Lowcarbezine! 17 December 2001

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Hey, Gang –

Oh, boy, is this late! I apologize profusely; I've been getting emails asking if folks have been knocked off the list, or if we've died or something. We're still here, but for a couple of weeks I did have a virus that made me want to die occasionally. Add that to working frantically on the cookbook, shifting over to the web-based format, the webmaster being in finals for graduate school, and needing – like everyone else – to find at least a minute or two for Christmas shopping, and I just plain got overwhelmed.

So here, finally, is the issue you've been waiting for! And yes, it has my recipe for Mockahlua – and the recipe for Black Bottomed Mockahlua Cheesecake! I was going to hold that recipe till the next issue, but I thought you deserved it now, for being so patient.

This will be the last full issue before Christmas, but I promise to put out a short issue, of nothing but my best cookie recipes, before then. You'll be happy to know I have perfected the low carb Chocolate Chip Cookie!

So, anyway, here's your issue of Lowcarbezine! I have to go back to the kitchen now...

Read on!


Alcohol and Low Carbing

A reader writes:

Thanks for the wealth of info found on your site. I started 5 weeks ago and lost 7lb within th first 8 days. Since then its been slow but I haven't gained more than 2lb at a time. I seem to see-saw between the eleventh, thirteenth, and twelfth pound. I have been eating very low or no carbs each day but I do like red wine and wonder if this is slowing me down? I drink about 3 bottles from Friday to Sunday. I drink a lot of water, even waking several times in the night with a dry throat, and needing the lot, but I also like the occasional vodka and diet lemonade(no carb) during the week. I don't exercise at all and I work in an office. I am 53, female, 5'6" tall, and large framed. Do you think it's the alcohol slowing me down?

In a word, yes. Even though alcohol has no carbs per se, it slows fat burning tremendously -- or, in the words of a med journal article I once read, "Alcohol profoundly inhibits lipolysis." Few things are more effective at slowing your metabolism. I sympathize, because I, too, like a drink now and then. Okay, I like 2-3 light beers or glasses of dry wine virtually every evening. I'm convinced that if I cut out the alcohol altogether I'd drop another 10-15 lbs. virtually overnight; so far it hasn't been worth it to me.

For the record, there also seem to be some strong biochemical links between alcohol and carbohydrates -- lab animals given a high carb diet are far more likely to choose alcohol over water than lab animals given a low carb/high protein diet. Further, studies show that often sugar addiction and alcoholism run hand in hand -- many, many alcoholics who stop drinking turn to sugar instead -- which is how one member of my family became a diabetic after sobering up. The link isn't completely clear, but it's definitely there. Of course, alcohol is produced from carbohydrate, so perhaps it isn't so surprising.

Anyway, to return to your weight loss, yes, I think the alcohol is the most likely culprit. Try cutting back over the weekend, and see how it goes.

Readers, this would be a good time to review low carbohydrate drink choices. Here's a rundown:

* Miller Lite and Milwaukee's Best Light are the lowest carb beers I've found – around 3.5 grams a can. Indeed, since Milwaukee's Best Light is made by Miller, I suspect it's actually Miller Lite in a cheaper can; it's the standard beer choice around here. Coors Light is 5 grams a can, but if you're going to have that extra gram and a half of carb, personally I'd rather have Amstel Light, also 5 grams a bottle. I think it tastes better. After that, the carb counts rise rather rapidly – Bud Light is 9 grams a can, and Michelob Light is 11 grams a bottle – only three grams less than a regular beer!

* Dry wines run 2-4 grams for a 4-5 ounce glass. Dry red wines include Cabernet, merlot, burgundy, shiraz/syrah, chianti, many zinfandels, and pinot noir. Dry white wines include Chablis, Rhine, Chardonnay, some gewertztraminers, Sauvignon blanc, and Chenin blanc. If you're not sure if a wine you're interested in is dry, you'll need to talk to a knowledgeable wine manager at a good liquor store. Avoid anything that isn't a recognizable variety – stuff like "Chillable Red" – or anything with "flavor added." Often what's added is sugar. If the wine isn't good enough to drink the way it is, blending or flavoring it isn't likely to help much.

* Wine coolers are all loaded with sugar. Try this, instead: Put 3-4 ounces of the dry wine of your choice in a large glass. Fill with ice, then fill to the top with diet soda. Lemon-lime is the obvious choice, but you could try sugar free berry or white grape soda, too.

* I like wine spritzers. Again, put 3-4 ounces of dry wine – I like reds – in a tall glass with ice. Fill with sparkling water – my favorite is the berry flavored sparkling water. This is much less sweet than when you make it with soda.

* The driest, lowest carb champagne is labeled "brut". "Extra dry" is actually a bit sweet, and "dry" champagne is sweet! Don't ask me why. That's just the way it is. There is also "sweet" champagne, but that's way too sugary for us to even think about!

* Like hard lemonade? Just put a shot of vodka in a tall glass of sugar-free lemonade. Cheaper than buying it pre-mixed, too.

* All of the hard liquors are carb-free – vodka, bourbon, scotch, rye, and other whiskeys, rum (except for flavored rums), gin, tequila – they're all 0 carbs. They'll still slow down your metabolism, you understand, but they're 0 carbs.

* Mixers, on the other hand, are a minefield! Virtually all bottled mixers are loaded with carbs – margarita mix, sour mix, orange juice, cranberry juice – steer clear. Club soda is fine, of course, as is diet cola. Tonic is full of sugar, but you can buy sugar free tonic.

* Liqueurs and cordials are all sugary – Irish Cream, Amaretto, creme de menthe, creme de cacao, Kahlua, Midori, all that stuff. It's liquor plus syrup. Except, of course, for my sugar free Mockahlua, the recipe for which you will find in the Cooking Low Carb section!

* Be very, very wary of anything with a cutesy name – "Buttershots", "Hot Damn!", stuff like that. It'll be sweet, sure as you're born. All trendy, fad alcohol is suspect.

* Almost all traditional Christmas drinks – eggnog, hot buttered rum, hot apple cider – are high in carbohydrates. Sorry about that.

So there's the rundown. Hope it helps you make wise choices during this holiday season. Remember, though, even with zero carbs – say, a rum-and-diet-cola – alcohol will slow down fat burning, or even stop it. Alcohol is always a luxury on a weight loss diet. It does, however, appear to have some beneficial health effects, so once again we're walking a thin line. Just walk that line with your eyes wide open!

And, as always, don't drink and drive!

THREE NEW LOW CARB BREADS!! Organic Bread, Cocoa Breakfast Bread, and Sinfully Low Carb Bread! 2 – 3 grams usable carb per slice, and DELICIOUS! Warm up with our 3 new low carb Soup Mixes!! Try our new Low Carb Hot Breakfast Cereal!! Cinnamon Spice or Vanilla Almond!!

PIZZA KITS ARE BACK! Pure De-Lite Chocolates now in stock for your Christmas Cravings – stuff a low carb stocking!


Low Carb Grocery, for all your low carb Christmas needs!


Low Carbohydrate Diets: A Treatment For Cancer?

Every low carber is plagued by people telling them how terribly dangerous their diet is – indeed, people seemed surprised that we don't drop in our tracks the first month. Of course, their biggest boogie is heart disease, but right on the heels of the cardio-scare comes cancer. After all, we've all had it drummed into our heads for a few decades now that a low fat diet prevents cancer, or at least breast cancer and colon cancer. The fact that this has been disproven – that multiple articles have appeared in highly respected, peer-reviewed medical journals, detailing the studies which have demonstrated quite clearly that a low fat diet prevents neither breast nor colon cancer – does not seem to have sunk in yet with the general public. And what I've been saying for a long time – that since cancers are "glucose hogs", consuming large quantities of sugar to survive and grow, a low carb diet might well starve them – seems heretical in the extreme.

Well, guess what? A report has been published in the October 10th issue of _Medical Hypothesis_, which suggests just exactly that.

In an article with the catchy title "Dysfunctional Mitochondria and Oxygen Insufficiency Causes Cancer Cells to Produce Inordinate Amounts of Lactic Acid", cancer scientist Angelo P. John takes a close look at the metabolism of cancer cells. John, the Director of the A.P. John Institute for Cancer Research of Greenwich, CT, has built on the known fact that cancer cells produce an unusually high level of lactic acid.

So what does that have to do with us, and low carb diets? Hang on. I'll try to make this as clear as I can.

Lactic acid is a breakdown product from your body making energy without enough oxygen. When you work out really hard – so hard that your breathing can't keep up with your body's oxygen demand – it's lactic acid in your muscles that causes "the burn". Scientists have known for decades that cancer tissue has a much higher level of lactic acid than normal tissues.

Dr. John has a strong theory why. He claims that it's because the mitochondria – the little powerhouses inside each cell which make energy – are damaged in the cancer cells. Since the mitochondria, which are essential for a cell to burn fat for fuel – are damaged in cancer cells, the cancer tissue can only make energy from glucose – blood sugar – just like your normal cells do when you exercise past your oxygen capacity. This is why cancer is a "glucose hog" – it can't "eat" fats like most of your tissues can, it can only eat glucose.

What this means is that cancer cells have a big disadvantage – shut off the supply of sugar, and they starve. Dr. Chi Van Dang, a researcher at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, has reported that a low carbohydrate diet is beneficial for cancer patients. A very low carbohydrate diet allows the cancer patient to starve his or her cancer cells, while maintaining nutrition to the rest of his or her body.

It appears that the best kind of low carbohydrate diet for achieving this starvation of the cancer, while feeding the healthy tissue, is a ketogenic diet, the lowest carbohydrate, highest fat sort of diet. When ketone levels in the blood rise, levels of an enzyme needed to burn glucose for fuel drop. This makes it even harder for the cancer cells to feed and reproduce.

Another wonderful thing about this is that by selectively feeding the healthy tissues, and not the cancerous ones, the terrible wasting, known as cachexia, common in cancer patients, can be avoided. If a cancer patient eats carbohydrates, they feed the cancer, and the rest of his or her body starves. If he or she eats mostly fats, they can feed their healthy tissue, and starve the cancer. This was made even more clear to me recently when a friend who has advanced cancer, and was getting dangerously thin, on my suggestion, started drinking sugar free protein shakes with a hefty dose of Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil – a fat that can go directly to the muscles for fuel, with no processing by the body – in each shake. Kim has gained 7 pounds in a few weeks time, and feels better.

(Don't panic about that weight gain thing. Kim was wasting away because her cancer was eating all of her food – because she was eating mostly carbs. She very much needed to gain weight – this is another example of low carb being a diet which promotes health, above all. I devoutly hope that you do not have a cancer gobbling down all your carb calories.)

What I'm telling you, my friends, is not only will a low carbohydrate diet not give you cancer, it may very well be able to treat cancer. Since three of my four grandparents died of cancer, and my father is a cancer patient at this very moment, this strikes me as more than a little important.

Now, what was that about a low carbohydrate diet being unhealthy?

If you'd like to read the abstract of the article, it's at: http://www.apjohncancerinstitute.org/doctor.htm

Use our Special Holiday Coupon for FREE SHIPPING on orders over $50!

Looking for a present for the Low Carber on your list? Check out our Gift Baskets! Or maybe they'd prefer one of our many low carb books! And remember to get plenty of Sugar Free Candy for the stockings!

Buy Dana Carpender's How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds! for just $9.99!

PLUS, check out our articles, recipes, and more!

If you're low carb and smart, you'll shop Carb Smart!!


Recipes!! We Still Need Recipes!

We've now received more than twenty recipes from readers to go in the new low carb cookbook, and we have a team of crack recipe testers testing every single one. But we need more! MORE, I say!!

This is your big chance for low carb immortality! If we use your recipe, you will be credited in the cookbook, and low carb dieters the world around will know your name, and thank you in their hearts! So send those recipes in!

In particular, we need recipes for fish and seafood, vegetables, and soups.

Here are the guidelines for writing your recipes down:

  1. List ingredients in order of their use.
  2. Include exact measurements and package sizes of all ingredients ("salt and pepper to taste" is okay).
  3. Write preparation directions in complete sentences.
  4. Make sure you include directions on how to use all ingredients listed.
  5. Include sizes of pots, pans, and casseroles.
  6. Indicate exact cooking temperature and time.
  7. Add a tip on how to tell when the food is done (e.g. "brown and bubbly", "reaches 150 on a meat thermometer", "firm to the touch").
  8. Include the number of servings based on reasonable portions.
  9. Avoid using specific brands of ingredients. Recipes should use standard grocery or health food store items rather than specialty low-carb products by specific manufacturers.
So send in those recipes!!

More Low Carb Christmas Gifts!

Looking for that Christmas present for the low carbers on your list? Check out the Low Carb Library at the Hold the Toast website!

In particular, I'd like to recommend Baking Low Carb and Bread and Breakfast, both by my friend Diana Lee. I don't know how any low carber keeps house without these books; they're the only low carb books I know that are entirely dedicated to breads, cookies, muffins, and other low carb baked goods. Helpful for all low carbers, and if you're a low carb vegetarian, they'll practically save your life. You need these books!

Reader Success Stories!

Since I asked for reader success stories, they've been pouring in! Here are two:

Turning Over a New Leaf

Where do I start! My name is Suzanne Russell and at the age of 46 I had a stress induced heart attack (on Easter Sunday). The reality check that I as very over weight is when I had to get on the scale in the Emergency Room n front of God, my husband and every body and weighed 198 lbs. Losing eight was not on my agenda at that time. My mother had a lengthy battle with cancer (passed away June 22nd). So, all of my time was focused on her. The Turning over a new leaf" was when my father begged me to lose some eight; he said that was one of my mother's last wishes before she died. She as very concern about my health.

So, on July 15 I started the Atkins diet. It has been a positive journey ever since then. The last time I weighed (September 23) I was 168 lbs. I only get on the scale every two to three weeks. The main emphasis is inches not pounds. I went down from a size 14/16 to 10/12. I have more energy; my bones and joints don't ache anymore. My thinking process is more clear and alert!

Thanks for writing, Suzanne – I bet your bloodwork looks better too!

Here's another great success story!

Dear Dana;

I've been receiving your newsletter for over a year, and I enjoy it a bunch.

In Feb. of 2000 I embarked on a low carb diet, and after about 8 months I lost 50-60 pounds. Just before I started, I had blood work done for a life insurance policy. The results were shockingly bad for someone like me who had once been an athlete (the excessive weight gain was the result of my fourth pregnancy--I suspect gestational diabetes since the baby was 9 ½ pounds while my others had been 7-pounders).

This past week I had blood work done again. I wasn't sure how it would come out since we've been building a house for the past 7 months, and that's the only exercise I've had. Also, I couldn't be as strict with my low carbing.

Well, well, well, look at this: my cholesterol went from 220 to 198; my triglycerides went from 156 to 80. My blood pressure is good (128/72), and my other blood lipids decreased as well, except, of course, for the "good" cholesterol. I'd still like to lose a few more pounds, and I know I will as soon as I get my exercise program going and tighten up a bit on the low carbing.

Thanks for the encouragement in your newsletter. This information is especially sweet in light of the Heart Association's recent blurb about "High Protein Diets." Long live low-carbers!

-Laureen Coutts, Idaho

Hey, it's because of the low carb diet that we're going to live long! Thanks for the great story!

More! I want MORE reader success stories! Send ‘em in, folks!

You're Lucky You're Overweight

You may not think so, but it means that you've got enough to eat, and millions upon millions go hungry. You can help them without leaving your computer, and without spending a cent. Just go to the Hunger Site, and click on the "Give Free Food" button. The Hunger Site will donate food for hungry people for every click they get -- and you can click once every day! Then go to Stop the Hunger, and click to donate money to hungry people in the USA. It's the easiest thing you've ever done to help your fellow human beings. Check out the ways you can actually give more to hungry people with each click -- still without spending a cent!

Go to the Hunger Site NOW, and click to feed those less fortunate than you! http://www.thehungersite.com

Go to Stop the Hunger, and click to donate food to hungry Americans: http://www.stopthehunger.com

And tell your friends!

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Book Review

What do I make for dinner?!

Every new low carber has faced this perplexing question. Splendid Low Carbing, by Jennifer Eloff, has the answer! Cold and gloomy out? How about Crock Pot Tomato Soup? Need a new side dish? Try some Teriyaki Vegetables! Miss Mexican food? Make your own High Protein Tortillas, and turn them into a batch of Chicken or Turkey Enchiladas! Don't know what to serve with chicken now that Stove Top Stuffing is out? Try Sausage Apple Stuffing! Can't stand another day without pizza? Try Jen's recipe for Whey Pizza Crust, and make your own! Can't shell out the mega-bux for those low carb pastas? Splendid Low Carbing has a recipe!

Jennifer Eloff is the author of several best selling cookbooks, and now she's gone low carb, so it's not surprising that she's put out a cookbook chock-full of interesting, diverse, and tempting-sounding recipes. Even this long time low carb cook is picking up some new ideas from this book! Jennifer also includes a section of tips on low carb dieting in general, which will be of great help to the novice low carber, and may even teach a few new tricks to us old hands. If you're wondering what to get the low carber on your Christmas list, this book is a terrific choice – or maybe you'll ask Santa to bring it to your house!

Check it out at http://www.sweety.com

Okay, here it is – Sugar Free Mockahlua! You'll be astounded at how quick and easy this is to make, and how wonderful it tastes. The day I first mixed this up, I poured a shot of the newly made Mockahlua into a glass, added a double shot of cream, and took it to my husband. He took one sip, looked at me in wonder, and said, "That's Kahlua and Cream! How did you do that?!" My sister has proclaimed Mockahlua and Cream "addictive."

Sugar Free Mockahlua
You can make this with decaf if caffeine bothers you.

2 ½ cups water
3 cups Splenda
3 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
1 teaspoon vanilla
750 milliliter bottle 100 proof vodka – use the cheap stuff.

In a large pitcher or measuring cup combine water, Splenda, coffee crystals, and vanilla. Stir until coffee and Splenda are completely dissolved. Pour through funnel into a 1.5 – 2 liter bottle – a clean 1.5 liter wine bottle works fine, so long as you've saved the cork. Pour in the whole contents of the bottle of vodka. Cork, and shake well.

Mockahlua and Cream
A nice "little something" to serve at the end of a dinner party, in lieu of a heavier dessert.

1 shot Sugar Free Kahlua
2 shots heavy cream

Simply mix and sip!

Since a good recipe deserves a variation, here I present:


12 ounce bottle sugar free chocolate coffee flavoring syrup
1 ½ cups water
3 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
750 milliliter bottle 100 proof vodka

In a large pitcher or measuring cup combine syrup, water, and coffee crystals. Stir until coffee is completely dissolved. Pour into 1.5 to 2 liter bottle, and add vodka. Cork and shake well.

And now, for the crowning achievement, I present:

Blackbottomed Mockahlua Cheesecake
You'll have to make yourself some Mockahlua before you can make this. What better incentive could you have?

Preheat oven to 350
1 ½ cups almonds
1/4 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1/4 cup butter, melted

Using a food processor with the S-blade in place, grind the almonds fine. Add the protein powder, and pulse two or three times to blend. Add the butter, and pulse 2-3 more times. Turn into a springform pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Press firmly and evenly into bottom of pan, and just far enough up at the sides to cover the seam at the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool.

Blackbottom Layer:
3 sugar free dark chocolate bars, about 1.5 ounces each
1/4 cup heavy cream

Over lowest possible heat melt the chocolate bars – if you have a heat diffuser or a double boiler, use it; chocolate burns easily. When chocolate is melted, stir in cream, blending well. Pour over crust, and spread evenly.

Mockahlua Filling:
Preheat oven to 325 (or let it cool off to 325!)

3 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup Splenda
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1/3 cup Mockahlua

In large bowl, using electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Next beat in the Splenda and the sour cream, and mix well. Beat in the vanilla, and then the eggs, one by one, beating until very smooth and creamy. Finally, beat in the Mockahlua, and mix well. Pour into the crust you've already coated with chocolate. Place in oven, and on the oven rack below or on the floor of the oven place a pie pan of water. Bake for 1 hour. Cool in pan on wire rack. Chill well before serving.

And, since it's party time, here's a great little party nibble! I got the idea for these from my pal Amy Austin; they're a specialty of her step-father's. That's why I'm calling these:

Amy's Step-Dad's Ham Rolls

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons dry onion soup mix
6-8 dill pickle spears
1 pound good quality deli ham, in one ounce slices – in other words, a one pound package should have 16 slices.

First, combine the cream cheese well with the onion soup mix; an electric mixer or a food processor is easiest for this, but a good, thorough beating with a fork should work, too. Next slice each dill pickle spear lengthwise into 2-3 thinner spears. Now, lay a piece of ham flat on the counter or on a plate. Spread evenly with some cream cheese/onion soup mixture, spreading all the way to the edges. Place a skinny pickle spear at one end of the ham, and roll the whole thing up, with the pickle in the center. Repeat with all the slices of ham, distributing the cream cheese mixture evenly between all the ham slices. Cut each roll into 6 sections; they'll look quite pretty – little pink pinwheels with a bit of green in the center. Arrange on a lettuce lined plate (oh, okay, you can leave off the lettuce if you want!) and serve.

The carb count on these will vary some with what brand of soup you use – Lipton was the lowest carb brand at my store – what brand of ham you use, and what brand of cream cheese you use – you'll read the labels carefully, right? I get about 36 grams for the batch, and since you're making 96 rolls here (feel free to halve the recipe – or double it, for that matter), we're talking well under a half a gram per roll.

By the way, Amy strongly recommends making "8 million of these, to avoid riots when someone eats the last one." Consider yourself warned!

That's it for this issue! See you with those cookie recipes next week!


Return to Archive Contents

To request a full-text version of this newsletter by e-mail, just send a message to htt011217@holdthetoast.com (Message and subject can be blank.)