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Hey, Gang -
This is it! It's mid-October, and you know what that means - we're headed into the Holiday Season, the most anticipated season of the year - and for dieters, the most dreaded!
Fear not. You and I can get through this holiday season with our sanity, our health, and our waistlines intact - it's just going to take a little determination, and a little planning. Let's get to it, shall we?
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It's almost Halloween! And for my readers in the US and Canada, we're talking the biggest junk-fest of the year. Wall-to-wall candy, as far as the eye can see. If you're going to make it through the holiday unscathed, not to mention unfattened, you need to start thinking about it now.
I, personally, have solved the Halloween problem so far by not having any children, and by living in a country neighborhood where I never get any trick-or-treaters. However, this solution may be a bit too drastic for those of you who already have kids, and live in more populous areas. So, what can you do?
* First of all, lay in a modest supply of low carb treats of your own. I personally love Pure De-Lite brand sugar free dark chocolate, and espresso truffles, but there is now a sugar free candy for every taste - Carbolite has duplicated practically every gooey-sweet candy bar ever invented, from milk chocolate with crispies, filled with caramel, to the peanut butter cup - plus all sorts of non-chocolate candies, like gummy candies and jelly beans. Here in Bloomington, I can get just about the whole line at Sahara Mart; you'll need to poke around your town for your best source, or go online.
* Secondly, consider giving the trick-or-treaters candy you don't personally like! This, of course, will not work if you never met a candy you didn't like, but if you adore, say, Snickers bars, and couldn't care less about Twizzlers, give away Twizzlers! If I were giving away candy (which I wouldn't be, not only because of my neighborhood, but because I'm philosophically opposed to giving sugar to kids,) I'd give away candy corn and mellocream pumpkins - I never liked the things, even as a sugar addicted kid.
* If you have candy left over come November 1st, for heaven's sake, take it to the office and leave it in the break room. Get rid of it!!
* How about giving away something other than candy? Small change. Stickers. Dopey little toys you can buy practically by the pound at teacher supply stores or dollar stores or wherever. Back when I lived in a trick-or-treating neighborhood, I gave away peanuts in the shell - I put out a big basketful and let each kid take a double handful. I got good reactions, too - "Oh, cool! Peanuts!" No kid ever said, "Hey, lady, where's the candy?" My sister, a teacher and fellow low carber (and a real martinet when it comes to sugar consumption in her classroom, I'll tell you!) gives away sparkley pencil topper erasers and stickers, and generally gets good reactions. One real benefit to this move away from candy, and toward non-edible stuff, is that it lets kids still have the fun of going from house to house in costume, collecting loot, without any worries about drugs or poison.
* You could have a Halloween party, instead of doing the whole trick-or-treat thing. Lets you control the sugar to a much greater degree, and if the kids haven't collected a hundred candy bars each, there will be less candy sitting around the house come All Souls Day. Please, if you do have a party, consider putting more emphasis on games, and less emphasis on sugar! Bob for apples, have a Jack-o-lantern carving contest, give prizes for costumes, read ghost stories by candle light, whatever - just help your kids grow up finding fun in something other than sugar.
* If your kids come home with enough candy to start their own candy store, consider letting them pick out the stuff that they really, really like, and dumping the rest. Then freeze the stuff that really matters to them, and dole it out a piece at a time, rather than letting them inhale it all in a few days. I know that as a little sugar junkie, I ate just about every piece of candy I collected, even stuff I didn't much like. What's the point?
* In general, focus on all the fun of the holiday that doesn't involve sugar. Dress up in costume to answer the door. Decorate your house and yard - styrofoam tombstones, a ghost or a skeleton on a wire, recorded haunted house sounds - do it up! Spook the kids who come to the door. Play!
* Many conservative Christian churches have alternative parties for Halloween; a few of my friends help their churches throw "Come As Your Favorite Bible Character" parties. If you're involved with something like this, I urge you to remember that one of the things you're supposed to be teaching those children is that their bodies are temples, and that they shouldn't abuse them. Limiting sugar is a great place to start - especially given the link between sugar addiction and alcohol and drug abuse.
Have fun! Happy Halloween!
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That's 10% - pretty sweet! But it gets even better. Because every bit of our huge selection of low carb products - from protein powder to tortillas, from cookbooks to candy, is discounted already! You can't afford not to CHECK IT OUT!
Plus, we have Dana Carpender's How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds! for just $9.99!
While you're at the site, read our recipes, interviews, and low carb success stories, too!
If you're low carb and smart, you'll shop Carb Smart!
Low Carb Cold Medicine - and Vitamins
I've really enjoyed your website and I've been on a low-carb diet for almost two months. I'm a 16 year old girl from NY, and my Mom got me onto the diet. I'm pleased with my results, but I have two questions. I just got over a wicked cold, and I took some cough syrup. I realize this kicked me out of ketosis, and I want to be prepared for the next time around. Can you recommend any decent cough or cold suppressants?
Also, I have a supplement from GNC specially designed for women, but my question is are there any hidden carbs in vitamins? I don't want to take them if I'm unknowingly sabotaging my diet.
Thank you so much for your time! ;)
Oh, Yonni, excellent questions!
Liquid cough and cold medicines do, indeed, contain sugar, and it pretty large quantity, too. With the winter cold and flu season nearly upon us, it's important that you all know that sugar free varieties are available, although not in the dazzling variety you find in the sugary kind. Almost any drug store will carry sugar-free cough syrup that has both dextromethorphan (cough suppressant) and guaifenesin (expectorant - that is, it makes the stuff in your lungs easier to cough up). This will often be labeled "diabetic formula". Sugar free cough drops - made from the same polyols as sugar free candy - are also widely available. However, you may need to visit an actual pharmacy to get these products; you may not find them in the pharmacy section of your grocery store or discount store, and almost certainly won't find them in a convenience store. Also, being a specialty product, sugar free cough syrup is more expensive than the sugary kind, especially if you, like me, tend to buy generics and house brands.
Easier, and perhaps cheaper is to go with cold pills and capsules. Nyquil and Dayquil are both available in liqui-gel capsules, which are sugar free. Both of these, of course, are multiple symptom cold formulas, with ingredients for cough, stuffy nose, fever and achiness. My favorite for non-drowzy cold relief, Alka-Seltzer Plus, also has no sugar, although it does contain some aspartame - so if you avoid aspartame, take note. Alka-Seltzer Plus Liquigels don't even have the aspartame, just a bit of sorbitol. TheraFlu, a multi-symptom cold medicine that you mix with hot water, contains both sugar and "pregelatinized starch", whatever the heck that is. I'd avoid it.
However, many doctors and pharmacists feel it's best not to take these broad spectrum medicines unless you do, indeed, have all the symptoms they're designed to treat. Why not take aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen for aches and fever? If you have chest congestion without a hacking cough, your doctor can prescribe straight guaifenesin in tablets. Nasal congestion? You can take pseudoephedrine, best known by the trade name Sudafed.
(IMPORTANT: If you are taking over the counter thermogenics - Metabolife, Metabolift, Xenadrine, or any of the other sixty-billion ECA stack formulas out there advertised for weight loss, DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING WITH PSEUDOEPHEDRINE IN IT. You are already taking ephedrine, a closely related and even more powerful drug - which, by the way, should work as a decongestant. Adding more of these speedy drugs on top of it is DANGEROUS. Either stop taking the diet pills until you're better, or take cold medicines with no pseudoephedrine.)
Finally, give some thought to non-drug remedies. Soup really does help, by thinning nasal secretions. You can't have chicken noodle or chicken rice, of course, but egg drop soup is wonderful when you're sick, and hot-and-sour soup is even better, to my way of thinking. You'll want to shop around for the local Chinese place that uses the least cornstarch in their soup - the thinner the broth, the better. Hot tea with lemon and Splenda will help soothe your throat. My Chinese doctor pal strongly recommended ginger tea for colds - simmer a teaspoon or two of ground ginger in a cup of water, let the ginger powder settle to the bottom, and pour off the tea, which will have only a trace of carbohydrate. Sweeten to taste with Splenda. Chi Chou swore that by increasing sweating, this helped the body throw off a cold.
Vicks Vaporub works as well as ever for opening your nose and chest, or you can try peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil - your local health food store should have both. Three or four drops of either of these essential oils in a hot bath should do wonders for your nose and chest. Health food stores may also have an Asian product called Tiger Balm, which is largely sold as a pain rub, but does double duty as Drano For The Head - just rub a little on your nostrils. It may feel a little burn-y - it's a heating rub, after all - but boy, does it clear out the ol' sinuses.
Zinc lozenges have a big following, but I find them so nasty that I can't bring myself to use them. If they work for you, and you can bear to have them in your mouth, hey, go for it - but again, try to find a brand with no sugar.
And of course you'll want to stay warm, rest (this will involve staying home from work, unless you have small children at home, at which point going to work may be more restful!), drink plenty of (non-sugary) fluids, and take your vitamin C!
Which leads us to vitamin pills. Most tableted vitamins don't contain sugar unless they've got a slick candy coating - I only see this on some really cheap brands. Even then, it's a tiny amount. If your vitamins contain fruit, vegetable, and herb concentrates, they may contain a tiny bit of carbohydrate, but think of it this way - the whole tablet weighs what, a gram or two? Then it can't possibly contain more than a gram or two of carb, at the very most, and considering all the vitamins and minerals, they're the most nutritious carbs you're going to eat all day. Take your vitamins!
Reader Success Story
Last Sunday I was at the end of my rope! I felt so hopeless and helpless. I had cried the whole day long. I had just failed on another diet. Again all my hopes of ever losing weight went out the window. I recently spent over $400 on Nutri-System meals only to gain weight and finally give up. I HAD NO WHERE TO GO, NO HOPE IN SIGHT!!! I was at my lowest point ever. But, then I remembered that my hairdresser once mentioned your website to me. I ordered your book, which I knew would take a couple of days, but I wanted to start the lowcarb diet the next day!!! (Grab the urge while I can.)
All I knew about the low carb diet was that meat was okay, cheese was okay and mayonnaise was okay. That's all I knew. So, until your book arrived, for 4 days now, that's all I've had and I have never felt more terrific in my life. I have never once been hungry!!! The health problems, mental! problems and work problems I have over my weight (I'm almost 300 lbs) are a long story that I won't bore you with, but your book came today and you are so right on!!!! I'm only up to page 25 but had to write you. I too felt I was going crazy!!!! No matter how much I ate I was still hungry. It got so bad that I was up several times a night to eat. It was torture. BUT....again you are so right on!!! In just 4 days everything has changed!! EVERYTHING. Well, I don't expect an answer back. Just wanted to let you know another person is out here getting healed everyday by eating the right way and I won't fall for those "diet lies" anymore!!!!
Oh, Karen! I'm so glad! And as you know, I completely identify with the sense that everything changes when you start eating the right food. It's near-miraculous, if you ask me. I'm so glad it's been that way for you, too!
And yes, the loss of that awful, gnawing, driving, insane hunger is a blessing beyond all compare.
Reader Review of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet - and Lost Forty Pounds
I have been low-carbing for about 8 months now, and I have read most of the popular low-carb plans. Dana's book is a wonderful, chatty volume filled with facts and inspiration. It summarizes the popular plans, explains in plain language the processes involved with low-carbing. It is not committed to any single plan, and affords the reader a tour with her intelligent, informed notes on the different approaches. As she reinterates, everyone is different. Here is a book that helps the reader make sensible choices, and customize a plan for success. This will be the book that I keep returning to as I progress.
Order from Amazon.Com
Canadian Customers! Order from Amazon.Ca
An Embarrassing Question
A reader who, for reasons which will be obvious, will remain anonymous, writes:
I have been low carbing for 10 weeks, doing okay, never had a problem until now. Since about 1 week ago my stomach is so bloated, at least three inches outward, and it hurts. I eat a lot of broccoli and cauliflower and green salad. What can I do to keep the gas from building up? I've been taking Gas-X pills all week, but it's not helping.
Beano is out, I guess - or is it? Will it mess up my diet? What can I do?
PS: I just started eating low carb chocolates, so maybe it's the maltitol. I only had one a week for two weeks. I really don't want this to continue on! Now I'm afraid to eat veggies. Help!
Ouch! Unpleasant indeed! I'm not certain what's going on here, but I'll do the best I can:
First of all, make certain that the problem is only gas. This past winter, I felt like I had uncomfortable gas and bloating for several days, and I, too, tried Gas-X. It turned out that what I thought was gas was actually the beginning stages of a nasty case of gastroenteritis. I spent three days eating nothing but broth, and another couple of days eating (shudder!) white flour pasta and white rice. By the time I was better, I was hard pressed to know which was worse - being completely empty, and painfully hungry, or going through all those blood sugar swings. I really, really hope that your "gas" isn't the harbinger of something worse! If your symptoms progress - the pain increases, or you find yourself getting the "runs" - I'd get to a doctor, and quickly.
But let's assume that it is gas. I find myself hard-pressed to know which is the problem, the vegetables or the chocolate. On the one hand, the gas is a recent problem, and the chocolate is a recent addition to your diet, so that makes the chocolate the top suspect. On the other hand, one sugar free chocolate bar a week shouldn't be a serious, ongoing problem for anyone. I'm wondering if maybe you mistakenly wrote "one a week" instead of "one a day". If that's the case (and this is no criticism, I eat a little sugar free chocolate - about 1/3 of a bar, or a truffle - most days), then the chocolate is probably the problem, and I'd cut it back, or cut it out.
However, cauliflower and broccoli are common gas-forming vegetables, as are most of the cabbage family. Green salad should be less problematic. You might try eating some other vegetables - asparagus is very low carb, as are spinach, mushrooms, green beans, green peppers, zucchini and the other summer squashes, eggplant, and cucumbers - although cucumbers give some people trouble, too, of course. Vary your vegetables, and learn which ones don't give you gas.
Whether or not Beano is the solution to your problem depends on whether your problem is the vegetables, or the chocolate. You see, Beano works by making certain indigestible carbohydrates digestible, and this can increase the carb load of the food. If your problem is the vegetables, Beano should help, and while it will increase the carb value of the vegetables slightly, there's just not enough carbohydrate in there, even when broken down by Beano, to mess you up much. On the other hand, sugar free candy has a fair amount of polyols in it, and I've know people who started taking Beano to deal with the gas caused by sugar free candy, only to hit a serious plateau because of the new, hidden carbs.
If you determine that the problem is the chocolate, I'd either give up the chocolate candy (Oh, woe! Oh grief!), and start using a different treat - maybe Swiss Miss Diet Cocoa, which is the lowest carb commercial cocoa I've found, and no polyols - or I'd try switching brands of sugar free chocolate. Different manufacturers use different sorts of polyols - lactitol, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, whatever - and some people find that which polyol they eat makes a big difference in the level of gastrointestinal symptoms.
In general, folks, be aware that polyols, while useful for dealing with serious carb cravings, should not become a major component of your diet. Not only are there gastrointestinal (and social!) consequences, but they still can raise blood sugar a bit, depending on how good your individual body is at digesting that particular long-chain carbohydrate. Treats, not staples!
Surely the most popular breakfast in America must be cold cereal, and it's one of the foods that new low carbers often miss the most. Yet cold cereal is so highly processed that virtually all of it has a sky-high blood sugar impact, even when it's not heavily laced with sugar.
That's why I was so pleased to try the new Gram's Gourmet low carb granola - it helps fill a real hole in our diets, whether eaten as a breakfast or a snack. Gram's Gourmet granola actually is primarily made of nuts and seeds - almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans, flax seeds - which means it's very filling, and high in both protein and healthy fats. It has some whey protein in it, to improve the protein quality no doubt, and a bit of wheat bran, I'm guessing to provide a bit of grainy taste without a lot of carbs.
How is it? Very tasty indeed. It's not exactly like granola from grain, but it's very nice with a little cream or half and half, and a serving really sticks with you for quite a while - not surprising, given that a serving contains 10.4 grams of protein and just under 30 grams of fat. Also 10 grams of carb, but 5.7 of those are fiber, so we're talking just over 4 grams a serving; you really could eat this even on Induction - indeed, with so much fat, it should help induce or deepen ketosis.
Gram's Gourmet granola comes in two flavors, Vanilla Almond Crunch, and the new Maple, both of which are excellent. Both are sweetened only with sucralose - good news for those who are sensitive to aspartame. It also means no polyols, aka sugar alcohols - so no gas or laxative effect; feel free to eat this before an important morning meeting!
Currently, Gram's Gourmet is only available through their website, http://www.gramsgourmet.com , but should be handled by some of the lowcarb etailers soon. It runs $7.99 per 12 ounce bag, which ain't cheap, but then, the ingredients ain't cheap, either. Consider how much you were paying for puffed up wheat, rice, and corn - and the ill-health that came with them - when you were eating regular cold cereal, and $7.99 for something this healthy and filling actually sounds pretty reasonable.
If you miss cold cereal, check it out!
Cooking Low Carb!
Okay, I admit it - I've been so busy the past couple of weeks that I haven't cooked a lot that's new, and nothing I have tried has been worth repeating. So I don't have any new recipes to publish today.
However, I am immensely pleased to announce that my cookbook, 500 Low Carb Recipes, shipped from the publisher, Fair Winds Press, last week, and should be arriving at your local bookstores (assuming you're in the US and Canada) and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca any second now! Surely 500 recipes should hold you for a week or two, right? Because I'm going to be pretty darned busy for the next couple of months, what with publicity stuff and the holidays and all, and I may well be living on omelets and broiled steaks for the duration - yummy and healthy, but not exactly new.
With the holidays coming up, 500 Low Carb Recipes can help you in lots of ways!
* Make really, truly, low carb yeast bread for turkey stuffing - or just to eat toasted for breakfast.
* Choose from a slew of cookie recipes to keep you away from the Christmas cookies that will be on every side - Peanut Butter Cookies, Hazelnut Shortbread, Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Walnut Balls, and more!
* Learn dozens of new side dishes, from Turnips Au Gratin and Simple Sprouts to 'Baga Fries and Fauxtatoes Deluxe, to round out your holiday meals without rounding out your figure.
* Dazzle your friends with great low carb hors d'oeurves and other party snacks - and have something you can enjoy at every holiday party.
* Bake a sugar free Pumpkin Pie with a Praline Crust that none of your Thanksgiving guests will ever guess is low carb - and make a chocolate mint Grasshopper Cheesecake for a festive finish to your Christmas dinner.
* Plus, 500 Low Carb Recipes is the perfect gift for all the low carbers on your Christmas list!
Okay, I've blown my own horn enough. I promise I'll do my best to come up with at least a few new recipes between now and the New Year! I'm pretty sure I can decarb my mom's Chocolate Dips - my favorite-ever Christmas cookie...
That's it for this issue! See you next issue!
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