a fair amount of ribbing about his multiple "wives".  He
was a *huge* help, backing me up every step of the way.  And all our
cruisers agreed with me about just how wonderful a guy he is.

But the person who made it all possible, from the original idea for the
cruise, through shepherding us through every phase without a single
glitch or hang-up, was Patty Mishler, a low carb dieter who runs her own
cruise planning business, Cruise Horizons.  She saved us *sooo* many
hassles, and had so much practical experience, that none of us can
imagine how we would have done it without her.  We didn't have to deal
with port taxes or ground transportation, didn't have to guess who to
tip or how much (indeed, the vast majority of our gratuities were built
into the very reasonable price for our cruise), we had *no* problems
with meeting rooms on the ship and getting anything we needed for our
seminars,  we knew what to expect with embarking, debarking, lifeboat
drills and all the rest, and we didn't need to guess which shore
excursions were worth our time and money and which were not -- Patty

She's not paying me for this plug, nor does she even know it's coming,
although she'll see it, since she subscribes:  If you'd like to have the
cruise vacation of your life, with more fun and fewer problems than you
ever believed possible, for any number from one or two up to dozens, you
want to talk to Patty.  She's a true professional, and a sweetheart to

Call her.  Cruise Horizons: (800) 529-2469 
Or visit her online: http://www.cruisehorizons.com 

Patty, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Okay, on to the ezine.  Read on!



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Low Carb Feasting Aboard the Victory!

Boy, oh, boy.  If you want wall-to-wall food, go on a cruise.  They'll
give you three meals a day, plus a midnight buffet, 24 hour room
service, a 24 hour pizzeria, a deli, a stir fry place -- all thrown in
for the price of your cruise.  You never saw so much good food in your

And there were *abundant*, utterly *wonderful* low carb choices.  Not
saying that all of the low carb cruisers stayed on the straight and
narrow all day every day, the whole cruise through -- indeed, I don't
think *any* of the cruisers made it through the whole cruise without an
Indulgence.  Hey, we were on vacation!  But I don't think anyone went
nuts, either, and there was a whole lot of *superb* low carb food
consumed.  What sorts of low carb food?

Well, mostly we ate breakfast at the deck buffet, instead of in the main
dining room -- it's so lovely to eat breakfast in the sunshine, looking
out to sea.  At the buffet one could get both cantaloupe and honeydew --
both very low sugar fruits -- and grapefruit, which is only slightly
higher.  There were scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and ham, all ready
and waiting, and a chef at the ready, waiting to turn out fried eggs or
omelets on request.  Wonderful!  Do you know how great it is to eat all
the bacon you can hold every morning for a week, and never once clean up
the grease?

Sometimes I ate lunch at the buffet -- for instance, the first day I had
salad, various cheeses, and lovely roast beef, another day just a simple
cheeseburger (sans bun, of course) and some salad.  Other days I got a
few pieces of pepperoni pizza and ate the toppings, leaving the crust
behind.  I also got a chicken caesar salad with the pizza -- the chef
must have thought I was a pig!  I had a few lunches in the main dining
room -- one was a *superb* salad with steak dipped in toasted sesame
seeds and an oriental dressing.  The next day I had barbecued ribs for
lunch.  Yet another day -- the day of our product testing -- I was so
stuffed that I just ordered a double helping of the salad of the day. 

(This is a really luxurious feature of shipboard life -- you may order
as many helpings of anything off the menu as you like.  Want to try both
salads?  Fine.  Can't decide between the chicken and the lobster?  Have
both. Tempted by both the appetizer and the soup?  Why bother to choose?
Find the soup so good you want seconds?  No problem. Pretty wonderful!) 
Oh, and Patty, our wonderful, indispensable cruise planner had trout for
lunch one day; she said it was perfect.

Dinners in the main dining room were utterly wonderful!  Starters low in
carbs included pumpkin soup (divine!), chilled cream of cucumber soup,
breast of duck, grilled portobello mushrooms, and crab cocktail.  There
were two choices of salad every night -- always a mixed green salad,
which was wonderful, but I also had a cucumber salad, a caesar salad
(actually, I had two!), and something else I'm forgetting right now.  

And the main courses!  That first night, when I had nut-crusted rack of
lamb, I knew I was going to be happy, happy, happy!  The main courses I
tried included beef wellington with goose liver mousse, chateaubriand,
roast quail, pork medallions in wine sauce, filet mignon, and chicken
supreme (boneless breast stuffed with spinach and ricotta.)  I'm not a
big fan of seafood, but many in our group enjoyed seafood dishes,
including lobster tail, tiger shrimp, salmon, and tilapia.  All of them
drew raves. 

We ordered wine with dinner several nights, and the dry reds I tried
were marvelous, and while they weren't exactly bargain priced -- hey,
it's a cruise! -- they weren't any more expensive than they would have
been at a good restaurant on shore.

The Victory did have sugar free desserts available, but they weren't
necessarily low carb -- for instance, lemon cake would have had flour in
it, even though it didn't have sugar.  Also, they're still sweetening
their sugar-free desserts with aspartame; we'll have to let them know
about Splenda!  All of us had at least a *little* sugar indulgence while
on board.  It's not up to me to confess anyone else's sins, but I had a
bite of creme brulee (very nice), a few bites of my husband's cheesecake
(I can make better!), and about two thirds of a chocolate petit four
(devastating!).  For the most part, folks only had a sugar indulgence
when a true favorite was on the menu.  Also, one cruiser tried a bite or
two of several desserts at the midnight buffet one evening -- and didn't
finish any of them.  She had tried them to see if any of them were
things she wanted to come up with low carb versions of, but said none of
them were good enough to blow her diet on as they were.

The most popular dessert among our group was the cheese platter -- five
kinds of cheese, all of them of *excellent* quality.  Especially the
bleu and the brie; really wonderful.  I'd always heard about cheese as a
dessert, but never tried it before.  I found that it really is a nice
ending to a meal, and certainly fills up any little empty places one
might have left!  I think it sort of bugged our waiter, Atilla, though;
he seemed to take it as a personal insult that we usually didn't want
the sugary stuff.

Then there was the midnight buffet.  I only hit the midnight buffet
twice, but both times there were ample low carb choices, and I don't
mean just cheese cubes and cold cuts.  I mean lamb with roasted
vegetables.  Tandoori chicken.  Gravlax (a Scandinavian salmon dish). 
Lobster salad.  Tossed salad.  Strawberries.  Melon.  Thai pork in
coconut sauce.  There were plenty of carbs available, too, but anyone
who wanted to could find plenty of really wonderful low carb midnight
snacks to satisfy both their hunger and their palate.

My biggest carb indulgence on the cruise actually was not any sort of
dessert -- it was five-count'em-five Red Stripe beers in Jamaica.  I
love real beer, yet very rarely drink anything other than Miller Lite or
Milwaukee's Best Light, the lowest carb beers, so this was truly
appreciated.  Of course, I had also just climbed a water fall, and was
standing in a tropical rain in a nice little shopping center near the
pier, listening to reggae music.  Ambiance is a powerful thing!

I'll just mention, quickly, the less-than-stellar "brackets" around this
food experience:  We didn't have time to catch any food at the
Indianapolis airport on the way out of town, and so our breakfast on the
way down consisted of Vermont cheddar cheese and garlic beefstick that
we'd brought along in our carry-on luggage.  And on the way home, we
were stuck with the rather uninspiring food choices at the Fort
Lauderdale airport, so I made due with two Nathan's hot dogs.  I used
the buns for a holder, sliding the hot dog forward as I ate so I didn't
eat the bun.  The point?  You *can* eat low carb virtually anywhere if
you really want to!  It only takes a little dedication and a little

The upshot of the whole thing is that I actually came home having *lost*
about a pound!  Don't let anyone convince you that weight gain on a
cruise is inevitable, or that you'll be depriving yourself if you don't
eat all the desserts the cruise lines invariably provide.  You can eat
well on a cruise, and still have a great time eating!


Atkins Bake Mix on average costs $11.99 for 20 ounces. Aunt Pearl's Low
Carb Bake
Mix costs just *$7.38 for 24 ounces!*  
WHY PAY MORE?!?!?  Make low carb biscuits, pancakes, waffles, even pot
pies for LESS!!
http://www.lowcarbgrocery.com We now have _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet
and Lost Forty Pounds!_


Oh, Dear...

Alert reader Richard Andrews sent me an article he found at a website
called Newsmax, regarding the USDA and school lunches.  According to the
article -- and I should state here that Newsmax does appear to have a
pretty strongly conservative, anti-big-government slant -- we now have
to worry about the Feds enforcing the food pyramid on our children's
school lunches.  

Apparently the Oak Meadow Montessori School -- location not mentioned --
sent a note home to parents saying that while they had the choice of
either buying USDA approved school lunches for their children, or
sending the traditional sack lunch from home, that those sack lunches
*must conform to the food pyramid*, or the child would be fed a school
lunch, and the parents would be charged for it.

Further, the article stated that actually, this is federal law, and if
your kids' school isn't doing the same thing, it's because they don't
care to, rather than because they can't.  Pretty chilling.

So I went online to look for more info.  Couldn't find anything else
about the federal government being able to enforce the food pyramid in
your children's lunch boxes, but I did find the unhappy fact that the
USDA has, over the past few years, lowered the fat content -- especially
the saturated fat content -- of school lunches, while raising the
"number of grain choices", and permitting more and more soy to
substitute for meat. 

The lowered fat intake is bad enough; many fats are essential for proper
brain growth and function, but on the other hand, I suspect that many of
the fats in school lunches have been of the worst kind -- hydrogenated
vegetable oils, and highly processed polyunsaturated oils, used and
reused for frying.  Dropping these from the kids' menu would be a good
thing, but it would be nice if they were replaced with fats from nuts
and seeds, cheese, and eggs.

But increased "grain choices"?  Geez, if I recall correctly, school
cafeteria food in the early '70s (my junior high school days) was
already Festival Of Macaroni, Rice, and White Bread.  We need *more* of
this garbage?  God save us.

As for adding more soy to school lunches, can this be for any reason but
to appease the huge agribusiness conglomerates?  It is well established
-- has been established for *decades* -- that high soy intake in
children can cause permanent damage to the thyroid gland.  And despite
panic over chemicals and hormones fed to dairy cattle -- a legitimate
concern by the way -- everyone seems oblivious to the fact that a child
eating tofu and soy cheese, and drinking soy milk, can get estrogens
equivalent to a few birth control pills per day.  If we don't have the
budget to feed the kids meat, poultry and fish, feed 'em eggs.  Upping
their soy intake is an experiment in hormone supplementation in the
young -- and this increased soy intake is being pushed not only for the
elementary and secondary schools, but for day care centers as well.

All of this about the increased soy, the increase grain, and the lowered
fat content, is for certain.  There's no question that the USDA has been
making these changes in our children's school lunches.  The question
remains as to whether sending lunch with your child -- especially if
that child is obese, has behavioral problems, or has other signs of
carbohydrate intolerance -- is, and will remain, a viable option for the
concerned parent.  I will call the USDA this week and ask what, exactly,
the straight dope is on government intrusion into home-packed lunches.

Inquiring minds want to know.


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 Daiquiri 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
Tortillas, 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 Success Story!

Having  lost 110 pounds in one year (247 to 135),  on a low carb diet 
(Atkins), I thought I'd share a couple of ideas that worked for me. 

My best low-carb strategy was to give myself a treat every week that I
weight. My treat was flowers -- usually a small. inexpensive bunch from
street vendor or the grocery store. I'd  arrange them in a pretty vase,
them on the sideboard where I could see them every time I sat down to
and they were a constant reminder of the joys of low carbing. And on the
week when I didn't lose weight, just seeing the flowers slowly wilting
was a 
different reminder. Now that I'm on maintenance,  I reward myself every
that I stay at my goal weight. 

My best tip won't be helpful to everyone, but is for those who enjoy,
and can 
tolerate, an occasional "sweet" cocktail.  My husband and I enjoy going
with friends for Sunday brunch and, pre-diet, I always had a
When I started on this plan, we stopped going for a while, because I
knew I wouldn't enjoy brunch without that cocktail. But when we had some 
out-of-town visitors I got the idea of taking along a little canister of 
sugar-free Tang, ordered a gin and seltzer, and added a teaspoon of Tang
looks and tastes just like the real thing. Brunch -- usually Eggs
without the muffin -- became a wonderful treat again. Now I keep a
of sf Tang in my purse when I go to a reception, cocktail party, or
occasion where drinks will be served. BTW, the gin never seemed to slow
weight loss. 

I've had many favorite recipes over the year, but your Hazelnut
cookies are my new favorite "dessert" recipe. 

Thank you for a great newsletter. 

L. Koizumi

Thank *you*!  One hundred and ten pounds!!  WOW!  And I *love* the
flower idea.


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Each slice is only 3.8 carbs and tastes as good as, if not better than,
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order of $60 or more at http://www.synergydiet.com. Or, call our toll
free number 1-877-877-1558. All orders shipped right to your door. Happy
Low Carb New Year from Synergy Diet!  


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

 I have been on weight loss diets almost all of my life! I've lost and
gained over 500 pounds in my lifetime. This will no longer be the case
for me now that I have read Dana Carpender's book "How I Gave Up My Low
Fat Diet And Lost Forty Pounds" and am  following her plan! I am now at
the lowest weight I have been in ten years and it was so easy to attain
this weight loss. How can you call this program a diet? I've eaten
steak, chicken, veggies, cheese and occasionally Peanut M&M's, ice cream
and chocolate mousse! This program is not a starvation plan. I have
felt so satisfied and healthy and have so much energy! Best of all I
know I will be able to stay on this food program for the rest of my
life! If you are tired of the diet yo-yo I highly recommend Dana's book.
It's a fun, fast paced, easy read and it will be the last diet book
you'll ever need to buy!

 J. Crear, Hobart, WI 

Thanks, J!

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!


Product Review

Oh, boy.  Have I tried new products!!  We had an onboard trade show on
the cruise, and our advertisers came through *BIG TIME* with products
for us to try!  I'm not going to try to review them all in one article,
or this thing will be too big for anyone to receive.  Instead I'll
spread it out over the next several weeks.

But first, I'd like to give recognition to the low carb e-tailers who
made our trade show possible -- and who support this ezine with their

* Synergy Diet sponsored a different sugar-free candy each day, plus
sent tons of stuff for the trade show; they're at
http://www.synergydiet.com .  

* Carb Smart sponsored our end-of-the-cruise cocktail party, with tons
of Baja Bob's sugar free margarita and strawberry daiquiri mix (I'm
drinking a Baja Bob's margarita as I write this!), and also sent mucho
stuff for the trade show.  http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html .  

* Low Carb Grocery sent low carb, high protein pudding mix and Cranberry
Crunch cereal for the trade show, and also provided a package of their
Aunt Pearl's Low Carb Bake Mix (good stuff!) for everyone to take home
-- we couldn't exactly bake biscuits on the ship!
http://www.lowcarbgrocery.com .  

* Low Carb Outfitters sent great stuff for the trade show, including
their wonderful jerkies, some of the best I've had.
http://www.lowcarboutfitters.com . 

* Dr. Paul Kanter sent a bottle of starch blockers for each of us to try
-- I ate bread a couple of times on the cruise, but came home a pound
down, so I'm thinking this did work.  I plan to get a blood sugar
testing kit and put this to the "acid test"!

Thank you all!!

Okay, let me start with the sweets.  We had *piles* of sugar free candy,
thanks to Synergy Diet! They were kind enough to sponsor a different low
carb sweet for each day we were at sea!  We called this the Low Carb

 We had: Darrell Lea sugar free chocolate coated coffee beans, chocolate
covered almonds, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, "Rocky Road", which
is chocolate with coconut, hazelnuts, peanuts, and sugar free
sugar free meringue nests with sugar free lemon curd to put in them,
sugar free taffies, and sugar free hard candy!!  Unbelievable!

All of the chocolates were popular, and everyone agreed that the Darrell
Lea chocolate is indistinguishable from the sort with sugar in it. 
Which variety of chocolates folks liked best depended on their personal
tastes -- for instance, we had some folks on the cruise who simply did
not care for coffee in any form; oddly enough, they didn't care for the
chocolate covered coffee beans.  I, on the other hand, adore them, and
so did all our coffee lovers.  On the cruise we had these in milk
chocolate, but Synergy Diet also has them in dark chocolate, which is
even better, if you ask me!  The chocolate covered almonds were
universally popular; the macadamia nuts nearly so -- Patty, our cruise
planner, pronounced them "incredible".  One of our reviewers said of the
Rocky Road that it had "just the right balance" of coconut, marshmallow,
nuts, and chocolate.  It is clear that the low carb chocolate-lover need
not feel that he or she is compromising taste or texture at all when
ordering Darrell Lea's wonderful sugar free chocolates!

The hard candies were pronounced excellent, and several cruisers were
found to be carrying these in pocket or purse for the rest of the trip. 
The taffies won fans for various flavors, with the caramel and
strawberry flavors being the most popular.  The taffies also come in
mango, passionfruit, mint, and licorice.  The texture on both of these
products is excellent as well --  in particular, if you liked Starburst
fruit chews as a kid, I'm guessing you'll like these taffies!

One thing that everyone agreed upon was that the warnings on the sugar
free candy labels, that excess consumption will cause a laxative effect,
were to be taken seriously.  This is candy which will absolutely
*enforce* moderation!  Overindulge, and you *will* be sorry.  But I ate
more of these sweets this week than I normally do, and didn't gain an
ounce -- indeed, I lost a pound.

A real winner, too, were the meringue nests with with Jokin' Al Lemon
Curd -- a sort of jarred lemon pudding.  We spooned the curd into the
crisp meringue nests -- sort of like a tart shell -- and ate the two
together.  Only one person didn't care for these -- felt the meringue
was a bit too sweet -- but everyone else thought it was delicious.  One
cruiser -- Linda -- stated that it was better than any lemon meringue
pie she'd ever had.  If you're a lemon meringue pie fan, this is for
you!  It was also stated several times that this was a simple dessert
that one wouldn't hesitate to serve to dinner party guests.

Regarding these meringue nests:  My mother has long made a truly
incredible chocolate pie with a crust of crisp meringue and a filling
made largely of melted chocolate chips and whipped cream.  I'm thinking
that with Darrell Lea sugar free chocolate chips and these meringue
nests, I could come up with a low carb version, and trust me, if I do,
you will all be very, very happy!

Many, many thanks, from me and all our cruisers, to Synergy Diet for
sponsoring the Sweet-of-the-Day! http://www.synergydiet.com

Next week:  Low Carb Snack Foods -- some real surprises here, including
*great* low carb crackers, and delicious chips made of -- get this --
psyllium fiber!


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

Dana W. Carpender

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