Lowcarbezine! 19 September 2001

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Hey, Gang --

It feels very strange to address you with that usual, light-hearted
greeting.  Still, we are all working at going on, and I refuse to let
the evil people of the world take away my life one minute before that
life is actually *gone*.

A few things, of course, have to be said before I can get to low carb. 
First, and most importantly, my deepest sympathy and condolences to the
families and friends of all the people so tragically killed in the
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  May time ease your
grief, and deepen your resolve.  It could so easily have been the family
or friends of any of us.

My overwhelming gratitude to the police, firefighters, EMTs, doctors,
nurses, construction workers, steel workers, volunteers -- everyone who
has stepped in at this time of great need.  Out of terrible tragedy has
come this opportunity to see the great beauty and courage in the hearts
of so many.  My prayers for the continued safety of all who work in the
treacherous ruins at Ground Zero.

My heartfelt thanks to all of my international readers who have written
to say how shocked and saddened they were -- and believe me, American
readers, they were many.  The world is with us; people from 62 countries
died in the World Trade Center.  The love of the world is amazing; I am
certain it is stronger than the hate of the world.

My prayers, too, for the safety of our Islamic citizens, our Americans
of Middle Eastern descent, and for the millions upon millions of
peaceful, civilized, and loving Islamic people of the world.  This is a
struggle against hate and madness, not against any religion or ethnic
group.  Let us resolve to love each other.

All of that being said, let us now turn to the matter at hand.

Read on.



All contents copyright 2001 by Hold the Toast Press.  All commercial
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Forward To Normal

God grant that I never have a more difficult writing job.  How, after
the horrific events of last week do I write anything about dieting that
doesn't sound trivial to the point of laughability or offense?  With the
anger and fear that we've suffered, how can any of us take the quest for
a smaller jeans size seriously?  Our perspective has been radically
changed, especially those of us actually here in the the US, but this is
a blow to the whole world; citizens of 62 different nations died in the
attack on the World Trade Center, and the outpouring of grief and
support from around the world has been deeply moving.  I know that my
international readers are terribly shaken, as well, and the whole world
now waits to see what the future will bring.  So many things that seemed
terribly important a week and a half ago no longer even register on our

I'm not going to try to convince you that the quest for a smaller
waistline, or to fit into more fashionable clothes, is important.  It's
not – it's a mere cultural obsession; one that I've shared, of course. 
I'd bet that very, very few of my American readers even noticed all
those minor fluctuations in their weight this week.    I'm sure that
many of you abandoned your diet, eating whatever came to hand while
watching the news, or whatever soothed your soul – and an equal number
of you probably had trouble eating anything at all.  Totally
understandable.  In the face of tragedy and threatened danger, a perfect
body is beyond unimportant.  

Nutrition, however, is still important.  Taking care of ourselves is
still important.  Making ourselves as healthy as we can be is still
important, and giving our bodies the support necessary to allow our
hearts and minds to heal has never been more vital.  

At the beginning of the summer – it seems like a lifetime ago now,
doesn't it? – I wrote an article about focusing on taking care of
yourself physically to help you through times of severe emotional
stress.  All of what I wrote then still applies, and more so.  The world
needs us to be well, to be strong, and above all, to be thinking

With that in mind, I again make some suggestions on how you can use
nutrition and other physical strategies to manage stress.

* Eating sugar or other carbs will not fix a thing.  It may make you
feel better briefly because of the serotonin release that accompanies
rising blood sugar levels (part of the addictiveness cycle), but as your
blood sugar rockets up and down, and your B vitamin and mineral levels
get depleted, you will feel *far* worse in the long run.  Try eating
yogurt instead – either "lite", artificially sweetened commercial
yogurt, or plain yogurt with a little flavoring extract or a few mashed
berries, plus a touch of sweetener.  You'll get tryptophan for your
brain to make serotonin out of, plus calcium, which is relaxing.  Count
4 grams of carb for each cup of artificially sweetened yogurt.  (Yes, I
know the label says 12.  Most of that carb – the lactose in the milk the
yogurt was made from – has actually been turned into lactic acid by the
yogurt bacteria.)

* Do try to eat some nutritious, high-protein food, however simple, even
if you're having trouble choking anything down.  We all need to stay
strong and calm for whatever lies ahead, and nutrition plays a large
part in that.

* Make sure you're taking your vitamins.  We've all got enough pain and
fear and stress right now, we don't need the tension and irritability
that can come with minor deficiencies.  

* Get some exercise.  Thanks to my new puppy, Jed, I've had to get out
of the house and walk every single day – try explaining to a dog that
his walk will just have to wait until the war is over.  It has been
very, very healing for me to be forced away from the television and the
internet, get outside, move around, blow off some steam, and realize
that there is still much in the world – like trees and sunshine – to
enjoy and be grateful for.  For that matter, 12 years ago during the
Gulf War, I found the best treatment for my worry and fear was to go
dancing every night.  Movement is a great cure for tension.  So go for a
walk.  Dance.  Swim.  Take in an aerobics class.  Mow the grass.  Lift
some weights.  But don't just sit there worrying!

* Get out of the house!  Yes, we all were glued to the breaking coverage
on Tuesday, and rightly so.  But for the moment, the breaking coverage
is over, and we all need to get back to life.  I'm sure that most of you
are back to work, it's time to get back to play, too.  

* Try to get some sleep.  I say this as one for whom insomnia is the
natural response to any stress – if you're having trouble sleeping, I
feel your pain.  You might try  2-3 valerian root capsules at bed time;
it should help a very great deal.  I do not recommend the popular
melatonin during these tense times.  Although melatonin can be effective
for inducing sleep, it also can cause bizarre and vivid dreams, often
even disturbing dreams.  Waking life has been enough of a nightmare
recently, we don't need scary dreams at night, too.  You can get
valerian root capsules at any health food store.  

* We've also been taking kava root during the day.  Kava is a mild
anxiety reliever, and in low doses – 1-3 capsules at a time – it should
not interfere with your ability to work – or, for that matter, drive. 
Kava has helped us quite a lot this week.  Kava, too, can be found at
health food stores.

* Be wary of alcohol.  An extra glass of wine may be relaxing, but two
or three will act as a depressant, and may even increase fear.  This, on
good authority from my adorable personal counselor, Pete Link, MSW.

* If you've been taking a thermogenic – Metabolife or the like, any of
the weight loss formulas on the market – read the label.  If it says
"ephedrine", "ephedra" or "ma huang", you might consider dropping it for
the moment.  These formulas can, indeed, be helpful for losing weight,
but they also mimic the effect of adrenaline – the fear hormone – on the
body.  We're all scared enough, we don't need to be fooling our bodies
into thinking we're even more scared!

* If you're having serious emotional carb cravings – wouldn't be
surprising – you might try St. John's Wort.  Again, this can raise
serotonin levels in the brain.  St. John's Wort can make you feel both
more cheerful and less afraid.  There are cautions, however, so *read
the label*.

* Give some thought to low carb comfort food.  I mentioned yogurt, which
I find very soothing.  I think soup is a comfort food, as well – you
won't want to eat noodle soup, but you could try egg-drop, or hot and
sour, or do what one friend does – combine a can of chicken broth with a
can of chow mein vegetables.  This would be a good time for the sugar
free chocolate (I ate up all the sugar free chocolate in the house –
admittedly, just a couple of bars worth – during the first two days of
the crisis), the Swiss Miss Diet Cocoa, maybe some low carb pasta with
butter and cheese – what ever low carb food makes you feel a little
better, and more normal, without making your blood sugar wacky.  

* No one would blame you if you also wanted to add a serving or two of
low impact carbs, just because they were comforting.  A grilled cheese
on whole wheat pita, a little brown rice in your soup, even a half a cup
of super-premium ice cream (surprisingly low impact, so long as there
are no chunks of brownie or cookie dough or the like) might seem
friendly right now, and while you may put on a pound or two of water,
these shouldn't send your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride.
* Consider other physical comforts, too.  Soak in a hot bath or a spa. 
Get a massage.  Hug people, and hug them again.  Pile the whole family
on the bed, snuggle, and watch a happy movie (we watched Toy Story 2 the
evening of the 11th, and it was a helpful respite from the terror.) 
Cuddle your pets.  Make love.

Even in the face of all this horror, I am not sorry I lost forty
pounds.  No, I don't really care about my physical appearance right now,
but I have never been gladder to feel strong, and well, and able to take
on any challenge this new world throws at me.  

We all have a deep longing to get back to normal.  I believe that we
cannot get back to normal, because our old "normal" no longer exists; it
crumbled with the World Trade Center.  We must instead go *forward* to
normal – make a new normalcy, a new way to feel safe in the world.  It
will take our strength and well-being to do the hard work needed to get
there.  Let's all take care of ourselves for the sake of the world.

Forward to normal!


Not Only Does Low Carb Grocery Have Great Low Carb Products, We've Got
Great Patriotic Tee Shirts, Too!

Beautiful screen printed, patriotic tee shirts in three styles, for just
$6 each.  Neither we nor the printer make a cent from these tee shirts;
we're breaking even.  One dollar from each $6 will go to the American
Red Cross!  You know you want Rosa's Bake Mix, Cheeter's Brownies and
Muffins, ProSlim Pasta and all the other *great* stuff we carry -- get a
tee shirt, too, and support the Red Cross relief efforts while you show
your colors!



Why Polyols?

A reader wrote to ask why all of the low carb candy on the market
contains polyols – lactitol, maltitol, sorbitol, mannitol, and the
like.  He pointed out that the use of polyols limits how much you can
eat, because in large doses they act as a laxative, and even in smaller
doses they can cause intestinal gas.  Why not sweeten sugar free candy
with Splenda, he wanted to know?

Good question, and one with a pretty simple answer: Polyols are used in
candy, and also in some commercial low carb baked goods,  because they
not only give sweetness, but also give textures that are virtually
indistinguishable from those achieved with sugar.  You cannot give
Splenda, or any other artificial sweetener, for that matter, the texture
of a jelly bean, or a taffy, or a hard candy; it simply cannot be done. 
You cannot get a creamy textured chocolate bar using just Splenda.
(Carbolite bars use both polyols and Splenda.)  And while Splenda will
make baked goods sweet, it will not make them moist, or chewy, or help
them brown the way sugar – and polyols – will.  This is because polyols
are closely chemically related to sugars; indeed, another name for them
is sugar alchohols.  They are carbohydrates; the reason you and I can
eat them without messing up our blood sugar is that they are
carbohydrates made up of molecules so big that it is difficult for the
human digestive system to digest or absorb them – for the very most
part, they just pass right through you.

This, of course, is why they cause digestive upset.  The gas is caused
by the undigested carbohydrate fermenting in your gut, which is
*exactly* the same reason that beans cause gas.  You may well have
noticed that you have much less flatulence since going low carb; the
absence of carbohydrates fermenting in your intestines is the reason. 
Eating polyols gives you a goodly dose of carbohydrates that can *only*
ferment, because they cannot be absorbed.  As for the laxative effect, I
have been given to believe that this comes from their property of
drawing water into the intestine.  

Do *not* take this laxative property lightly, by the way.  The Hold the
Toast webmaster, also known as That Nice Boy I Married, learned the hard
way on the Low Carb High Life when he ate about a dozen and a half of
the sample sugar free taffies we'd been giving away.  He paid for it
with a *very* uncomfortable 45 minutes at about 4 am, complete with
severe intestinal cramps. *DO NOT EAT SUGAR FREE CANDY IMMODERATELY!*

It's good to have a rough idea of how much polyol is in various sugar
free sweets.  It parallels how much sugar is in standard sweets –
regular jelly beans, hard candies, and taffies are pretty much nothing
but sugar and flavoring, so figure that the sugar free kind are almost
nothing but polyols – I wouldn't eat more than two or three taffies or
hard candies, or five or six jelly beans, at a time.  Quite a lot of the
bulk of a chocolate bar, however, is made up of – well, of chocolate. 
Milk and white chocolate will have more polyol, dark chocolate less, but
either way, you should be able to eat a whole bar without serious upset,
although I wouldn't do it if you had a hot date or an important business
meeting coming up, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.  As for
sugar free baked goods, you'll want to consider two things: How sweet
the product tastes, and how moist and chewy the texture is.  The sweeter
and moister, the more polyols you can figure it contains, so for
instance low carb cinnamon bread has just a bit, while the Cheeters low
carb brownies – very moist and fudgy – are high in polyols.  Fantastic
as these brownies are, I keep them in the freezer and never eat more
than two in a day.

Why can't we just take Beano to take care of the gas problem that comes
with these sweeteners?  I'm not certain it would work, but if it did, it
would work because it *broke down the carbohydrate and let us digest and
absorb it* – in other words, we would have made these products into
foods that mess up our blood sugar and cause an insulin release!  No
advantage there.

So, all in all, what we have here are sweets that *enforce* moderation. 
I, for one, see this as a *good* thing.  If regular sugar had as
immediate an unpleasant effect, maybe all of us wouldn't have abused it
so in the first place! 

Low Carb Retreat Canceled

We're sorry to have to tell you that the Low Carb Retreat, scheduled for
the first weekend in November in Galena, has been canceled.  We simply
did not have enough folks to make it feasible, and it's unlikely at this
point that more would want to sign up.  Our apologies to those who did
sign up; we'll consider doing this in the future.


Network Marketer Takes Advantage of Hold the Toast Guest Book

It has come to our attention that Robert Black, a representative of
Legacy For Life, a nutritionally based network marketing company, has
been going through the Hold the Toast guest book and emailing our
readers with his commercial messages.  We deplore this taking advantage
of our readers' desire to communicate with *each other*, and we wish to
make it *very, very clear* that we at Hold the Toast are in NO WAY
associated with this man or this company, that we did not deliberately
give or sell him our readers' email addresses, and that we *in no way
endorse* him, his company, or his products.  Indeed, we hope that you
let him know in no uncertain terms that you are offended by his taking
advantage of your presence in a guest book meant as a free service to
our readers.  We hope that you will not do business with this person,
even if you find his company's products interesting – surely you can
find a Legacy For Life representative who treats you with greater
courtesy than this.

Ironically, if Robert Black had simply contacted us, we would have been
willing to carry ads for his nutritional products in this ezine.  He
decided instead to take advantage of us, and of you.  Some nice guy.

All email addresses have been removed from the guest book so that this
cannot happen again.  Sadly, this keeps readers from contacting each
other in friendship and support, but it beats letting people take
advantage of us all.  Rest assured that this guy does *not* have the
ezine mailing list, and never will.


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Ad Watch

>From the same folks who brought you the "Chewy stops the chatter!"
granola bar ads: a nod in the direction of protein.  Yep, Quaker is now
advertising its oatmeal with the word "protein", and rhapsodizing about
how protein at breakfast will keep your children full and energetic all
day.  They're right, of course, it's just too bad that their oatmeal is
a pretty pathetic source of protein.  They don't actually *say* how much
protein is in a serving of their oatmeal, but they do flash it on the
bottom of the screen – 3 grams.  A big three grams, plus, of course,
lots of carbohydrate, especially if your kids put sugar or honey on
their oatmeal, and what kid doesn't?  Your children will get more
protein from the milk they put on the oatmeal. 

 I don't mean to imply that old fashioned oatmeal is the worst thing you
can feed your kids for breakfast, it's certainly better for them than
most cold cereals, or the more highly processed, sugar-added, flavored,
instant oatmeal that Quaker also sells.  I just find it interesting that
low carb/high protein has grown to the point where even folks who are
selling patently low protein, high carb foods feel the need to tout
their "high protein content"!


Please help Carb Smart help the American Red Cross!!

 As we all work through this terrible tragedy, we want to make it easy
for all of us to help the American Red Cross.

>From now until Friday, September 21st, for the following orders placed
at CarbSmart, we will automatically donate:

For every order between $50.00 and $99.99, we will donate $3.00. 
For every order over $100, we will donate $5.00. 

If you would like to place an order, we have added a FREE Shipping
coupon for any orders over $75.00 (in the contiguous US). 


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!


Product Review

Miss bread?  Bread machine languishing in the cabinet?  My mail tells me
that bread is one of the most-missed foods in a low carb diet.  Knowing
this, I picked up a Keto low carb bread machine mix at Sahara Mart, the
local store with the best low carb selection.  Hauled out the bread
machine, and baked ‘er up.

I bought the Sourdough Rye flavor, because I *like* rye.  I noticed
right away that the mix did indeed have a strong rye-and-caraway
fragrance as soon as I opened the canister.  Assembling the mix, some
warm water, and a little butter in the bread machine was quick and
easy.  A couple of hours later I had a high, light loaf of bread that
did, indeed, smell like rye.  It sliced nicely, too.

The texture of the Keto rye bread was not exactly like standard, high
carb bread, but then I didn't expect it to be – protein is a different
substance than starch, and we can't expect one to be identical to the
other.  The bread was a bit more – elastic, springy are the words that
come to mind – than regular bread, although the rye flavor was quite
good..  We liked it better toasted than plain, but it was nice either

The Keto bread has just 4.5 grams of carb per serving, of which 2.5 are
fiber, leaving just 2 grams per slice.  That same slice provides 13
grams of protein, or about the same as two eggs.  If you miss having
coffee and toast for breakfast, this might be a product to look into. 
Of course, since you slice this bread yourself, it's hard to know
exactly what the carb or protein count is for one of your slices – they
won't all be even.  Still, this is a satisfactorily low carb/high
protein product for all but the very lowest carb diets.  The mix also
comes in white ("Original"), honey wheat, pumpernickel, and cinnamon
raisin; it occurs to me that you could use the white bread variety to
make coffee cakes or cinnamon rolls; I'll probably try this in the
future.  No doubt you could also use either the white bread or the
cinnamon raisin to make French toast, which sure would be a nice change
for a low carb breakfast!

All in all, I was pleased with the Keto bread machine mix, with two
reservations: One, it contains a lot of soy protein isolate, and I'm
uncomfortable about eating a lot of soy.  This would keep me from using
the bread on a regular basis.  Also, it is *very* expensive – I paid $6
for one container of mix, and this made a loaf of bread that was smaller
than your standard grocery store loaf.  Not a product for low carbers on
a budget.

Diana Lee has a *lot* of low carb bread machine recipes in her new book
_Bread and Breakfast_; the recipes do not call for soy, and while they
call for fairly pricey ingredients, they are not likely to be anywhere
near as expensive as this mix.  I think I'll try some of them next, and
let you know how they stack up to the Keto mix.  In the meanwhile, you
can get the Keto Bread Machine mix from Carb Smart (
http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html ) – or, if you live in my area,
at Sahara Mart, at the corner of 2nd and Walnut in Bloomington.  

If you'd rather try Di's bread machine recipes, buy her book!  Bread and
Breakfast: Baking Low Carb II:

Also of course, her original book, Baking Low Carb:


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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