Lowcarbezine! 28 March 2001

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Hey, Gang!

Did you know that this greeting is the hardest part of the newsletter to
write?  I can't think of anything interesting to say, I said it all in
my articles.

So read on, and I'm going to go stretch and eat supper!



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A Bad Case Of Sugar Addiction

I get a *lot* of email.  I read all of it, but don't have time to answer
all of it (although I do answer quite a lot of it.) I care about all my
readers, but every now and then I get a plea that is so desperately
miserable that it pierces my heart.

I got one of these this week.  It's from a woman I will only identify as
Marie.  Marie has 100 pounds to lose, and describes herself as a sugar
addict.  She says, "I just can't seem to make it through one day without
it.  it's like i am an alcoholic in a liquor store."  She describes
herself as "a prisoner of a can of Coke."  She worries that her son is
just as addicted as she is, and that she's setting a bad example.  She
says she "cringes" at the thought of Diet Coke and artificial
sweeteners, and doesn't know if it's psychological, or part of her
addiction.  She refers to her size as "disgusting", and says she's so
drained by 7 pm that she has to take a nap.  The heartfelt cry comes
through the email: "Why can't I just break free from this?  Do
others go through this also?"

Yes.  Oh, yes.  Many, many people go through this, and if you count all
of the people who are addicted to other substances, the number goes even
higher.  So this article is for you, Marie, and for all of the Maries
out there, reading this.

First of all, I want you to realize that you really *are* a drug
addict.  Sugar is a powerful, deadly, highly addictive drug, just as
much so as those other white, crystalline plant extracts that the
government has seen fit to ban.  I do *not* say this to stigmatize you,
by any means -- I would be stigmatizing myself, as well, for I stole to
support my sugar habit in my day.  No, I say it to make you realize that
you're not crazy, you're not just "weak" -- you have a genuine
biochemical problem, a physiological problem.  And physiological
problems are amenable to physiological solutions.  

Of course, there are psychological issues involved as well, how could
there not be?  After all, we're emotional beings, and even more than
that, our brains are *part of our bodies*, so the two are intimately
intertwined.  But I think if we can get your physiological state headed
in the right direction, you'll be able to deal with the emotional

(This is the opposite of what has been popular for a few decades -- the
idea that we have to deal with our emotions before we can deal with the
physical.  I don't agree.  I think bodies are *far* easier to work with
than hearts and minds, and that the physical has a *huge* effect on the
emotional, so let's start with the easy stuff, shall we?  I call this
approach "somatopsychic", the exact opposite of "psychosomatic".)

Marie, clearly simply quitting sugar cold turkey isn't working for you. 
It *can* be hard, since the stuff is literally *everywhere*.  At least
if a heroin addict or a cocaine addict wants to quit their drug cold
turkey, it's easy to find a place where there isn't any supply around,
but just try getting away from sugar!

So, let's forget about you quitting cold turkey, and talk about some
other strategies.

First of all, I want you to focus on getting *healthy* before you focus
on losing weight.  I want you to think in terms of eating the things
that your body needs, rather than on *not* eating the things that are
bad for you.  I'm not encouraging you to eat sugar, here.  Rather, I'm
suggesting a change of focus. 

Make sure that you're eating your high protein breakfast *every
morning*.  If you want to have some fruit with it, that's fine by me --
some strawberries or blueberries, or perhaps a wedge of melon.  But be
certain to have at least two to three ounces of a protein food every
morning -- a couple of eggs, a couple of sausage patties, a scoop of
cottage cheese, a hamburger patty, whatever you like.  This is utterly
essential; it will effect your blood sugar, and therefore your hunger
and cravings, for the rest of the day.

Eat at least 4-5 ounces of protein *and* plenty of low carb vegetables
with your lunch and dinner, and have a little snack of something low
carb, but high in protein and nutritive value no less often than every
three hours.  Sunflower or pumpkin seeds would be *ideal*, but a slice
of cheese, some vegetables with dip made with yogurt or cottage cheese,
would all be fine.  We're not talking a *huge* amount of food at these
snacks, just a bit -- a couple of tablespoons of seeds, an ounce of
cheese, that sort of thing.  We're working on stabilizing your blood
sugar, and reducing cravings.

One other thing:  We're not going to take away your Coke yet, but I want
you to drink at least as much water as Coke.  The easiest way to do this
is to simply chug a big glass of water -- 12 ounces or more -- before
you open each can of Coke.  We're not trying to take away your Coke yet,
you see, but want to wean you away from the practice of relying on
something sugary to quench thirst. 

Also, remember that a Coke addiction is not just a sugar addiction, but
also a caffeine addiction.  Experiment with other caffeine-containing
beverages.  Coffee and tea are the most obvious; try having some iced
tea in place of a Coke now and then.  Again, since we're not getting rid
of your sugar yet, you may put sugar in it if you like, for the time
being -- you're unlikely to add as much sugar as you'll find in a can of
Coke!  (For the record, a can of Coke has the corn syrup equivalent of
*10 teaspoons* of sugar per can -- nearly a quarter cup.)  We're not
even going to *consider* cutting caffeine out of your life.  It's a
non-problem compared to the sugar.

I also want you taking supplements.  A good, strong, multi-vitamin is
*essential*.  This should have *big* doses of all the B vitamins,
including the ones that the cheap supplements often leave out --
choline, inositol, biotin, pantothenic acid (B5).  Twenty five
milligrams a day of B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B6
(pyrodoxine) are
not excessive in the least.  You should also be getting a broad spectrum
of minerals, preferably in a "chelated" form.  ("Chelated" means that
the minerals have been bound to a protein, so that your body absorbs
them better.)  In particular, you need to be getting at least 1000 mgs
(1 gram) per day of calcium, and at least 500 mgs per day of magnesium.

You will *not* get all of this with a one-pill-per-day supplement; don't
think you can just take Centrum or One-a-Day and get what you need.  You
can't.  In particular, these cheap supplements are always short on
since calcium and magnesium are bulky, and take up a *lot* of space. 
(If you just take calcium/magnesium tablets, it generally takes between
2 and 6 to get 1000 mgs of calcium and 500 mgs of magnesium, so you can
see how a one tablet a day supplement won't have everything you need.) 
You should also be sure to get at least 50 mgs of chromium a day (more
won't hurt, within reason); this helps stabilize blood sugar.  If you
don't eat fish fairly regularly, you might consider taking a vanadium
supplement as well, or looking for a vitamin which contains vanadium.

You'll probably need to go to a health food store for these supplements;
drug stores or places like KMart and WalMart will not have anything
adequate. Two health food store products I think are quite good are Twin
Lab Mega 6 (This is a capsule of moderate size; you ideally you take two
with each meal) , and Twin Lab DualTabs. (Keep in mind that the DualTabs
are a *BIG* tablet; if you have trouble swallowing big pills, this
wouldn't be for you.  It is, however, an excellent product, although you
will still need at least one calcium/magnesium tablet a day along with
your two DualTabs.) Some network marketing companies
also have excellent supplements; I've taken products from Life Plus,
FreeLife, and Vaxa, and think that they were all very good; however,
these tend to run very high, price wise.  

(If you'd like to order either of those Twin Lab products online, you
can get them at a discount at The Vitamin Shoppe, at
http://www.vitaminshoppe.com .  No, I get no kickbacks.  They haven't
even paid me for this mention.  Just a good place to get discounted

Another good place to get vitamins fairly inexpensively is Puritan's
Pride; I buy a lot of my supplements there.  I take their Iron-Free
Green Source multiple; this needs a calcium/magnesium with it.  Their
Daily 3 and Mega-Vita-Min are also good products.  Both of these do need
a calcium/magnesium with them as well.  http://www.puritans.com )

The point of this is that people who have been eating junk for a long
time are apt to have multiple low-level deficiencies.  These can cause
depression and anxiety, which don't make changing your diet any easier. 
They can also cause "hidden hunger" -- your body, despite having far too
many calories, doesn't have all the vitamins and minerals it needs, so
it craves more and more, trying to get what it's missing.  Deficiencies
can also make blood sugar instability worse, which will also cause

Notice I haven't said a word about what *not* to eat, so far.  I'm
talking about making sure that your body is getting the food and water
it needs --
the protein and fats it needs to build and repair and balance its
hormonal systems, the micronutrients it needs to process everything,
make energy, and maintain proper brain chemistry, and the water needed
to act as a solvent and to remove toxins.  There's a terrible tendency
in folks who are overweight and sugar addicted to try to cut
calories by eating less of the healthy stuff to make "calorie room" for
the sugar.  Don't do it. 

At this point, we're not cutting sugar out of your diet altogether, but
you *must* eat the healthy stuff.  If you still have room for the sugary
stuff *after* you eat the healthy stuff, okay, but do *not* omit the
meat, the eggs, the vegetables, the nuts and seeds, to make room for
Coke and candy and cookies.  Remember, right now we're not worrying
about your weight; we're trying to create better health.  A stronger,
healthier body will be in a better position to kick an addiction.

The one thing you might consider cutting out of your diet is all of the
processed carb-y stuff that you eat out of habit, rather than because
you really, really want it.  Don't really care one way or another about 

Okay, so we've got you eating the good stuff, and taking your vitamins. 
What else?

I want you to get some *mild* exercise.  A fifteen minute walk, once or
twice a day would do fine.  If your knees or back hurt -- very common in
people who are quite overweight -- see if you can find a pool; the water
will support you and prevent injury.  You don't have to swim if you
don't want to; just walking in the water, back and forth, as quickly as
you can without getting out of breath, is fine exercise.  Either way, do
some deep breathing while you exercise.

This is *all* I want you to do for at least a month.  Make sure you
*are* eating *all* the good stuff, take your vitamins, get a little
exercise.  You're not giving anything up yet.  Got it?  And stay off of
the scale for the time being.  You're not trying to lose weight, you're
just trying to improve your nutritional status.  Yes, I know you
desperately want to lose weight, but a month's investment in laying the
groundwork for a lifetime of better habits and lower weight isn't that
much to ask of yourself.

Once you've spent a month or so doing all of this, *then* it's time to
start cutting out the sugar.  However, I suspect that if you do what
I've outlined above, you'll find that your sugar consumption has already
started to drop all by itself, simply because you'll be full, and your
cravings will be less.  This is the *perfect* place to be to start
getting the sugar out of your life.

So how to do it?  Me, I cut sugar out overnight.  Just dropped it.  And
that worked fine for me.  And perhaps, after this month or so of
preparation, you'll be ready for this.  On the other hand, maybe you

If that's the case, I'd suggest trying a mini-binge diet.  However, I
*wouldn't* recommend doing it the way it's outlined in my book, because
I'd be reluctant to cut out your healthy snacks; we want you *full*,
with *rock steady* blood sugar.  Instead, I'd recommend that you see if
you can find _Healthy For Life_, by Richard and Rachael Heller, of
Carbohydrate Addict's Diet fame -- it's currently out of print, but your
library should be able to get it for you through Interlibrary Loan, if
they don't have it on hand.  (Most libraries don't charge for this
service, bless them!)  If not, get their _Carbohydrate Addicts Life Span
Program_, the updated version of CAD which allows snacks.  Either way,
neither of these plans will require you to completely give up
*anything*, which can be a real psychological comfort when you're
starting out.  You may or may not lose on these programs -- I didn't,
but I know *many* people who did.  The good thing about them is that
they will give you a framework in which to start controlling your sugar
intake, without scaring you to death with "You must *never, ever* taste
these again!

Once you're well into either the Healthy For Life program or
Carbohydrate Addict's Diet Lifespan Program, you may decide that you
want to cut your carbs/sugar even further, and that's okay.  (The one
thing in the Heller's books that you should ignore is their repeated
statements that carbs are essential, and that it's terribly unhealthy to
cut them out entirely, a la Atkins or Protein Power.  Millions of us out
here can testify that that's just not true.)  However, if you're losing
weight and feeling good on those programs, you may decide to stay right
there, and that's just fine.

Three other thoughts: 

1)  Marie, you're worried about your son and his sugar addiction.  My
understanding from folks with kids, and from my own childhood addiction,
is that kids will eat huge quantities of sugar when it's provided for
free, but are remarkably reluctant to earn their own money to buy it. 
As you cut the supply at home, his intake will drop -- practice the
words, "Where's *your* money?"  However, count the money in your
wallet.  (This is *not* a slur on your child, nor on your parenting
skills.  This is real-world advice from a girl who had *wonderful*
parents, and terrific parenting, and who has grown up to be an honest,
upstanding, hard-working citizen -- but who stole money from her
parents' wallets to get sugar when her addiction was at its worst. 
Junkies are *driven*.)  

Also, you should do your best to start him on the health-improvement
program as well, *especially* the high-protein breakfast.  If you can't
get him to eat eggs for breakfast, he might eat a hamburger patty --
hard to find an American kid -- unless they were raised vegetarian --
who doesn't like hamburgers.  A couple of string cheese sticks might go
over.  Or you could give him a sugar-free protein shake; lots of them on
the market, or you could use the stevia-sweetened recipe in my book if
you don't want to give him artificial sweeteners.  How hard could it be
to get him to drink a chocolate, vanilla, or peanut butter shake?  If
he's in a hurry in the mornings, put the ingredients in the blender the
night before, and stash it in the fridge.  Next morning, blend it up,
pour it in a paper or plastic cup, and send it with him to the bus stop.

Be aware that in one clinical study this one change -- a high protein,
low carbohydrate breakfast -- cut hunger so much in teenaged boys that
they ate 81% fewer calories for the rest of the day!  Very, very
powerful stuff.

2) Another thought -- Marie, you say you cringe at the thought of Diet
Coke and artificial sweeteners; you don't mention whether you are
worried about them because they are, indeed, artificial, or whether
you're sure you won't like the taste.  Either way, let's talk about it:

If you're concerned about artificial sweeteners being unhealthy and
unnatural:  First of all, keep in mind that the fact that something is
"natural" means *NOTHING* in terms of it being *healthy*, or even
harmless.  Many of the most toxic substances in the world are 100%
natural -- botulism toxin comes to mind.  Rattlesnake venom.  Death
angel mushrooms.  All quite natural, and all just as deadly as can be. 
There's even a natural substance called ricin -- it comes from castor
beans -- which can kill you in doses as small as a few hundred
molecules!  For that matter, cocaine, heroin, and tobacco are all
natural substances, and I trust you wouldn't argue that they were not

I am not telling you that artificial sweeteners are completely without
risk.  I know of *nothing* that is completely without risk!  However, I
will tell you that it is clear that *sugar* is a *huge* risk, that it
kills thousands and thousands of people every year, from heart disease,
diabetes, cancers, and more, and makes millions more *miserable* from
blood sugar swings and by causing brain-affecting deficiencies. 
Further, there is *nothing* natural about being able to drink 10
teaspoons of sugar in a few minutes; one can of Coke has more than twice
as much sugar as your post-Civil War ancestors ate in an entire day. 
Just as Bolivian natives don't seem to take much harm from chewing coca
leaves, but extracted cocaine is deadly and addictive, there is a HUGE
difference between eating an apple and eating/drinking things with
concentrated, processed sugar.  In short, if you're thinking that sugar
is better for your body than artificial sweeteners, you're fooling

However, I am aware that aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal) is *tremendously*
controversial, and that many people feel that it causes nasty symptoms
in them.  I'm not about to argue; I stopped drinking diet pop when it
all started being sweetened with aspartame instead of saccharine,
because it seemed to give me anxiety attacks.  There is all sorts of
shouting on both sides of this issue, with the FDA and Monsanto
insisting that the stuff is safe, safe, safe, and consumers and some
organizations insisting that aspartame causes everything from headaches
to multiple sclerosis.  Furthermore, Dr. Atkins states that aspartame
can interfere with fat burning on a cellular level; I don't have the
expertise needed to evaluate this statement, but I do know that roughly
half of low carb dieters have trouble losing weight if they regularly
drink diet soda or Crystal Lite, or eat diet Jell-O.

As a result of all of this, I use aspartame only very rarely -- really,
I only use it when I make a recipe which includes sugar free instant
pudding powder, like my chocolate mousse recipe, or my whipped topping
recipe.  In these small, infrequent doses, I notice *no* ill effects
from aspartame.

However, there are other artificial sweeteners on the market!  Splenda
has been tested to a fare-thee-well, and appears to be pretty darned
safe; it's also been in use in other countries for a whole lot longer
than it's been available here -- I used to get it through a Canadian
cyberpal.  The chemical name for Splenda is sucralose; you can look for
both terms on labels.  

For that matter, good old saccharine, which has long carried a cancer
warning, has been cleared by the FDA after all these years; they have
officially removed saccharine from the list of cancer-causing
substances.  (Now if they'd only put sugar *on* the list...)  You do
still see the warning labels; I can only guess that manufacturers are
selling off the ends of their stores of these products with the old

Then there's acesulfame-K, aka ace-K, acesulfame potassium, or, for some
reason which passes understanding, Sunnette.  (What the stuff has to do
with sun, I do not pretend to know.)  I have not been able to find much
information about ace-K, but it's not very widely used, either, so I'm
not going to sweat it.

There is also stevia, which seems a lot like an artificial sweetener in
its intense sweetness and occasional aftertaste, but is completely
natural, apparently totally safe, and is even suspected to improve blood
sugar stability.  Stevia is the sweetener of choice for people who
completely reject artificial sweeteners.  Sadly, you'll have to make all
your own stevia sweetened foods and beverages, since the FDA only allows
stevia to be sold as a "supplement", rather than used widely as the
sweetener it is.  Still, this is a very useful option, and I know a fair
number of people who feel that stevia tastes *better* than sugar in iced
tea or coffee.  I think the stevia/FOS blends on the market taste better
than straight stevia extract, and are easier to use.

So, Marie, if your worry about Diet Coke is that the aspartame makes you
nervous, you can get sodas sweetened with other artificial sweeteners. 
Good old Tab has made a comeback; it's in all the grocery stores around
here, and it's still sweetened with saccharine.  (You don't even want to
*know* how much Tab I used to drink...)  For that matter, Diet Rite is
now sweetened with sucralose/Splenda; they also make several other soda
flavors; the fruit flavors, like raspberry and white grape are
particularly appealing -- guests at my big barbecue bash last summer
gave these rave reviews, even folks who never drink diet soda.

On the other hand, you may simply be worried that artificially sweetened
products won't taste good.  If that's the case, you haven't tried
Splenda!  Stuff tastes *great*.  Really, really great.  If taste is your
concern, this is the product I'd go with, and I'd try the sucralose
sweetened sodas by Diet Rite first.  (Pretty soon most diet soda will be
sucralose sweetened.)

But there are desserts made with other artificial sweeteners that taste
very good, and not at all "fake".  For instance, the two dessert recipes
on the recipe page at my website -- Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse To DIE
For and Strawberry Cups -- both taste wonderful. (
http://www.holdthetoast.com/recipes.html )  I have served them over and
over, to dieters and non-dieters alike, and I have only gotten *raves*,
even from people who were only tasting a tiny bit out of curiosity. 
"Wow, that really *is* good!" they exclaim in amazement.  Well, yeah. 
It's amazing how far a good shot of heavy cream will go to getting rid
of the "diet" taste...  

So here's a challenge to you, Marie, while you're getting your
nutritional house in order for the next month or so -- I want you to try
at least one new sugar-free dessert recipe per week, and two would be
better.  Start with the two recipes I mention above; they're both fast
and easy to make.  If your concern about artificial sweeteners has to do
with health, rather than taste, you might buy _Low Carb Cooking With
Stevia_, by Kirkland (
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1928906141/lowcarbohysoluti );
you'll get lots of ideas for sugar free, low carb desserts using

Either way, the point is to explore the world of sugar free yumminess
*before* you start trying to get the sugar out of your diet.  That way,
once you do start cutting the sugar out of your life, you'll have some
sugar free desserts that you *know* taste really good that you can turn

One note about this:  I found it really interesting, when I first
developed the chocolate mousse recipe, that while I couldn't *taste* the
difference -- the stuff tasted great -- the buzz was gone.  The body
knew, and while the mouth was definitely enjoying the experience, the
body didn't drive me to eat and eat and eat, because it *knew* it wasn't
getting its fix.  Interesting.

3)  I've given this advice before, and I'll give it again:  Make a list
-- yes, actually get out a pencil and paper and make a real list -- of
all of the foods you really, really love that are low carb and good for
you.  Fresh strawberries with whipped cream.  Lobster with lemon
butter.  Imported brie.  Peanuts in the shell.  Deviled eggs.  Shrimp
sautéed in butter, with plenty of garlic.  Ribeye steaks, broiled just
right.  Whatever it is that rings *your* chimes.  Then buy it.  Cook
it.  Eat it!  

Make another list of things that you love, but don't usually buy, that
aren't even food -- a massage, or an hour's long distance call to an old
friend, or a pedicure.  Fresh cut flowers.  Perfume.  A great haircut.
Tickets to a show.  A two hour soak in a hot tub, with a trashy novel
and a glass of wine. Start using *these* as rewards to yourself now and

These two lists -- the low carb yummy list, and the non-food reward list
-- are *very* powerful tools for beginning to change the way you think
about reward versus deprivation.

So there you go; your own personal program.  Well, you and anyone else
who's reading this who has tried and failed to make the break from

Let me know how you do, will you?



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Low Carb Spotlight Food-of-the-Week

Spring is Asparagus Time!  

Okay, now we can get asparagus year 'round, but it's still best -- and
cheapest -- in the spring. In fact, asparagus is a member of the same
family as Lily of the Valley; hard to get spring-ier than that!  It's
*wonderful*, and boy, is it low carb.  Here's the breakdown:

* Depending on where I look, asparagus either has 2 grams of carb in 5
spears -- with 2 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of *ZERO*, or
2.5 grams in 4 spears, with 1.3 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count
of 1.2 grams.  Either way, we're talking *very* low carb here.  Enjoy
without guilt.

* Asparagus is a *terrific* source of folic acid, with 88 mcg in 6
spears.  Folic acid helps keep down homocysteine levels, which --
theoretically, at least -- lowers your risk of heart disease.  It also
helps prevent neural tube defects in babies (that's when the spine
doesn't completely grow around the spinal cord.  Very bad.  Pregnant
women, eat some asparagus.)

* It's a fine source of vitamin A, with 75 units of beta carotene (which
your body turns into vitamin A), and 746 units of actual vitamin A in
those 6 spears.

* It's also a great source of potassium -- 279 mg. of potassium in 6
spears.  That's more than a banana, and a *whole* lot easier on your

* Asparagus is a goodish source of riboflavin, vitamin B2 -- it has
about .11 mg of this vitamin, which doesn't sound like a lot, but is
about 10% of your RDA.  

* Asparagus offers a bit of calcium and magnesium -- 22 mg. of calcium
and 17 mg. of magnesium; not a ton, but every little bit helps.  

* Plus 18 mg of vitamin C (that's 20% of the RDA, but I think the RDA is
pitifully low), a bit of several B vitamins, and some other minerals,
including small amounts of zinc, phosphorus, manganese, and iron.

You can, of course, buy asparagus canned or frozen, but this is one of
those vegetables which is *by far* the best if you buy it fresh.  Canned
and frozen asparagus, however, are useful for things like soups -- see
the recipe in the Cooking Low Carb section.

To prepare asparagus, simply break the bottom ends off where they want
to break.  You can save the ends for soup, if you like.  Some people
like to remove the "claws" along the spear with a vegetable peeler, but
I never bother.

I like to cook my asparagus in an old stove top coffee perker with the
guts removed.  Why?  Because this way the tougher ends boil, while the
tender tips steam.  I break off the tough bottoms, as above, stand the
asparagus up in the coffee pot, add about 2" of water, and put the lid
on.  Bring it to a boil, then cook for just five minutes or so -- I like
my asparagus tender-crisp.  

Don't have an old coffee pot?  Reader Robin Redding suggests using your
frying pan.  Fill it halfway with water, bring it to a boil, and throw
in your asparagus.  Immediately lower the burner to medium heat.  Cook
just four or five minutes, then drain and serve.

If you'd rather microwave your asparagus, the Asparagus Board recommends
that you arrange it in a baking dish with the tips in the center (this
assumes a circular dish.)  Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and microwave at
full power for 6 minutes.  Remember to uncover it right away, or it will
continue cooking!

For that matter, you can grill asparagus.  Marinate it in a mixture of 2
parts olive oil to one part lemon juice, with a little salt and pepper,
for at least an hour.  Then grill for no more than ten minutes --
threading several spears on a skewer makes it much easier to keep it
from falling through the grill!

If you're making a roast, you can cook your asparagus right along with
it.  Just wrap each serving tightly in a foil packet, after adding a
little crushed garlic and olive oil, and maybe a little lemon juice, or
white wine.  Roast the packets at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Each diner
can have his or her own little packet of asparagus.  

Remember that you can use cut asparagus in stir fries -- for instance,
chicken stir fried with mushrooms and asparagus, with a little garlic,
soy sauce, and dry sherry, would be very nice indeed.

How about cheese-topped asparagus?  Under-cook your asparagus a little,
put it in a shallow baking dish or pie plate, pile grated parmesan or
romano cheese on top, and broil just until the cheese starts to brown. 
This would be especially nice if you drizzled the asparagus with a
little garlic-flavored olive oil before topping it with the cheese!

A nice appetizer:  Take one asparagus stalk per diner, a little
under-cooked.  Wrap each one in a thin slice of gruyere cheese and a
thin slice of lean boiled ham, roll it up and hold with a toothpick. 
Broil several inches from the heat just until you can see the edges of
the cheese starting to melt, and serve.

Told some cyberpals I was writing this article -- here's an idea from my
pal Scott Wilson:

You've got to include bacon wrapped asparagus... it's simple and low
carb. Take an asparagus... take a slice of bacon... wrap bacon around
asparagus... throw on grill.  (or broil, or George Foreman, or throw in
pan....)  This is *really* good.  (Scott doesn't say so, but I'm
figuring that this is done when the bacon is cooked.)

What to serve on/with plain boiled or steamed asparagus?  Personally, I
like lemon butter, but hollandaise is the classical accompaniment. 
However, I have never made actual hollandaise sauce, so I'm not about to
try to give you instructions.  You can find them in most big,
encyclopedic cookbooks, you can buy it in a can, or you can try

Hollandaise For Sissies

You'll need either a double boiler or a heat diffuser for this -- it
needs *very* gentle heat.  If you're using a double boiler, you want the
water in the bottom hot, but not boiling.  If you're using a heat
diffuser, use the *lowest* heat your burner has under the diffuser.

Now, in the top of the double boiler or in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan
over the heat diffuser, whisk together:

4 egg yolks
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt or Vege-Sal
a dash of Tabasco or other hot sauce

Let it heat through, and serve it with your asparagus.

One last note about asparagus:  So long as it's not simply *dripping*
with lemon butter or hollandaise, the proper way to eat asparagus is
with your fingers.  No joke.  Even Miss Manners says so.  Fun to do this
in front of others and raise their eyebrows, only to know that *you* are
proper and *they* are mistaken!


Charity Pitch

Hold the Toast Press has been asked to participate in the local "Locked
Up For Good" fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). 
On April 12th, I'm to report to Charity Jail, and spend an hour "locked
up" at Fountain Square Mall, here in Bloomington, on the charge of
"having a big heart."  (How'd they know?)  I've been asked to raise
*$1000 bail*!  (I think they think I'm a bigger company than I am...) 
Guess if I don't raise it, I'll have to hang out at the mall forever,

Anyway, if you'd like to contribute, it's surely a good cause.  Don't
make a check out to me, make it out to "MDA" or "Muscular Dystrophy
Association".  That way you'll know I'm not just scamming you for money
or anything.  Send it to: Hold the Toast Press, PO Box 6581, Bloomington
IN 47407. Tax deductible, of course.

As a massage therapist, I worked for a while with a little girl with
muscular dystrophy.  It's a terrible thing; let's find a way to prevent


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Product Review

Summer's coming, and that means that barbecues are just around the
corner.  We low carbers have gotten used to eating our hot dogs and
hamburgers bun-less, and I personally am fine with them that way. 
However, Synergy Diet is now carrying reduced carb hot dog and hamburger
buns from Better Bakery.

Note that I said "reduced carb" rather than "low carb".  I have the hot
dog buns, and they are *not* low carb -- they have 14.9 grams of usable
carb per bun, which is more than this low carber cares to consume with
her hot dog.  However, this is still substantially less than the 20-24
grams of carb in your standard white flour hot dog bun.

Furthermore, these buns are *infinitely* more nutritious than a white
flour hot dog bun.  They have 8 g of protein apiece, which compares
pretty favorably to the hot dog itself.  And because they contain almond
meal, whole wheat flour, and oat flour, they surely have a whole bunch
of vitamins and minerals that your standard hot dog bun is just as
surely missing.  Further, the protein, fiber, and olive oil in them
means that they should be a far lower impact carb than a white flour

How do they taste?  How's the texture?  I would rate both as excellent;
not identical to a generic hot dog bun, but those are sort of flavorless
and pasty anyway.  These are definitely light, genuinely "bready", with
a good flavor.  My husband -- who is a skinny guy who can eat more carbs
than I can -- has been enjoying these a great deal.

Whether these Better Buns will fit into *your* diet depends on just how
carb intolerant you are, what your daily carb intake is, and just how
badly you've been missing this sort of baked good in your life.

For that matter, while I have no problem with eating hamburgers plain,
and don't eat a lot of hot dogs, I could see spreading these with garlic
butter and toasting them, for a reduced carb garlic bread.  This would
be a splurge, a small indulgence, but it sounds like a really nice one
to me, and one that would be far more nutritious and far less damaging
than, say, a slice of cake or a candy bar.

All told, these aren't for everyone, and certainly aren't for folks who
are on Induction, or are badly carb intolerant.  However, they're a good
compromise for those who can afford a few extra carbs from time to time.

Get 'em at http://www.synergydiet.com


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

Get the whole scoop without reading ALL the books!
I've been low carbing for about 8 months, and have read LOTS of the most
recommended books. I could have saved myself a great deal of time
learning the different approaches if I'd read Dana Carpender's book
FIRST! Now I know what to concentrate my reading on. Just ordered
another copy to give to my sister and her family, so that
they can learn more, too.

 amy in tucson 

Thanks, Amy!  One of the things that thrills me most is when someone
tells me they found my book so helpful that they bought a copy for a
friend or family member.  :-)

You can read this and 24 other reader reviews of _How I Gave Up My Low
Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_ at Amazon : 
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0966883101/lowcarbohysoluti --
and of course, you can also order the book!

If you'd like to read the first chapter of the book for FREE, plus find
a bunch of other useful low carb info, visit:
http://www.holdthetoast.com .  You can also see my smiling face and my

Or, for that matter, you can visit
http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html , and order
_How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds_ from Carb Smart,
where it's at a discount.  Low Carb Grocery has it at a discount, too --
http://www.lowcarbgrocery.com .

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!


What sort of travel are you planning for this spring?  Make it a

A cruise is a *perfect* honeymoon -- you can travel to several romantic
places, taking the hotel with you!
How about having your family reunion on a cruise?!  Sounds easier -- and
more fun! -- than having them all to your house, doesn't it?

But who needs hassles, guess work, and details?  Vacations are supposed
to be *fun*!  Let Cruise Horizons plan your cruise for you, and all
you'll need to do is play!

Call Patty at Cruise Horizons for the vacation of your life!
Check out Cruise Horizons website at http://www.cruisehorizons.com .


Reader Success Story!


I've had amazing results in the three weeks since I read your book and
finally became convinced (at 45) that my mother, bless her heart, and
every other weight authority I ever listened to were wrong -- low fat,
calorie doesn't work.

I was happy in your exercise section that you mentioned the Firm which
has been my only salvation in my high-carb world. Then I noticed in your
newsletter that you're doing Total Gym and walking. I'm just wondering
why and thought I'd tell you my wonderful news.

I started at 184, 5'5" but muscularly fit after 15 years of off and on
involvement with the Firm and over a year of consistent workouts this
time round. My weight dropped 12 pounds in the first two weeks on low

Then I read Protein Power and decided to figure my Lean Body Mass. Wow.
I discovered that at 172 I'm only 27% fat. Remarkable for this life-long
fat girl. My Ideal Weight's lowest-end range is 161 lbs. and 22%. I
couldn't believe this.

I had thought my ideal weight would be around 140 but since I've got 126
pounds of wonderful, terrific Lean Body Mass, I'm only about 10-12 fat
pounds from goal, not 30!

I owe that to the Firm. I am assuming the daily breathing exercises you
do are Oxycise and I have also recently discovered how wonderful Oxycise
breathing is. I not only do the Level 4 tape almost daily, I'm
practicing doing the Basic Breath during my Firm workouts.

So far, I've had to cut back the length of my Firm workouts since
Oxycising and burning fat instead of glucose for fuel are taking some

But at 45 I feel like an athlete for the first time in my life. Thanks
so much for your wonderful book. I was failing on the Suzanne Somers and
Zone variations and now understand why. But please don't back off
recommending the Firm to your readers.

By the way, my protein requirements with all this Lean Body Mass and
activity are 95 grams per day! That's a lot of satisfying steak &
seafood I 'have' to eat every day. What a life. Why didn't I pay more
attention to
Atkins than his naysayers, and even my own petite 95-pound mother, all
those many years ago?

Carol Vandiver
Sweetwater, Texas

Hey, Carol --

Thanks for the *great* success story!  Proud of you!!  

I still love The Firm.  Sadly, however, I can't do it since my car wreck
last June; it sets off my sciatica something awful.  Even worse, my
orthopedic doctor told me just this week that I'm supposed to give up
walking for three months, too -- and I live on a beautiful, peaceful,
rolling dead-end road in the country that's just *perfect* for serious
walking.  (I like to do The Firm in bad weather, and walk with hand
weights, and sometimes ankle weights, when the weather is good.)  No,
I'm supposed to go exercise indoors -- water aerobics or recumbent
exer-cycle -- at the YMCA for the whole darned spring.  Enough to make
me pound my head against a wall. 

However, I will very happily endorse The Firm Aerobic Weight Training
videos as the best designed, most effective exercise videos I have ever
tried.  I also like the fact that they're not very "dancey"; I'm not
terribly coordinated, yet after a few times through I found these easy
to follow, yet challenging in terms of intensity.  And of course, you
can keep the intensity as high as you like, as you get more fit, simply
by increasing the weight you use, which is *wonderful*.

Sadly, however, the two tapes I have -- which I've had for at least 12
years, and love -- are both out of print.  Therefore, I'm not sure which
tapes to recommend.  Since you, Carol, are a Firm Believer, using
current tapes, maybe you could tell us which ones you think are best? 
I'd love to pass the information on to the other readers!

As for breathing exercises, yes, I have Oxycise!, and I also have Body
Flex and Life Lift, two systems which are substantially similar to each
other, although quite different from Oxycise!. I do some of each sort of
breathing exercise, depending on the day and my mood. I plan to chart my
temperature before and after doing each system to determine which speeds
metabolism more -- body temperature being a down-and-dirty gauge of
metabolism.  I think all of these systems are very good, however.  If
readers are interested, they can find the beginning Oxycise! tapes at
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1890320048/lowcarbohysoluti . 
Sad to say, the Body Flex tapes are harder to come by, but you can get
Greer Childer's book _Be a Loser! at
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0812931416/lowcarbohysoluti . 
You may be able to get the tapes through QVC, but I'm not certain... 
Life Lift is at http://www.aerobicbreathing.com .


This Week's Special!! Order a combination of 4 items -- energizing carb
blocker or diet gum -- and get a free copy of Dana Carpender's best
selling book _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty PoundS!_ for
FREE! Call Dr. Kanter at 1-800-HATE FAT (428-3328) or order online at


Dana W. Carpender

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