Lowcarbezine! 16 August 2001

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Hey, Gang --

Been wondering where Lowcarbezine! was?  The webmaster, in his ongoing
efforts to improve our mail distribution, switched us to a new mail
server last night, and it was too busy sending all of you those Welcome
messages for the 'zine to go out, or even a Special Notice!  Here's
hoping it's an improvement.

We were also a bit distracted because we got a puppy yesterday!  All but
my newest readers know our darling dog Maggie died early this summer; we
now have a 3 1/2 month old shepard/lab mix named Jed, and a very, very
good boy he is, too.

So read on!  I'm going to go play with my dog.



All contents copyright 2001 by Hold the Toast Press.  All commercial
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Dealing With Doctors

Readers often ask how to deal with all the low carb skeptics they're
surrounded by – and in particular, how to deal with doctors.  You may
find it comforting to know that you're not alone.  I'm convinced that if
I were to fall off a ladder and break my leg, at least one of the
medicos in my life would suggest, "Well, maybe we'd better look at that
high protein diet you're on..."  

It really does get annoying after awhile, doesn't it?  						

I had yet another run in with this attitude just recently, and I'm
actually looking forward to the follow up appointment.  Here's the

As long time readers know, I was in a pretty serious car wreck in June
2000.  I have, ever since, had some trouble with sciatica (nerve pain)
in my right leg, which was jammed into the brake pedal when I hit at 40
miles an hour.  Doctors, physical therapists, and three different
chiropractors have all taken a shot at fixing this problem.  I'd been
having some success with the most recent chiropractor, so, after my
vacation – which entailed, among other things, 2200 miles of sitting in
pick up truck, which my leg didn't much like --  I went to see this
chiropractor again.

Well, somewhere along the way I had picked up some tendinitis in my left
thumb.  I had seen my regular MD about it, and she had recommended that
I wear a brace on it for a week or so.  I was wearing the brace when I
went to see the chiropractor.  Big mistake.

She decided that I probably had gout, of all things, in my thumb joint. 
After all, she opined, with that high protein diet I was on and all, it
would be a pretty likely thing.  And maybe that was why my leg wasn't
better yet!  It wasn't the forty mile an hour impact on my hip – it was
my diet!  I'd better go get tested for uric acid levels right away.

I explained to this woman that I do not eat a "high protein" diet, I eat
a diet with adequate levels of protein – in the 75-85 gram a day range –
and more vegetables than 98% of Americans ever touch.  Oh, no, she was
still convinced that I probably had gout, and it must be my diet.

I was annoyed.  I was also utterly incredulous at the notion that I had
gout.  A little research seemed in order.

First of all, I learned that my thumb joint was *not* acting as if I had
gout.  Gout is *very* painful, this was just irritating.  The whole
joint is inflamed with gout, while this pain was just on the top of the
thumb where the ligaments are.  Squeeze or even bump gout, and it hurts
like *hell*; neither squeezing nor bumping bothered my thumb much.  And
a first episode of gout usually lasts 3-10 days; my thumb had been
hurting, at that point, for about three weeks.

Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the body, which then
crystallizes in the joint – it's the needle-like crystals that cause the
pain.  Traditional treatment for gout has been to eat a diet low in
purines, substances which break down into uric acid.  I looked up lists
of high purine foods.  Red meat was mentioned, but the meats most
implicated were organ meats – liver, kidney, etc.  I eat liver about
three or four times a year, and virtually never eat other organ meats ,
except giblet gravy at Thanksgiving.  I hardly thought that would give
me gout.  And while I do eat beef, I doubt I eat more than about twice a
week – it's not like it's an everyday thing; I eat more chicken and

What was really interesting was the second food group on the list of
high purine foods, right after the organ meats: legumes!  All those
beans and peas and lentils that we've been told are so great for us, but
are so high in carbohydrates. Not only wasn't I eating the richest
source of purines, I wasn't eating the second richest source, either. 
Nothing on the list of the highest purine foods was a major part of my
"high protein" diet.  Alcohol was mentioned, and I do have a couple of
light beers or glasses of dry wine most nights, but I doubted if these,
by themselves, would be a problem.

Then I found it!  An article about how a reduced carbohydrate, increased
protein diet better than cut gout attacks in *half* in men who already
had gout!  Published in the July 2000 issue of _Annals of the Rheumatic
Diseases_, the study looked at 13 men with acute gout – all of them had
had at least two attacks in the four months before the study.  The men
were all put on a Zone-style diet of 30% protein, 30% fat – primarily
mono- and poly-unsaturated – and 40% complex carbohydrates.  This was a
reduction in carbohydrate and an increase in protein and fat intake for
the subjects.  They stayed on the diet for 16 weeks.

The subjects lost weight, their uric acid levels dropped, and they had a
67% reduction in their gout attacks!  Furthermore, the subjects who had
had high blood lipids – cholesterol and triglycerides – had an
improvement there, as well.

The article concluded, "Current dietary recommendations for patients
with gout include limitation of foods high in purine and protein,
alcohol restriction, and weight reduction.  Since the diet used in this
study included higher than normal intakes of protein and did not limit
purine intake, current dietary recommendations for gout may need

I was *seriously* tickled.  Not only did I not have gout, and not only
was my nonexistent gout not caused by my diet, there was reason to
believe that eating more protein and less carbohydrate actually was a
preventive against gout!

More data-base searching.  (Yes, I'm a big old geek.  Who else but a big
old geek would think that the MedLine and MedScape data bases are
*fun*?)  Guess what I learned?  That gout is characterized by obesity,
high blood fats, high blood pressure, and *insulin resistance*.  It's
beginning to look like gout may be the next on the list of carbohydrate
intolerance disorders!

You can imagine how I'm looking forward to my next appointment with the
chiropractor – I'll be going with med journal articles in hand.  I'm
going to tell her to adjust my leg and hip, and leave my thumb (now
slowly healing with the help of deep massage and regular icing) – and my
diet – alone.  If she won't, I'll find another chiropractor.

Which, of course, it is my right to do.  And it's your right, too – I'm
not saying that you should ignore your doctor's advice against a low
carb diet *if* (big if!) there's some sort of rational reason for it –
like you're in the minority whose LDL cholesterol shoots up on low carb,
or you have serious kidney problems, or that sort of thing.  But if
you're healthy, and your bloodwork and other tests *show* you're healthy
(and, in most of our cases, healthier than we were before going low
carb), you have every right to *fire your doctor*.  He or she works for
you, after all.

That, my friends, is the bottom line to dealing with doctors:  Do your
homework.  Show them the results.  Insist on respect, instead of being
brushed off with "Where did you get *your* medical license?"

Remember who is paying whom, and act accordingly.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars from Carbolite!  Only $1.49!!  You've *GOT*
to try them!  (Who doesn't love chocolate and peanut butter?!)  Or maybe
you'd rather have Cheeter's Treats Low Carb Brownies?!

Plus Duo Amici Low Carb Pasta, Rosa's Bake Mix, and *TONS* of low carb
goodies at great prices!



Know Your Low Carb Ingredients

Some of you have asked about the difference between various ingredients
used in low carb baking.  Here, for your culinary edification, is a
quick list of various low carb flour substitutes you may run across:

Soy Flour: This is simply ground up raw soy beans, and it's available in
both full fat and defatted.  It has more protein than carbohydrate –
23.5 g of protein in a half a cup, and about 10.5 grams of usable
carbohydrates (plus over 8 grams of fiber, making it a good source of
fiber.)   Soy flour has a strong, beany flavor which I, for one, don't
like.  Furthermore, I avoid soy products in general, for reasons which
I've explained several times before, and will, no doubt, explain again,
but don't feel like explaining right now.  Still, there's no question
that soy flour is relatively low in carb and high in protein.  If you
decide to use soy flour, try to get the defatted kind – the fats in the
full fat kind will go rancid pretty quickly.

Soy Powder: This is also known as soy milk powder.  It is also made from
the whole soy bean, but the beans are cooked before they are ground. 
This makes for a *much* milder flavor than soy flour.  The basic
nutritional info is roughly the same as for soy powder.  While I still
don't use this product much, because of my worries about soy, it is far
more acceptable.  I've used it in cookies and had them come out tasting

Soy Protein Isolate: Soy protein isolate is just what the name suggests:
Protein from soy beans that has been separated, or isolated, from the
other parts of the soy bean, ie, the carbohydrate, the fat, and the
fiber.  This means that it is lower carbohydrate than either soy flour
or soy powder, and also higher protein – this is good in some ways, like
keeping your carb count low, and not so good in some others, like the
texture of baked goods made with it.  Proteins behave very differently
than starches do in baking (and baking is the touchiest form of
cooking), and you can end up with tough muffins or biscuits or
whatever.  Again, I don't use soy protein isolate much, partly because
of my worries about soy – and you should know that the FDA refused to
grant soy protein isolate GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status –
and partly because anything that soy protein isolate might do in a
recipe, I can think of something else that will do it better.

Vanilla Whey Protein Powder: This is, of course, protein derived from
whey, but what the heck is whey?  Whey is the liquid part of milk – it's
the part that's removed from the milk to make cheese into a  solid.  If
you've eaten yogurt and seen a watery, clearish or yellowish liquid that
has separated from the yogurt, that's the whey.  Whey is an extremely
good protein  – the balance of the amino acids in it is ideal, and it's
very digestible and absorbable. The flavor of most vanilla whey protein
powder is very mild and pleasant.  I buy a brand called Show Me The
Whey, which is sweetened with stevia, and tastes really lovely – and
it's very low carb; about 6 grams in a half a cup.  Another popular,
widely available brand is Designer Protein. This is a flour substitute
of choice when baking something sweet.

Unflavored Whey Protein: I've never used this, it's newish on the
market, but my friend Diana Lee, who has two low carb baking books out
now, mentions this is her new book Bread and Breakfast.  I would assume
that it has a similar nutritional breakdown and baking qualities to the
flavored kind, but is, of course, preferable in non-sweet recipes, like

Vital Wheat Gluten: Gluten is the protein part of wheat, and it's
essential for making yeast raised breads.  This is the substance that
becomes stretchy when you knead bread dough, and then makes millions of
tiny balloons filled with the gas the yeast is making, so your bread
will rise.  Without gluten, any yeast bread you make will be flat, but
of course we don't want the carbohydrates that usually come along with
it.  Vital wheat gluten is just this protein from wheat, with most of
the starch removed, and it is *much* lower in carbohydrates than plain
old white or whole wheat flour – about 6 grams in a quarter cup – and a
little vital wheat gluten goes a long way.

Vital wheat gluten is a tricky ingredient to buy, because many health
food stores – you'll have to find it in an a health food store – also
carry "gluten flour", which is white flour with extra gluten added to
it, for use in making bread.  You do *not* want gluten flour!  Confusing
things even more, both vital wheat gluten and gluten flour are sometimes
labeled "high gluten flour".  If it's labeled "vital wheat gluten" you
should be all right, but if it's labeled "high gluten flour", you'll
just have to read the rest of the label.  (If your health food store has
it in bulk, ask to see the manager of the bulk department, who should be
able to find a nutrition label on the sack it comes in.)

Low carbohydrate bake mix: There are a number of these products on the
market; I've tried a couple.  Think of these as being like Bisquick –
depending on how much liquid, shortening, and eggs you add to them, you
can make biscuits, pancakes, waffles – even pizza crust, or batter for
frying onion rings.  Low carb bake mixes are made of various
combinations of protein powder and/or soy flour, plus salt and some
baking powder, to make your baked goods rise.  You'll have to try a few
to see which gives you the flavor, texture, carb count, and price you
like.  I generally use Rosa's Bake Mix, because it's soy free and less
expensive than a lot of the other brands.  You can get Rosa's Bake Mix
through Low Carb Grocery: http://www.webbalah.net/shoplowcarb.com

Rice Protein Powder: This is what has replaced soy powder in my house
when I need a flavorless, unsweetened, low carb, powdery *something* to
take the place of a few tablespoons of flour in a recipe.  I use
Nutribiotic brand, which I get at my health food store.  It's very, very
bland – and this is a *good* thing; I tried another brand of soy free
vegetarian protein powder, derived from peas and such, and it was
*nasty*.  Nutribiotics Rice Protein Powder has about 1.6 g of usable
carb in a tablespoon, which means it has just over 24 grams in a cup, so
it's not dirt-low in carbs, but it's certainly lower carb than flour. 
The protein in it is not as high quality as that in whey protein powder
(or even in soy protein powder), but then, I'm not using it for the
protein, I'm using it to replace a little flour with fewer carbs, and I
rarely use more than a quarter cup at a time.  However, if you're a
vegan low carber – and there are, I have no doubt, at least one or two
of you out there – it's good to know about this stuff.  Combined with,
say, some nuts and seeds, this could help up your protein intake.

Guar Gum: Guar is a thickener derived from beans.  It's just about pure
fiber, plus it's used in such small quantities that any trace of
remaining usable carb in it really doesn't matter.  When guar is added
to liquid, it absorbs the liquid and swells up – that's how it thickens
things.  Using guar takes a little practice.  You use it in *much*
smaller quantities than you do, say, cornstarch.  When I first tried
using it, I did a one-for-one substitution for cornstarch, and the
resulting mixture was so thick it quite literally grabbed the spoon out
of my hand!  You could have used the stuff to surface roads.  I had to
fill the bowl with water and let it soak overnight.  The guar expanded
to fill the whole bowl, but at least it was soft enough that I could get
my spoon out!  So you see, a little guar goes a very long way – it's a
rare recipe where I use more than a teaspoon of the stuff.  

The best way to use guar is to put it through the blender with whatever
liquid you're using in a recipe; this ensures that you will have no
lumps.  I mostly use it to add extra thickness to gravies, cream soups,
and sauces, also to protein shakes.  By the way, have no fear that guar
will taste funny – it really doesn't taste at all.  Anyway, it's in lots
of your favorite junk foods, so how bad can it be? ;-)

Oat Flour: You'll see this in some low carb recipes – oat flour is just
what it sounds like; the same grain used to make oatmeal, only ground
into a fine flour.  Oat flour is not really low carb, but it's lower
carb than wheat flour of any kind – two ounces of oat flour contains 43
grams of carb, of which 8.3 are fiber, for a usable carb count of 34.7
g. in two ounces.  By comparison, 2 ounces of all purpose enriched flour
contains just over 40 grams of usable carb.  You can see that the oat
flour is better, but still not something you can eat much of.  Most
recipes use only a few tablespoons of oat flour, because it gives baked
goods a texture more like what we're used to.  Look for oat flour at
health food stores.

Hope this helps, both with my recipes, and also with the *many* low carb
baking recipes in Diana Lee's _Baking Low Carb_ and her new _Bread and
Breakfast_!  (I'd work on more low carb baking recipes, but Di's got the
topic so well covered, it hardly seems worth it!  Anyway, she's better
at it than I am. :-) )

Baking Low Carb:
Bread and Breakfast: Baking Low Carb II:


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Product Review

Boy, oh, boy, we now have low carb *everything*!  Even BROWNIES!  

(Once again, a quick explanation for my international readers, who may
not know what a brownie is.  A brownie is a cookie/small cake/biscuit –
depending on your local jargon.  They're very, very chocolately, baked
in a sheet about an inch thick and then cut into bars.  They're usually
moist and sort of fudgy/chewy.  They usually contain chopped nuts, often
walnuts.   And they are one of the most popular sweets in America.)

Yep, there are now low carb brownies!  Sahara Mart, here in Bloomington,
started carrying Cheeter's Treats low carb brownies a few months ago,
and I've bought them twice now.  They're wonderful.  I mean, really,
really good.  Moist, *very* chocolatey, full of nuts – yum. 

The Cheeter's Treats brownies do have some soy in them, which is another
reason not to over eat on them, but the biggest reason – as always – is
because they are sweetened with polyols, which, as most of you no doubt
already know, will act as a laxative if you eat too much of them, and
will make you, uh, socially offensive even in modest doses.

Still, these are one of the best of the low carb sweets I've tried. They
come 12 brownies to a pan, each about 2 inches square.  I keep mine in
the freezer, because, again, I don't eat more than one in a day, and I'd
hate for them to go bad.  They're great right out of the freezer; still
moist and chewy.

What's the carb count on Cheeter's Treats Brownies?  I talked to the
nice folks at Cheeter's to get a quick run down on the nutrition label. 
The lactitol used to sweeten them is left out of the carb count, on the
theory that, while it's a carb, it's not a carb you digest and absorb. 
That leaves 5 grams of non-lactitol carbohydrate, and 4 of those grams
are fiber!  We're looking just one gram of usable carb, assuming that we
really do absorb *none* of the lactitol.  Even if we digest a little of
it, you shouldn't absorb more than a few grams of carb from one of
these.  Pretty darned impressive.

All told, Cheeter's Treats Low Carb Brownies were a *very* pleasant
surprise, and I expect to buy them again.  If brownies are your
downfall, these could be your very good friend.  Just remember that
they're not carb-free, and if you eat a half a pan in a day, you will be
*very* sorry, in a number of ways!

Since the *vast* majority of you don't live near me, and therefore can't
make it to Sahara Mart, I'm very pleased to be able to tell you that you
can get Cheeter's Treats Low Carb Brownies from Low Carb Grocery.  Rich
Oliver, who runs the joint, tells me that the new Cheeter's Cinnamon
Bread is good, too, though I haven't tried it yet.  Find Low Carb
Grocery at: http://www.webbalah.net/shoplowcarb.com .


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

This book is an outstanding guide, written in layman's terms for anyone
interested in or already living a low carb way of eating. Having already
lost 40+ lbs. eating low carb., I have read everything I could find in
print or on the internet about carbohydrate intolerance. This book was
BY FAR the best resource that I have read to date. I highly recommend it
to anyone wanting to lose weight and/or improve their health. 

Kristin L. Mennell, Palm Springs, CA

Thanks, Kristin!!

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!


Hold the Toast Labs, Back In Action

We here at Hold the Toast Labs had so much fun doing blood sugar
experiments with carb blockers (Okay, not all of it was fun.  The
sticking holes in my fingers part was not fun.  However, the gathering
information part was fun, because – as I believe I mentioned elsewhere –
I'm a big old geek) that we've decided to do another round of
experiments.  Anyway, we've got blood sugar test strips left over!

So what to test?  I thought I'd test my blood sugar response to some of
the polyol-sweetened low carb products on the market.  The quality of
these products tends to be quite good, and they haven't put weight on
*me*, nor do they make me hungry, or cause blood sugar crashes for me. 
Still, it would be interesting to know just *exactly* how my body is
reacting to these products.  

Accordingly,  in your service, I will purchase a variety of sugar free
chocolate bars and consume them on an empty stomach, keeping track of my
blood sugar all the while.  I may do this with some other products, as

Should be interesting. Stay tuned.


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


That's it for this week!  See you in two weeks!

Dana W. Carpender
Author, How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet -- And Lost Forty Pounds!
Check out our FREE Low Carb Ezine!

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