Lowcarbezine! 4 August 2001

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Hey, Gang!

Wow, this issue's later than one has ever been before!  Please tell me
it takes everybody nearly a week to catch up after a vacation!

Had a great time.  Even had my very first full-serving sugar indulgence
of 2001 -- up until now, my sugar intake for the year had consisted of
half a chocolate petit four, one bite of creme brulee, and two bites of
cheesecake.  What did I have for the Big Indulgence?  Chocolate hazelnut
torte, at Windows On The Bay in beautiful Bayville, NJ, and I couldn't
have made a better choice. (If you're in the area, this is a fine, fine
restaurant with a beautiful view, excellent service, and *immense*
portions.  We enjoyed it very, very much.)

Pleased to say that despite the indulgence, my sticking to my diet the
rest of the trip and hiking and canoeing and such means I came home the
same weight I left.  Now back to my real life!

Read on!



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My Summer Vacation

Wait, I'm not supposed to write this essay until the first week of
school, right?

So what did I eat while camping?  After all, traditional camping food
runs heavily to stuff like granola, chips, marshmallows, and the like,
and you *know* I wasn't eating that!

First, keep in mind that since we have a little pop up trailer equipped
with a refrigerator, plus a standard sized cooler, we had a lot of
leeway with fresh foods.  We also had a two burner propane stove, and,
of course, grills. Here's an idea of what we ate:

* Grilled steak.  Yum.  Fast and easy, too, especially since we have a
cool little portable grill that burns, of all things, newspaper.  Means
no waiting for the charcoal to burn down, but it's only good for stuff
about an inch thick, or less.   Still, a big convenience; highly

* Pork spareribs.  These we cooked over charcoal, since they take fairly
long cooking.

* Grilled chicken, ditto.

( Both the chicken and the pork we ate with a brand of barbecue sauce
we'd not tried before – Stubb's brand.  We bought this because it had
only 6 grams of carbohydrate per serving, which is *half* of what most
barbecue sauces will run you.  Good, too.  Don't know how widely
distributed it is, but it's available both here in Bloomington and in
New Jersey, so things look good.)

* Hamburgers.  Well, *duh*!  No buns, of course, just ate ‘em with a
fork.  These got cooked on the newspaper grill, too.

* No-Bean Chili.  Browned and crumbled hamburger along with some onion,
garlic, and some chili peppers (I can barely keep up with the chili
peppers coming out of my garden!), and poured off the grease.  Then
added a can of no-sugar tomato sauce, a can of diced tomatoes, a little
water, and a packet of chili seasoning, and let it simmer.  Served it
with grated cheddar and a dollop of plain yogurt (which we had on hand),
in place of sour cream (which we didn't.).  I normally wouldn't use
commercial chili seasoning, since it includes either flour or corn meal
as a thickener, but for camping I didn't want to haul along all the
spices I'd use at home, so I just dealt with the extra gram or two of
carb.  This was very nice on a chilly night in the mountains.

* Bagged salad.  I bought "European blend", with romaine, raddicho, and
frizee, added a little diced red onion, and some Newman's Olive Oil and
vinegar dressing – instant salad!

* Veggies and dip.  When even tossing bagged salad with bottled dressing
seemed too much of a hassle, cucumbers, peppers, and cauliflower with
ranch dip made a trouble-free veggie starter.

Breakfasts were generally either eggs – fried, or in omelets (I've been
known to turn out omelets for twenty on my two-burner propane camp
stove...), or yogurt.  We brought along a batch of plain yogurt, plus
Splenda and both vanilla and lemon extracts.  We also brought along the
old heating pad we use to incubate yogurt, and made a batch in camp,
although we certainly could have just bought a quart of plain yogurt. 
My husband ate quite a lot of vanilla yogurt with fresh blueberries
stirred in; a fine thing to eat!

Lunches and snacks were generally the same stuff:

* Hard boiled eggs.
* Fiber Rich crackers with braunschweiger (liverwurst).

* Ham and cheese UnSandwiches.  This is when we sandwich mustard and
mayo between a slice of ham and a slice of cheese, and eat it.

* Just plain chunks of cheese.

* Fruit – we ate some cherries, which, as I wrote recently, aren't
dirt-low, about a gram apiece, but irresistible!  We also bought
blueberries and plums along the way.

I brought along some low carb specialty goodies – Pure De-Lite sugar
free dark chocolate bars, Cheeter's Diet Treats sugar free low carb
brownies (yes, I'll review these soon), and also a few protein bars.  I
learned a useful if somewhat expensive lesson: If you're going to put
sugar free chocolate or sugar free brownies in a cooler, put them in a
tightly sealed zipper-style plastic bag, first.  I mean, I knew water
wouldn't do the brownies any good (and I was right), but who knew it
would damage the chocolate bars?  The sweetener and some of the
chocolate flavor leached out of the outside layer of the candy bars,
leaving only a small core of good chocolate – I had to "peel" my
chocolate with a knife!  Next time it goes in a zip lock bag.

The protein bars came in handy for canoeing and hiking rations; easy to
carry, and fill up the empty places for a few hours.

Our beverages were coffee, tea (both hot and iced; I brought tea bags
for hot, and instant tea for iced), Milwaukee's Best Light beer, and my
husband drank Diet Rite Splenda sweetened sodas, in white grape and red
raspberry flavors.  I also took along some Swiss Miss Diet Hot Chocolate
mix, but never got around to drinking it.

I hope this helps some of you camping types who are having trouble
getting past potato chips, Coca-Cola, and gorp!

(About that Milwaukee's Best Light we just passed: This is one of the
lowest carb beers on the market, and it's *very* cheap.  It's made by
Miller Brewery, and I suspect (with no proof, mind you) that it's
exactly the same stuff as Miller Lite, with a cheaper label and no
expensive advertising.  If you drink Miller Lite you should definitely
check this stuff out; you'll save a fair chunk of change.)

(As for the newspaper-burning grill, I like mine so well that I reviewed
it in this august journal some time ago.  Here's a link to the issue
with the review:  http://www.holdthetoast.com/archive/000517.html 
However, the link for actually purchasing such a grill seems to be dead,
so I looked for a new source.  I found a link that sold them with the
Arkansas Razorback logo on the carrying case:
The good thing about this is that the carrying case looks a *lot* better
than the cardboard one that came with my grill!  Just ignore the logo if
you're not a Razorbacks fan. 

You could also look for a used Qwik-Cook; at this writing ebay doesn't
have one, but that could change at any moment.  For that matter, you
might well find one at a yard sale, like I did.) 


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Try Duo Amici Low Carb Shortbread Cookies, too!  Plus Low Carb Grocery's
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Aunt Pearl's Bake Mix! Check it out NOW!!



Low Carb Spotlight Food of the Week!

Long about this time every year, we here in the US celebrate (if that's
the word) National Sneak A Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Front Porch
Week.  This is because a single zucchini seed will flood an entire
neighborhood with zucchini.  And heaven forbid a novice gardener should
make the error of planting *more* than one zucchini seed!  We're talking
Revenge of the Killer Squash, here, as zucchini take over your town,
loitering on the sidewalks, bumping into old ladies, scaring the

Zucchini is nothing if not prolific.  Further, if you leave it on the
vine long enough, it will grow into something about the size of a
baseball bat – handy for dealing with burglars, but troublesome to deal
with in the kitchen.  

All of this means that there are some of you out there with far more
zucchini than you know what to do with, and even the non-gardeners among
you should be able to get zucchini dirt cheap, or even free – complete
with grateful thanks from your gardening friends for taking the things
off their hands.

With all of this zucchini around, clogging up the joint, isn't it a
blessing that the stuff is *very* low carb?  A cup of raw, chopped
zucchini has a big 3.9 g of carbohydrate, of which 1.5 is fiber, for a
total carb count of just 2.4 grams per cup.   It's a good source of
potassium – 307 mgs – and of folate – 27 mcg.  It's also a pretty good
source of vitamin A, with 421 IUs (also known as 42.1 REs; the
government is in the process of changing how this nutrient is measured)
in that cup.

So, what are you going to do with the things?

I served zucchini at a dinner party just recently and every scrap
disappeared.  How did I cook it? Cut it in chunks, along with an equal
volume of fresh, sliced mushrooms (another very low carb vegetable), a
sliced medium onion, and a crushed clove of garlic, then sautéed
everything in olive oil until just tender.  A little salt and pepper and
oregano was all the extra seasoning this needed to be pronounced

Another thing you can do with zukes is to run them through a food
processor with a julienne blade – this makes fine strips, more
substantial than the shredding blade.  (You could, of course, julienne
by hand, but I wouldn't bother...)  Also run through a yellow summer
squash (all summer squashes are low carb), and a carrot or two.  Don't
panic about the carrot; they *are* a relatively high carb veggie, but
this amount combined with a lot of zucchini and yellow squash isn't
enough to hurt; it just adds color, flavor, and nutrition.  Again, sauté
this vegetable "hay" quickly in olive oil, butter, or a combination of
both – do *not* overcook – and season with just a touch of garlic.  This
is very pretty on the plate; I stole this idea from an *excellent*

If you're cooking out, don't forget that zucchini is very nice grilled. 
Brush it with a little olive oil – you might crush a clove of garlic
into the oil – and grill until just tender.  This is a great, easy
barbecue vegetable.

Here's a recipe I adapted from an old vegetarian cookbook, thus proving
that good low carb food ideas are *everywhere*.  This comes out sort of
like a somewhat more substantial quiche underneath, and pizza on top.   

Zucchini Crusted Pizza

Preheat oven to 350.

3 1/2 cups grated zucchini
3 eggs
1/3 cup rice protein powder (look for the one with the lowest carb
count) or other unflavored protein powder or soy powder (NOT soy flour! 
Very different flavor.)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
A pinch or two of dried basil
Salt and pepper
Pizza sauce (Ragu makes a good one with no added sugar or corn syrup;
Pastorelli's Italian Chef brand is regional, but superb, also with no
added sugar)
Pizza toppings – more mozzarella and/or other cheeses, sausage,
pepperoni, peppers, onions – whatever you like.

Sprinkle the zucchini with a little salt, and let it sit for 15-30
minutes.  Put it in a strainer and press out the excess moisture.  

Now, beat together everything but the pizza sauce and toppings.  Spray a
9x13" baking pan with non-stick spray, or oil it well, and spread the
zucchini/egg/cheese mixture in it. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until
firm.  Then brush it with a little oil, and broil it for about 5
minutes, until it's golden.

Next, spread on the pizza sauce, then add your cheese and other toppings
– if you're using vegetables you may want to sauté them a bit first. 
Bake the whole thing for *another* 25 minutes, then cut in squares and
serve.  All this needs with it is a big salad – Italian dressing, of

I can't give you an exact carb count for this -- it will depend on what
sort of protein powder you use in the crust, and what you top it with. 
The crust will be very low carb, however -- about 8 grams from the
zucchini, virtually none from the eggs or cheese (these both actually
have traces of carb, but not enough that I worry about them.  Remember
that the highest carb part of this recipe is the pizza sauce, even
though you use a sugarless variety, and govern yourself accordingly. 
Lowest carb toppings will include mushrooms, pepperoni, green peppers,
anchovies, and sausage. (Read labels!  Virtually *all* sausage has some
sugar in it, and amounts can vary more than you may realize.)  Onions
will be somewhat higher, being a borderline veggie and all.

A side dish that uses up the zucchini, goes well with most plain meats
(and especially with roasted lamb!), and even makes a good vegetarian
main course is:

Kolokythia Krokettes
(We *love* these!)

3 medium zucchini, grated
1 teaspoon salt or Vege-Sal
3 eggs
1 cup crumbled feta
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ medium onion, diced fine (or just run it through the food processor
with the zucchini.)
Pinch of pepper
3 tablespoons unflavored protein powder or soy powder

Sprinkle the salt over the grated zucchini and let it sit for an hour. 
Squeeze out and drain the excess moisture.  Mix in everything else, and
combine well.  Spray a heavy skillet with non-stick spray, and add a
good tablespoon of butter; heat over medium heat.  Fry the batter by the
tablespoonful, turning each one once.  Add more butter between batches,
as needed, keeping the ones that are already cooked warm on a plate in a
warm place.  The trick with these is to let them get quite brown on the
bottom before trying to turn them, or they tend to fall apart.  If a few
do fall apart, they'll still taste *incredible*.  

This whole batch of krokettes has just 12 grams of usable carb!

Also utterly yummy is my

Zucchini Meat Loaf Italiano

Preheat oven to 350

2 medium zucchini, chopped medium fine
1 medium onion, chopped (all told you should have about 2 cups of
chopped vegetables)
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley (optional, but good!)
Olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 egg
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Saute the zucchini, onion, and garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil
for about 7-8 minutes.  Let it cool a bit, then put it in a big bowl
with the other ingredients.  Using clean hands, mix thoroughly.  This
will make a rather soft mixture.  You can put it in a big loaf pan if
you like, or you can form it on a broiler rack.  I form it on a broiler
rack because I like the grease to drip off, but if you do it this way
you won't get it to stand very high – mine comes out about 2" thick. 
Bake this at 350 for 75-90 minutes.
There's about 17 grams of usable carb in the whole darned loaf.  This is
a dish everyone has raved about!

Oh, and one more idea: A while back I published a recipe for a low carb
version of a casserole called Pasticchio, using spaghetti squash in
place of the pasta the recipe originally called for.  Reader Heather
Riter wrote in to say:  I thought I would share this recipe modification
with you.  I made your low carb Pasticchio, and while I liked it, I
wasn't that crazy about the flavor of the spaghetti squash.  So, I
thought I would try it with grated zucchini instead (2 cups uncooked). 
Not only does it taste great, but there are even fewer carbs.
I browned the meat, onion, and garlic.  Then, instead of layering
everything, I mixed it all together in a big bowl, spooned it into a
casserole dish, poured the sauce over it and baked it at 350 degrees for
half an hour.
Another plus, I only used one pan, one large bowl, and a casserole dish.

Thanks, Heather!  (BTW, I'm assuming that Heather didn't cook the
zucchini first in this recipe.)  (Gotta share:  Heather has the charming
habit of calling me Dana Carb-ender.  Heh-heh-heh. L *love* this!)

So there you go!  Next year, only plant *one* zucchini seed, you hear?

(Note: For those of you in other parts of the world, what we call a
zucchini is often called a "vegetable marrow", although what squash has
to do with marrow I have no idea...)


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Product Review:

Steak and salad is surely one of the all-time classic great low carb
meals.  So how about steak salad?  On our way out East for vacation we
stopped – very late the first evening – at an Applebee's in Dayton,
Ohio.  There we discovered that one of their new "summer special"
entrees was just that.  Sounded way too good not to try it, so we did. 

It's wonderful.  Plain and simple, it's terrific.  And such a nice
change from the everlasting chicken Caesar salad!  This steak salad is
*big*, with lots of romaine, sliced tomatoes, sweet red onions, and a
full 11 ounces of sliced, freshly grilled steak on top – my husband
couldn't even finish his!  Further, the standard recipe includes no
croutons, no tortilla strips, nothing to leave off or pick out.  I'm
wondering if this is a sign that the restaurant industry has heard "and
hold the croutons" enough times now that they're catering to us!

Maybe best of all was the price: $9.99.  That's the same price as
Applebee's house sirloin – and you have to pay extra for a salad with

So if you're going out for lunch or dinner, the Applebee's steak salad
is definitely worth a try.  Here's hoping that they get such a big
response they decide to make it part of the permanent menu!


A Highly Useful Website

Here you go: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/cgi-bin/nut_search.pl

This is the URL for the USDA's Nutrient Database.  *Lots* of info about
the nutritional content of various foods -- not just carb, fiber, fat
and protein counts, but all the vitamins and minerals, and even the
amino acid breakdowns.  Easy to use, too.  Mucho fun for a hard-core
nutrition wonk like me, and helpful for anyone who's concerned about
what they're putting into their body.

Definitely belongs on the "bookmark" or "favorites" list.  Have fun!


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

A diet book without a hidden agenda - what a concept!, 

Dana Carpender's 'How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds'
is one of the best books on diet and nutrition I've ever read -- and
I've read a lot of them. Carpender manages to accomplish a rare feat in
such books by being both credible and thoroughly engaging. 

The book contains fairly comprehensive information about the connection
between insulin and obesity, and how a low-carb or carb-controlled diet
can help. All of the popular related diets are summarized.  Most authors
of diet books (understandably) have the ultimate goal of persuading the
reader to  choose their diet over a competing diet. In contrast,
Carpender does not endorse one kind of  low-carb diet over another,
rather, acknowledges that every individual has to be the ultimate
decision-maker about what works best for his or her body and lifestyle.
This is incredibly refreshing  - especially for us cynics who have tried
it all and are tired of authors and doctors who claim to have the magic
bullet that works for everyone. Carpender even does what no doctor who
wants to sell only their books and products would do - encourages
experimenting with mixing plans and creating  hybrid programs customized
to one's lifestyle and body. 

Also, Carpender comes across as honest and passionate, and provides a
good bibliography if readers wish to research the topic further. This is
a good book for anyone interested in low-carb or carb-controlled eating,
and would also make an  excellent gift for those who don't like boring
diet books, are convinced that low-carb is unhealthy, or are searching
for an alternative to the high-carb/low-fat diet that does not work for

Sara from Salt Lake City, UT

Wow!  I just *love* people who call me "both credible and engaging"! 
And yes, passionate would describe me pretty well...  Thanks, Sara.

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 .  Low Carb Pharmacy has it, too --
http://www.lowcarbpharmacy.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!


The Fall Retreat!

Yes, yes, to answer all the questions I've been getting, we are still
planning the fall retreat in Galena, Illinois!  It will be held the
first weekend in November -- in that brief breathing space between back
to school and the start of the holiday rush.  Should be *lots* of fun --
we'll have a low carb tea party and a low carb cocktail party, learn
breathing exercises, all sorts of stuff -- and, of course, swap tips and
make friends!  Check out the details at:

Be there, or be square!



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Also -- our own articles, reviews, and much more!  CHECK IT OUT NOW! 

Dana Says:  Check out the Carbohydrate Labeling FAQ.  Very useful!


That's it for this week!  See you in two weeks!  (Well, a week and a

Dana W. Carpender

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