Lowcarbezine! 20 November 2002

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Hey, Gang -

Did you hear the news? Didja? Didja? The Atkins Diet kicked low fat butt in the Duke University study, presented at the American Heart Association conference this week. Read all about it below! Plus, as promised, Espresso Chocolate Chip Brownies! (And I'm working on more cookies - Christmas is coming, you know.)

I do plan to get out an issue next week, too, before I leave for the holiday, but it may consist solely of recipes for leftover turkey - we'll see what I can get done before hitting the road.

In the meanwhile, read on!


All contents © Copyright 2002 Hold the Toast Press. All commercial reproduction is expressly prohibited. If you think your friends will enjoy Lowcarbezine!, please forward them the WHOLE ISSUE. Please, do not post articles or recipes elsewhere on the internet without permission. My attorney tells me that I'll have to come scold you and tell you to cut it out if you do.

A lot of people have inquired about advertising. Advertising inquiries may be directed to advertising@holdthetoast.com

More Thanksgiving Survival Strategies

Last issue we talked about decarbing your Thanksgiving Dinner. However, not all of you are going to do this. Maybe you're eating at someone else's house. Maybe you're entertaining a big crowd of family and friends who would be put out by anything but the traditional high carb menu. Or maybe you've simply decided, "The heck with it! I'm having an Indulgence*, and hang the consequences!"

Whichever it is, you still need strategies to help you get through with minimum damage. Here are some ideas for making it through with the least possible added poundage:

* I have long preferred the terms "Indulgence" and "Indulge" to "cheating". "Cheating" implies that you can get away with something, which of course you never do. "Indulgence" implies that you know exactly what you're doing and why - and are doing it rationally, and are still in control.

Reader Review of 500 Low-Carb Recipes

The best low-carb cookbook!!!,

I own several low-carb cookbooks and this is the first one that has actually made the lifestyle liveable for me. I've made recipes from it nearly every day since I got it and so far I've loved everything I've made. The sunflower-parmesan crackers are the best! And there are still so many I want to make. I love this cookbook!

A reader from Texas

Well, thanks, Tex! Wish I knew your name! (And the crackers really are good, aren't they? Next try the Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies!)

See this and other reviews of 500 Low Carb Recipes at Amazon.com

To order 500 Low-Carb Recipes from Amazon Canada, visit:

Gloating Time!

Okay, everybody join in: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Yep, here at Hold the Toast Press, we're doing the happy dance in a truly insufferable way. And why not? Just yesterday, the news hit the major media that Duke University's ongoing study of the Atkins diet shows that not only does the diet cause weight loss, but it causes more weight loss than a low fat diet, people are more likely to stay on it, and causes a greater improvement in blood work, to boot. Surely you and I are allowed at least one tiny, "Told you so!"

The study, conducted by Dr. Eric Westman, an internist at Duke's diet and fitness center, was presented to the American Heart Association, long a major proponent of low fat diets, at their annual scientific meeting on Monday. Boy, wouldn't you like to have been a fly on the wall?!

The Duke study involved 120 overweight volunteers, who were randomly assigned to either the low fat "Step 1" diet recommended by the American Heart Association, or to the Induction level of the Atkins Diet - no more than 20 grams of carbohydrate a day, and a level of fat consumption that Westman called "off the scale." What happened?

After 6 months, the Atkins group had lost an average of 31 pounds apiece, compared to an average 20 pound loss on the AHA diet. More people had actually stuck with their Atkins program, too - fully 80% stayed with the diet, a remarkable figure. So much for claims that the diet won't work because "It's just so hard to stick to."

But the biggest surprise came with the blood work. Total cholesterol fell slightly in both groups. But only those on the Atkins diet had an increase in the HDL "good" cholesterol - an average 11% increase. Not only is this good in itself, but coupled with the lower total cholesterol, must mean that there was a greater decrease in LDL "bad" cholesterol in the Atkins dieters as well. The folks on the AHA diet had no increase in HDL - and therefore, theoretically, their risk of heart disease did not decline as much as the Atkins dieters'.

Carbohydrates have been known to be the primary cause of high triglycerides for quite a while now - which could explain why the Atkins dieters had an average 49% drop in triglycerides, while the low fat dieters had only a 22% drop.

Seems that everything that Bob Atkins and the rest of us low carb proponents have been saying is true. Finally, the National Institutes of Health are launching a study that will last a year, and involve 360 volunteers. We await the results with interest - and wonder just how many studies it will take for the Low Fat Faithful to get it, and admit they were wrong about low carbohydrate diets.

Apparently, that hasn't happened yet. I switched on the TV while fixing dinner last night, and flipped around the channels, hoping for some commentary. I found it on MSNBC's "Nachman"- a spokesman for the Atkins Center and a traditional dietician were on, along with the host, Jerry Nachman, editor-in-chief of MSNBC. (Just to make things more interesting, Jerry Nachman himself has been on the Atkins diet for a week or two, and has lost 8 pounds.) The dietician remained unconvinced, saying that a low carb diet was still bad and evil and dangerous, etc, etc, etc. Why?

First of all, she said, any diet that causes weight loss will lower cholesterol. Well, yes, but as the Duke study demonstrated, not just any diet will cause an increase in heart healthy HDL, and only a low carb diet causes the greatest decrease in triglycerides.

Oh, and a low carb diet is bad because after all, it cuts out vegetables! Vegetables have carbohydrates, and that means that low carbers aren't going to eat any vegetables, and they won't get the vitamins and minerals they need. Don't you wish these people would actually read the stuff that they're railing against? The gentleman from the Atkins center explained that yes, low carbers eat vegetables, blah-blah-blah - basic stuff that every low carber knows.

I wish he'd added two more points - one, that even on Induction, the very strictest phase of the diet, the Atkins diet calls for two cups of vegetables a day, or four servings. This is more than the average American is eating. Furthermore, the Induction phase is not the whole diet, and certainly not the life-long maintenance program. Low carbers generally end up eating far more vegetables than they used to. After all, who else is replacing mashed potatoes with pureed cauliflower? Who else is using spaghetti squash in place of spaghetti? Who else is ordering the insides of sandwiches on a bed of lettuce? Who else is saying, "Can I get an extra salad in place of the potato, please?"

The dietician's final, withering attack on low carb diets was that, since low carbers don't drink milk - true, for the most part - we can't possibly get enough calcium without supplements. The response to this is two fold.

First of all, the vast majority of Americans, low fat, low carb, carnivore, vegetarian, or just not paying attention - aren't getting enough calcium. And drinking milk is no big protection. Why? Because it takes a quart of milk a day to get enough calcium, that's why. You need 1200 - 1500 mgs of calcium every single day, and an 8 ounce glass of milk has just 301 mgs.

Very few people are drinking a quart of milk a day. Yet drinking some milk tends to make people feel that they must be getting enough calcium - I've had folks tell me that they're getting enough, because they drink a big glass of milk every other day or so. This sort of false sense of security is downright dangerous.

(Parenthetically, I'd like to note that milk has not, historically, been the best source of calcium in the human diet. The two best sources have been bones, and hard water. Indeed, living in an area where the water is high in calcium and magnesium can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. And if you cook meat with bones in an acidic medium - tomatoes, vinegar, wine, or whatever - you'll end up with a calcium-rich dish.)

Also, milk is about the only calcium-rich food that low carbers aren't eating. Many low carbers have rediscovered the joys of cheese, after shunning it for its fat content for years. One ounce of Cheddar cheese supplies 204 mgs of calcium, and 1 ounce of Monterey Jack supplies 217 mgs. Indeed, all cheese is a good source of calcium - after all, it's made from milk. Since The GO-Diet taught us that the carb count in plain yogurt is lower than we thought, many of us eat yogurt, as well - and 1 cup of low fat yogurt supplies 448 mgs of calcium. The heavy cream that we use without fear gives us 10 mgs of calcium per tablespoon.

Nuts and seeds, another food re-embraced by low carb dieters after banishment from their previous low fat diets, are a not-insignificant source of calcium. Almonds are especially good, with 75 mgs. per ounce. Too, many of the green, leafy vegetables we eat have meaningful amounts of calcium - collards, by the way, are the calcium champs of the vegetable kingdom, with 179 mgs in just 1/2 cup of cooked, frozen chopped collard greens, so if you're fond of them, chow down! For comparison, the potatoes we shun contribute only 8 mgs of calcium apiece.

Even some of those "evil" animal protein foods we so shamelessly feast upon are pretty good sources of calcium, especially the fish and seafoods - 3 ounces of shrimp contribute 44 mgs of calcium, and 3 ounces of lobster will give you 52 mgs. Among the best sources are canned salmon and sardines, for the simple reason that you consume the bones. 3 ounces of canned salmon, eaten with the bones, will give you 181 mgs. of calcium of the most bioavailable kind, and just two canned sardines will supply 92 mgs. If you like these fish, use them often!

Clearly, we can get plenty of calcium on our low carb diets - and yet, most of us don't want to do the work of planning our diets to give us enough calcium every day - and that goes for people eating low fat diets, too. Since calcium is the most important mineral in the human diet - you have more calcium in your body than all the other minerals combined, and it participates in a vast array of chemical processes, along with making up the bulk of your bones and teeth - supplements just make sense.

So much for the "a low carb diet is bad because it doesn't have enough calcium" argument.

What we're left with, it appears, is "A low carb diet is bad because it's not a low fat diet with lots of grains and beans, and we know that's the real healthy diet - don't confuse us with facts." Hardly a compelling argument.

I will wait with interest for the results of the NIH study - and confidently predict that A) it will again show that low carb diets work as advertised, and B) that the Low Fat Faithful will remain unconvinced.

Their loss.

(Related note: During this discussion, the dietician asserted first that there were "thousands", and then corrected it to "hundreds" of studies showing that diets high in carbohydrate are healthy. I'd really love to know where she was finding them. A good 6 years ago, when I took Argumentation and Debate at Indiana University - just around the corner - I used low carbohydrate diets for my scientific argument project. I was required to argue both sides of the question, and accordingly spent 3 or 4 hours in the Medline database, running every search I could think of - "carbohydrate AND hypertension", "carbohydrate AND cholesterol", "carbohydrate AND atherosclerosis", etc, etc, etc. I found nothing to back up the claim that 6 - 11 servings of grains a day - as recommended by the USDA Food Pyramid - improved any health condition. I did find a few studies that showed that if you're going to eat a ton of carbs, it may be best to restrict fats, but that's about as close as I came to finding support for the low fat/high carb diet.)

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

There is Hope

Dana gives hope to those of us who have tried just about EVERY diet! I have bought many of the "locarb" diet books and hers is by far the best. It's easy to read, VERY informative, and motivating.

Thanks Dana!

Mrs. Gerri Michaels, Dallas, OR

Thank you, Gerri!!

See this, and other reader reviews of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds at Amazon.com

And in Canada: Amazon.Ca

More Christmas Presents for Low Carbers

Have you ever wondered who all those infomercials are aimed at? Apparently you haven't noticed the target tattooed on my forehead. I own at least 8 or 9 infomercial products, and I'm pleased to say that the majority of them perform exactly as advertised. In particular, I have a few fitness infomercial products that I really like. So if you have a low carber on your Christmas list who is always looking for a new way to shape up - or if you're a low carber who wants to shape up - you might consider these:

More gift ideas next issue!

Get Your Low Carb Thanksgiving Gift Basket Here!

Ward off the leftover pumpkin pie with the low carb treats in our Thanksgiving gift basket - or get a jump on your Christmas shopping with our wide selection of other low carb gift baskets!

While you're at the site, check out our huge selection of low carb candy, bake mix, chips, pasta, books, supplements and more - ALL AT A DISCOUNT!

Plus our own newsletter, success stories, recipes - and Dana's How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!

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


Cooking Low Carb!

Here, as promised, is the recipe for Espresso Chocolate Chip Brownies! A friend posted the original, definitely not low carb recipe to a newsgroup I frequent (Thanks, Robin!), and I couldn't resist the challenge. They're wonderful!

Espresso Chocolate Chip Brownies

1 cup Splenda

1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder

1/4 cup almond meal


a scant 1/4 cup shelled almonds

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals - regular or decaf, as you prefer

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

2 large eggs

1/4 cup water

6 ounces sugar free chocolate chips


3 - 4 sugar free dark chocolate bars, chopped to chocolate chip size in the food processor

Preheat oven to 350

Put Splenda, vanilla whey protein, almond meal or almonds, cocoa, instant coffee crystals, and salt in a food processor with the S-blade in place. Pulse to combine, and if using whole almonds, continue until they're ground fine. Add the butter, and pulse until the butter is "cut in" - well combined with the dry ingredients. Turn out into a bowl. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating well with a whisk after each. Then beat in the water. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate bars. Spray an 8x8" square pan with non-stick cooking spray, and spread batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes - do not overbake! Cool, and cut into squares.

I made 25 small brownies from this - I like to have the option of having a little something, and if I want more, I can always have two. If you do, indeed, make 25, each brownie will have 3 grams of carbohydrate, and 1 gram of fiber, for a usable carb count of 2 grams. Also 3 grams of protein.

If you prefer, you can make 16 bigger brownies, at 4 grams of carb each, and 1 gram of fiber, for a usable carb count of 3 grams, with 4 grams of protein.

These carb counts do not include the polyols in the sugar free chocolate.

Last week I suggested Green Beans Almondine instead of the green bean casserole that appears at so many Thanksgiving Dinners - and is so full of carbs. Personally, I like Green Beans Almondine better, anyway. But for you Green Bean Casserole diehards - and I know that there are more than a few of you out there! - here's the new, decarbed version!

DeCarbed Green Bean Casserole

1 medium onion

1/4 cup low carb bake mix or rice protein powder

1/4 teaspoon salt or Vege-Sal

1/4 teaspoon paprika

oil for frying

4 cups frozen green beans, cut style

4 ounce can mushrooms

2 tablespoons minced onion

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon chicken or beef bouillon concentrate

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon guar or xanthan gum

Slice the onion thin, and separate into rings. Mix together the bake mix or protein powder, salt or Vege-Sal, and paprika. "Flour" the onion rings - the easiest way is to put the "flouring" mixture in a small paper sack, and shake a few onion rings at a time. Heat about 1/4" of oil in a heavy skillet, over medium heat, and fry the "floured" onion rings, turning once, until golden brown and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper. You can do this part well in advance, if you like.

When you're ready to make your casserole, start your green beans cooking - I like to microwave mine on high for about 7 - 8 minutes, but you can steam them if you prefer. While that's happening, drain the liquid off the mushrooms, and reserve it. Saute the mushrooms and the minced onion in the butter until the onion is limp and translucent. Now add the cream, the reserved mushroom liquid, the Worcestershire sauce, the bouillon concentrate, and the soy sauce, and stir, then salt and pepper to taste.

Now you have a choice - you can either pour this mixture into a blender, or use a hand blender. Either way, sprinkle the guar or xanthan over the top, and run the blender just long enough to blend in the thickener, and to chop the mushrooms a bit - but not to totally puree them, you want some bits of mushroom.

Okay, we're on the home stretch. Drain your cooked green beans, and put them in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish that you've sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Stir in the mushroom mixture and half of those fried onions. Bake it in a 350 oven for 25-30 minutes, then top it with the rest of the fried onions, and bake for another 5 minutes. 6 servings, each with 11 grams carbohydrate and 4 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 7 grams. 6 grams protein. For the record, this comes to just over half of the carb content of the original recipe - and just about the same calorie count.

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


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To request a full-text version of this issue by e-mail, just send a message to: htt021120@holdthetoast.com (Message and subject can be blank.)