Lowcarbezine! 7 April 2002

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Okay, here it is, finally! Hope you enjoy it!

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Yet Another Illness NOT Caused By Eating Fat

I recently spoke at my local public library on The Myths of Low Carb Dieting - that people believed a low carb diet would give you breast cancer, heart disease, had no fiber and no vegetables, etc, etc.

Well, I've got another one for you. My sister Kim, who has had a life-long struggle with asthma, had been going through a particularly bad stretch, where she repeatedly would get a sore, scratchy throat, followed by a bad asthma attack, requiring steroids for treatment. She's been to the doctor repeatedly, trying to figure out what was triggering these attacks. Finally her allergist - having determined that the problem was not a flare up of Kim's allergies - tested her for gastroesophageal reflux. Sure enough, despite having rarely actually felt the sensation we call "heartburn", Kim has been suffering from reflux, and it's what's been triggering her asthma. The allergist gave her a short-term prescription for some acid-blockers, and her health improved immediately.

The allergist also made Kim an appointment with a gastroenterologist, who confirmed the diagnosis - and told her that she shouldn't take acid-blocking medication, she should starting eating a low fat diet instead. Yep, he told her that it was the fat in her diet that was causing her reflux, and she'd just have to cut it out. (He also told her she should stop eating nuts, because they "aren't good for you." Apparently he missed the studies that showed that eating nuts regularly dramatically reduces the risk of heart attack.)

Kim contacted me in a mild panic - she really, really didn't want to give up her low carb diet, since it's the only thing that has controlled her weight at all - her asthma and the steroids have made weight loss very difficult. But how was she going to incorporate yet another major restriction? What the heck was she going to eat?

Now, it is possible to do a low-ish fat version of low carb, although you absolutely should not try to do both strict low fat and strict low carb at once - an all-protein diet will make you sick, sure as you're born. But first I wanted to make sure that Kim really needed to cut the fat out of her diet. I've heard from a fair number of people whose reflux had gone away when they went low carb. And I've had enough experience with folks who believe religiously in the mystical powers of a low fat diet to cure everything to be a tad suspicious when someone starts pushing fat restriction again. I did a little research.

First I did a Google search under "reflux dietary fat." I found several web sites that did, indeed, recommend restriction of fat, as well as giving up alcohol and caffeine, for reflux patients. But then, the sites with weight loss advice and coronary care advice would likely say the same thing, right?

I went to Medline. For those of you who don't know, Medline is a huge searchable database of medical journal articles - many of them with abstracts, giving the basics of how the research was done, what the results were, and what conclusions the researchers drew. It is hard to imagine a more wonderful playground for the aspiring health know-it-all! I've been known to blow away whole afternoons just running search after search at Medline to see what I can turn up. (If you would like to be an aspiring health know-it-all, here's a link to PubMed, a gateway to Medline: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi Have fun!)

I ran a search, again with "reflux dietary fat". Guess what I found?

First, an article from the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, called "Fat and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease." What did it say? "It is common practice to prescribe avoidance of fatty foods to patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease; however, there is no good evidence supporting the benefit of such a prescription...Recent observations suggest that fatty meals do not promote gastro-oesophageal reflux... It is concluded that, in the light of present evidence, there is no sound rationale for clinicians recommending that patients with GORD follow a low-fat diet."

Things were already looking good for Kim's dietary happiness! But one article doesn't mean much. I read on. In Annals of Epidemiology I found a long term study - they watched folks for 20 years or so to see how many of them developed reflux, and looked at various factors they had in common. The conclusion? "Overweight, but not high dietary fat intake, increases risk of

gastroesophageal reflux disease hospitalization." In other words, if you lose weight on your high fat, low carb diet, your risk of reflux goes down. (This, too, shows a nasty reinforcement spiral for Kim - her asthma makes it hard for her to exercise, so she carries too much weight, which increases risk of reflux, which can trigger asthma. Just awful.)

How about the American Journal of Gastroenterology? In an article titled "Effect of low and high fat meals on lower esophageal sphincter motility and gastroesophageal reflux in healthy subjects", the effect of fatty meals on the lower esophageal sphincter - the muscle that should keep acid from backing up into the esophagus - and on reflux was studied. Twelve healthy subjects - 6 men and 6 women - were given either a low fat/high carb meal or a high fat, low-ish (but not low) carb meal - each carefully calculated to have the same volume and the same number of calories. They were then were tested for the backing up of acid into the esophagus. The result? " In healthy volunteers no difference... was seen after a high fat meal compared with an isocaloric and isovolumetric low fat meal. Our results suggest that it is inappropriate to advise GER patients to reduce the fat content of their meals for symptom relief."

Do you see a trend emerging here?

Another article, called "Meal type affects heartburn severity" did find that different foods may have a greater or lesser affect on creating reflux, but that fat content was not an important factor. The worst offenders were chili and red wine, both of which were lower in fat (wine, of course, is fat free) than some of the other foods tested. And in an article from a journal with the charmingly blunt name Gut, researchers studying the effect of fat intake on reflux concluded, " Increasing fat intake does not affect gastro-oesophageal reflux or oesophagogastric competence for at least three hours after a meal."

I think, at this point, we can pretty much conclude that my sister's doctor is full of it.

The moral of this story is, I trust, clear: First of all, that dietary fat does not cause reflux, nor does it make existing reflux worse - you will do well to give up caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, ephedrine, but cutting out dietary fat will not do a darned thing to fix your reflux, should you be unlucky enough to suffer from it.

And secondly, it pays to double check what your doctors tell you. I read once that the half-life of a medical education - the time it takes for half of what a doctor learned in medical school to be outdated or just plain wrong - is a mere 10 years. Sure looks like the truth from here.


Why Pay More?!

Tired of paying through the nose for Atkins' Bake Mix? Aunt Pearl's Low Carb Bake Mix is now just $5.32 for a 16 serving bag when you buy 3 or more!

Have you checked out our huge assortment of sugar free candies, from Carbolite, Daskalides, Low Carb Chef, and more? You've got to see it to believe it! Chocolates, jelly beans, gummi bears, and more!

Low Carb Grocery! Check it out NOW! http://www.webbalah.net/shoplowcarb.html.


The Low Carb Garden

It's spring! It's spring! (Okay, it's spring in my hemisphere. I'm afraid all you folks in Oz and En Zed and Brazil will just have to save this article for six months.) And around here, spring means it's time to put in a vegetable garden!

However, as a low carber, I'm not going to be growing sweet corn. What goes in a low carb vegetable garden?

* Lettuce - especially romaine and red leaf in mine. Good lettuce doesn't come cheap, but it's astonishingly easy to grow. Plant more every two weeks or so, so you always have some that's getting to be about the right size. Lettuce is a cool weather crop, and can go in right away. Indeed, it's already a bit late in some zones!

* Spinach - I love fresh spinach in salads, and my husband loves it stir fried with a little garlic. Extremely low carb, and you know how good it is for you!

* Arugula - aka "rocket". This is the first year I've had arugula seeds. But buying the stuff in the grocery store is pretty steep, so I thought I'd give it a shot. If you haven't tried arugula, you'll be very surprised - it tastes roasted. Really. Very nice in a salad with a little diced ripe pear, some walnuts, and shaved parmesan.

* Raddichio - I'm very fond of this bitter, red green, and it is sky high at local stores. So I'm keeping my eyes out for some seeds; my gardening genius friend Judy says it's no big deal to grow.

* Cabbage - I grow both green and red cabbage, though I admit my losses to bugs are pretty discouraging. I'm not sure why I grow my own, really, since it's always cheap at the grocery - I guess it's just the challenge of the thing.

* Snow Peas - regular peas are too high carb for us, but snow peas will fit into our way of eating, and are easy to grow. They can go in right away, too, since they're a cool weather crop.

* Cucumbers - and this year, I'm planting no more than two! I had three cucumber plants last year, and I had cukes rotting in the fridge! Still, cucumbers are very low carb, and can be used in about a billion ways.

* Green beans and wax beans - I even like these raw, right out of my hand, and of course they're great cooked. Or in bean salad!

* Tomatoes - okay, these are a borderline vegetable, but they're real ambrosia when you grow them yourself, and they're tremendously healthful. Just go easy on quantity.

* Peppers - my peppers did quite well last year, despite the deer constantly biting branches off my pepper plants. I grow sweet peppers, jalapenos, and big green chilies for making chilies rellenos. Mmm. All peppers are quite low carb, though green ones are lower than red.

* Onions - this year I have some scallion seeds; it'll be interesting to see how they do. Onions are another borderline vegetable, but who can cook without them? (Actually, I have a friend who is allergic to onions, and cooks without them. He relies heavily on garlic!)

* Zucchini - this will be my first year growing zucchini. I have been warned - I will only plant one! Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable, and is very low carb. If you can't use it all up at the height of the season, you could shred it in a food processor, freeze it in zip lock bags, and save it for making meat loaves, low carb sweet breads, and the like.

* Cantaloupe - I've had little success with cantaloupe before, but I got some seeds cheap, so I'm trying again. Cantaloupe is a low carb fruit, and tremendously nutritious. My husband loves it.

* Brussels Sprouts - I haven't tried growing these, but plan to. We're very fond of them. And have you ever seen Brussels Sprouts growing? They look like an alien laid an egg-pod in your yard. Really odd.

* Herbs - I have some perennial herbs already - a couple of kinds of thyme, a couple of kinds of mint (the trouble with mint isn't growing it, it's keeping it from taking over!), and sage. I'd like to add a rosemary bush. Annual herbs I plan to grow include parsley (my favorite!), sweet basil, and cilantro.

* Turnips and rutabagas - these need to go in toward the end of the summer, for harvest after the first frost. We're very fond of both these vegetables. Turnips are quite low carb. Rutabagas are borderline, but have half the carbs of potatoes, and a lot more flavor.

* Broccoli and cauliflower - I've had little success with these, although they're low carb, and I like them. I think I won't bother again this year. However, if you're a better gardener than I, they're worth growing.

* Eggplant - I tried this once, and only ever got one fruit, and it was small. I don't like eggplant well enough to try it again. But if you're fond of eggplant, and have had success growing it, it sure is low carb.

So that's what we're growing around here this year. If you have kids, see if you can get them in on the project. I have it on good authority from friends with kids that it's a lot easier to get kids to eat vegetables they've grown themselves. Worth a try!

BTW, many of these things could be grown in containers if you have an apartment with a patch of steady sunlight. Lettuce, for instance, would be a good container plant, and I've heard of cherry tomatoes doing well. Herbs, of course, are a classic for windowsill gardening.

I just really love the feeling of being part of nature that I get when I grow my own vegetables, and that the vegetables taste great and are grown on soil I know to be excellent - because I made it that way - just adds to the pleasure. I'm not sure I save any money, but vegetable gardening feeds my soul as well as my body, and that's a bargain no matter how you look at it.


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

I have been on weight loss diets almost all of my life! I've lost and gained over 500 pounds in my lifetime. This will no longer be the case for me now that I have read Dana Carpender's book "How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet And Lost Forty Pounds" and am following her plan! I am now at the lowest weight I have been in ten years and it was so easy to attain this weight loss. How can you call this program a diet? I've eaten steak,chicken, veggies, cheese and occasionally Peanut M&M's, ice cream and chocolate mousse! This program is not a starvation plan. I have always felt so satisfied and healthy and have so much energy! Best of all I know I will be able to stay on this food program for the rest of my life! If you are tired of the diet yo-yo I highly recommend Dana's book. It's a fun, fast paced, easy read and it will be the last diet book you'll ever need to buy!

J. Crear, Hobart, WI

Thanks, J!

If you'd like to read the first chapter of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds! for FREE, you'll find it at http://www.holdthetoast.com , along with the foreword and the table of contents. And a FAQ, and a whole bunch of other stuff!

You can find the book at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0966883101/lowcarbohysoluti, along with a whole pile of other nice things people have said about it!

Or, for that matter, you can visit http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html , and order it from Carb Smart, or you can visit http://www.webbalah.net/shoplowcarb and get it from Low Carb Grocery.

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.


Weight Training Videos?

Just today, I got this email from a reader:

Hey Dana

I want to do some weight training at home via a video......(especially my arms and thighs) ..where would you suggest I look on the internet for others who have had success with specific videos on this subject......there are soooo many available......I am really confused and would like some feedback from fellow low carbers, if possible.......there is a bond of trust between all of us, ya know? thanks


Hey, Cyndi -

I know, and darn it, for a full year now I've been meaning to get email support lists up for everyone. I will get it done, I will! Although some of it depends on the webmaster, who has two day jobs and is going to grad school...

Anyway, I'll ask - gang, if you have any favorite weight training videos, write in and let me know, and I'll publish what I get.

In the meanwhile, I am very impressed with the videos from The Firm -- they're a combination of aerobics and weight training, and they're quite wonderful. Amazon.com carries quite a few of them. Lowcarbezine! reader Carol Vandiver is a Firm Believer (cute, huh?) too, and wrote an article for me at one point about which videos she likes best. Anyway, with dumbbells in the 3, 5, and 8 or 10 pound range, and something sturdy to use as a step, you can make mucho headway with The Firm. The instructors are clear and easy to follow, too.

Here's a repeat of Carol's reviews of Firm videos:

Product Review -- By Reader Carol Vandiver

Carol Vandiver, whose letter regarding low carbing and exercising with The Firm aerobic weight training tapes appeared in last week's issue, has responded with *amazing* generosity to my request for more information regarding which current tapes by The Firm are worth using.

Here is her whole response; I've inserted all of the URLs for the tapes she's recommended that I could find on Amazon, and a few comments of my own --

Thanks for answering my question in your ezine. I'm sorry to hear about your car wreck. Being told you shouldn't walk for 3 months must be very frustrating. Good luck on your road to recovery.

I was very interested in the "charting your temperature" information after one of these breathing exercise tapes. The claims for Oxycise are pretty strong. I saw Greer Childers on a new infomercial a few weeks ago. A tape may be available. )

As for the Firm, your tapes aren't out of print, they have been renamed. In a move only a marketing genius could come up with, the Firm renamed all their earlier tapes to reflect it's "focus" I assume. I guess it makes them more meaningful to the general public but it confuses the

heck out of me. I still have to look them up if I can't see the cover. Therefore...

Volume 1 with Susan Harris is now Body Sculpting Basics


Volume 2 with Janet Jones-Gretzky is now Low Impact Aerobics


Volume 3 with Sandahl Bergman is now Aerobic Interval Training


Volume 4 is Time Crunch Workout http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005T32U/lowcarbohysoluti

Volume 5 is Buns, Hips & Thigh Workout


Volume 6 is Complete Aerobic Weight Training


Frankly, I think a few of the new titles hurt the tapes. Volume 2, 3 and 4 don't even mention the medium to heavy weight work throughout the tapes in the "aerobics" advertised in the titles. But then, I'm not a marketing genius.

All of the above tapes are winners but I still think that Volume 1 is the best and most effective of them all. I still do it regularly. It was revolutionary when released in the early 80's. The best thing, as you said, about the tapes is that they are built for modification. Start with no weights, end up with heavy weights. Volume 1 will do things for your hips, thighs and pelvic region that are amazing. Revs up your life in all kinds of interesting ways ;-) (Another note from Dana: Carol's

a better woman than I am -- I've *never* gotten all the way through Volume One -- it's *tough*! Effective, but tough.)

I must say here that I made audio cassettes out of my Firm videos many, many years ago and haven't *watched* them in ages. I watch regular TV and listen to the audio. Keeps the boredom at bay.

Here are the rest of my Firm video recommendations and "don't buys":

Firm Strength & Firm Cardio used to be called Strong Body and Strong Heart. I do both regularly. Don't be fooled by the Firm Cardio title either. It has plenty of heavy weight work. But they are what the Firm calls a crosstraining set.

Firm Strength: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/6304396031/lowcarbohysoluti

Firm Cardio: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/6304396031/lowcarbohysoluti )

Tortoise & Hare - another crosstraining set. I highly recommend Tortoise, and Hare is all right on a "light" day, but is very dancey. The best thing about these tapes is Tracie Long, Firm instructor extraordinare.

Tortoise: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/6304396015/lowcarbohysoluti

Hare: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/6304396023/lowcarbohysoluti

The 2 newest crosstrainers are Super Sculpting and Super Cardio. I like the first and not the second. Super Sculpting is great for muscle confusion because it's unlike the other videos. Super Cardio uses way too many jumps and moves and not enough weight in its video. Not what I

want from the Firm.

Super Sculpting: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005T32Z/lowcarbohysoluti

Super Cardio: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005T32Y/lowcarbohysoluti

The 3 Firm Basic tapes are for *very* beginners and I only recommend the Firm Basics Sculpting with Weights which also has Tracie Long.

Sculpting withWeights


The other two (Abs, Buns & Thighs and Fat Burning) are not going to give the results that using the other recommended tapes with no weights will give even a beginner.

Cardio Burn is great but with lighter weights. I use it on "light" days. I haven't tried Maximum Cardio and Power Cardio but segments from them are used on the Core Cardio mix tapes mentioned below. I'd recommend getting the Core Cardio mix tapes instead although I do see these for pretty cheap in the discount stores. Definitely worth purchasing at those prices. I got Cardio Burn for $6.95. What a deal.

Cardio Burn: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1568124961/lowcarbohysoluti

Maximum Cardio: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1568124945/lowcarbohysoluti

Power Cardio: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/630581774X/lowcarbohysoluti

Of course, I'd recommend any Firm tape at any discount house you see more than 99% of the time before any other tape on the shelf.

Prime Power Total Body and Prime Power Lower Body are the only tapes ever made by the Firm which I hate. The production quality of the other tapes is superb with original music that doesn't grate after years of listening and great sets. These two tapes have lousy, annoying music and 'jungle' sets. Yuk. The same marketing genius who renamed all the tapes to sound alike probably thought a change was needed. It wasn't. The Firm has since gone back to exceptional production values.

(Dana's note: Apparently a lot of people agreed; these tapes are not available at Amazon.)

Other "don't buys" because there are so many superior Firm tapes to do are Maximum Body Sculpting, Better Body & Buns, and Super Cardio.

The Firm has also produced lots of tapes that are "mixes" of these tapes. The purpose is to focus on a body area or aerobics. Of these, I really like the "split" tapes to rotate Lower Body Sculpting (floor legwork from Volumes 1-6) and Sculpted Buns, Hips & Thighs go great with

Upper Body. There's a new upper body mix from newer tapes that I'd like to try.

Lower Body Sculpting: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/6303994903/lowcarbohysoluti

Sculpted Buns, Hips, and Thighs: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005T333/lowcarbohysoluti

Other great mix tapes are Tough Tape and Core Cardio 2 which I like so

much better than Tough Tape 2 and Core Cardio 1. Boot Camp 3-in-1 mix is


(Tough Tape is out of stock at Amazon at this editing. However, there is a Tough Tape 2: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1568124988/lowcarbohysoluti

As I said, the marketing genius who has been naming these things is confusing the heck out of me. I hope this clears it up for your readers.

You can learn more about the Firm at http://www.firmbelievers.com and purchase tapes at http://www.firmdirect.com or http://www.collagevideo.com. You should also check your local

discounters first because you never know what treasures are mixed with that Denise Austin trash. My personal opinion is that Denise Austin sells so many tapes because her audience is those people who buy tapes and don't actually do them.

If you're a fat girl who wants to feel like an athlete, get the FIRM. It's been life-altering for me.

Dana, the first thing I think about whenever I even have a small, stupid accident like twisting my ankle on the curb is that my life, as I've come to know it, will be over if I can't do the Firm. I'll go back to that overly-sensitive girl and young woman who had no confidence and a round body. Discovering the benefits of eating low carb make it seem like I at least would have another tool, but I greatly sympathize with your inability to exercise right now.

And yes, I guess the length of this letter would pretty much earn me the "Firm Believer" title.

Carol Vandiver

Thanks so much, Carol! I have, indeed, tried to do The Firm again fairly recently, and it still sets off my sciatica, although, of course, it makes the rest of me feel great. I've just started walking with handweights, doing various exercises with my arms while I walk. I'm hoping I'll get at least some of the same benefits that I always have from The Firm, without the trouble that the serious leg work has caused me.

I'd like to reiterate what Carol said about looking at your local discount stores; I've found tapes by The Firm at my local Target. My library also has a couple in their collection, available for free ten day loan. Such a deal!


If You're Low Carb and Smart, You'll Shop Carb Smart!

We've got Pure De-Lite Truffles; gotta try 'em to believe 'em! Plus piles and piles of great low carb products - and everything is at a discount!

We've got Dana's book, How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!, for just $9.99!

Plus our own ezine, with articles, success stories, recipes, interviews, and more!



Product Review

I've been eating sugar free chocolate again. Okay, I talk about chocolate a lot. Sue me. I used to steal to get the stuff when I was a teen. That sugar free chocolate is as good as it is is a source of ongoing joy to me.

This time I've been trying the new truffles from Pure De-Lite. I was expecting these to be good, since Pure De-Lite Dark Chocolate Bars are my all-time favorite sugar free chocolate. I was not disappointed!

Do you know those little Lindt chocolate balls that are often sold by the cash register? The ones with the firm chocolate shell, and the unbelievably creamy chocolate insides? That's what these are like. The flavor and the texture are both utterly superb. These Pure De-Lite truffles come in Mint, Amaretto, Hazelnut, Peanut Butter, Espresso, and Orange. Of these, I tried Hazelnut, Peanut Butter, Espresso, and Orange. All were wonderful. The Hazelnut and the Peanut Butter are made with milk chocolate, and the Espresso and the Orange are made with dark chocolate. I prefer the latter two, largely because I prefer dark chocolate. I'm particularly thrilled that there is a chocolate orange candy - this is one of my very favorite flavor combinations.

These are not filled candies - don't expect that there will be an actual hazelnut, or blob of peanut butter, or the like, in the middle of the candy. They have a firm chocolate shell surrounding a center of creamier chocolate, flavored with whichever flavor you've chosen. All the flavors were pronounced and true.

Another nice thing about these candies: I've written repeatedly about the fact that polyol sweetened candies enforce moderation, by causing intestinal gas or even diarrhea if you over-indulge. This "enforcement" means that I can't consume a full sugar free chocolate bar at one go. Not a problem for me, but if you lack my killer willpower (or my fear of social embarassment) you may find it helpful that these candies are small, and individually wrapped - each is just a couple of bites of pure chocolate heaven; not enough to cause you much trouble.

All told, these Pure De-Lite truffles are well worth looking for. For my readers in the local area (Bloomington, IN), you can buy Pure De-Lite truffles at Sahara Mart, at 2nd and Walnut. The rest of you can look for them in your area, or order them through many of the low carb etailers out there.


That's it for this issue! See you next issue.


Return to Archive Contents

To request a full-text version of this newsletter by e-mail, just send a message to htt020407@holdthetoast.com (Message and subject can be blank.)