Lowcarbezine! 11 December 2002

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Hey, Gang -

Didn't I say these weekly holiday season issues were going to be short issues? WAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! This is not a short issue. Guess I got caught up, you know?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

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.

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The Annual Low Carb Booze Article

Long time readers can skip this, since I do it every year. But those of you who are relatively new to low carbing can probably use a little help at this party time of year! Here is a quick map through the adult beverage minefield:

* I only know of a few beers that really fit into a low carb diet. One is the new Michelob Ultra, with something like 2.8 grams per 12 ounce bottle, but personally, I prefer Miller Lite, which is only 0.5 grams more. If you're on a budget, Milwaukee's Best Light has the same carb count as Miller Lite, and is much cheaper. I suspect that they're the same stuff in different cans - Milwaukee's Best is made by Miller, and they sure taste the same. The best tasting low carb beer, for my money, is Amstel Light, at 5 grams per bottle. All the rest that I'm aware of are higher, so I stick to these, with Amstel my choice for parties.

* All really dry wines will fit into a low carb diet - burgundy, merlot, chianti, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, chablis, rhine, etc, all run roughly 3 grams per 5 ounce glass. If you want a more exact count, you might call the vineyard - I've done this in the past, and they've always been very nice. I just explained that I had a medical condition that required me to strictly limit my carb intake.

* Sweet wines, however, are right out. If you're not sure if a wine is sweet or dry, ask the wine guy at a good liquor store - many of these folks are quite knowledgeable. Another pitfall to avoid is wines that don't have a particular varietal name - stuff like "Chillable Red" or "table wine". If you read the label, this sort of thing often says "flavor added" - and guess which flavor is the most likely candidate? That's right, sugar. And avoid all blatantly flavored, sweetened stuff, like Arbor Mist.

* Wine coolers aren't as popular as they once were, but they're still out there - and they're still loaded with sugar. If you're a wine cooler fan, simply fill a glass with ice, pour in a few ounces of wine, and fill the glass with diet lemon-lime soda. You could experiment with other fruit flavored diet sodas, too!

* I've long ago gotten to the point where all soda tastes way too sweet to me. I like wine spritzers - a few ounces of dry red wine mixed with berry flavored (but unsweetened) sparkling water. This is my favorite drink when I want something I can sip on all evening without getting tanked.

* Drinking champagne? You need to know that champagne that is labeled "dry" is actually sweet! Even "extra dry" has too much sugar for us. The driest - and therefore lowest carb - champagne is labeled "brut" or even "extra brut". (Hmm. "Extra brut"! Sounds like The Incredible Hulk...)

* All alcopops - hard lemonade, Bacardi Breezers, Smirnoff Ice, Zima, that stuff - are full of sugar. Often, they also have beer in them - and not light beer, either. In other words, they're chock-full of carbs. After all, the whole point of these beverages is to appeal to soda-drinking kids. If you're an alcopop fan, try mixing diet soda or Crystal Light - or both - with the hard liquor of your choice.

* Speaking of hard liquor, they're all carb-free - gin, vodka, bourbon, rum, scotch, tequila (my favorite!), or what have you. It's the mixers you have to look out for! Sour mix, margarita mix, daiquiri mix, tonic water, orange juice, Rose's Lime Juice - they're all high in sugar. Rum and diet cola will work, as will gin and diet tonic. If you like bloody marys, tomato juice has about 4 grams in four ounces - just passable, but go easy. (Always good advice when drinking anyway!)

* Cordials and liqueurs are virtually all high in sugar. Steer clear of Kahlua, Bailey's Irish Cream, Midori, Creme de Menthe, Creme de Cacao, etc, etc, etc, and all the drinks made with them.

* Be wary of anything with a catchy, cutesy name - Hot Damn!, Puckers, Buttershots, all that stuff. These things are usually sweetened.

* It's interesting to note that The Nutribase Complete Book of Food Counts shows many drinks as having far fewer carbs if mixed "from recipe" than if made from a commercial mix. If you're a fan of mixed drinks, it could be worth your while to buy a good bartender's guide, and mix your own. Then you can substitute Splenda for the sugar, too.

* Remember: Even low carb alcohol will drastically lower your metabolism, and make it far harder for you to burn fat. While it is not a carb, technically, it is chemically quite close, and is metabolized in a similar fashion. If you're living it up over the holidays, and your weight loss slows or stops, alcohol is a very likely culprit.

* Alcohol also tends to disinhibit us (says one who knows from experience!) That may make you more vulnerable to the high carb munchies at the party. Have a good dose of protein before you go (this will also help keep you from getting squiffed too easily), take along something low carb, like stuffed eggs, hot wings, or a cheese platter, fill a plate, and walk away from the food. Be careful not to park yourself next to the chips or the crackers!

* As always, drink responsibly - and don't drive!

Have fun!!

Reader Review of 500 Low-Carb Recipes

The BEST Low-Carb Cookbook Out There!

I NEVER write reviews, but I had to with this book! The recipes are easy to follow, use ingredients that are easy to find, and, on top of all that, the food is absolutely delicious! We prepared our Thanksgiving dinner out of this cookbook! Everything from "fake mashed potatoes" to desserts..... This book is great!

A reader from Newark, NY USA

Thanks, anonymous reader! Check out this and other reviews of 500 Low Carb Recipes at Amazon.com or Amazon Canada.

What I Want For Christmas!

I want liquid Splenda!

For those of you who missed my earlier discussions of this issue, there is such a thing as liquid Splenda - among other things, it's what is used in Splenda/sucralose sweetened soda. And unlike the powdered Splenda, liquid Splenda has no carbs. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

You see, pure sucralose is seriously sweet, so much so that in order to make the stuff measure like sugar, they've bulked it a lot. And they've bulked it with malto-dextrin, which is not only a carb, but a high impact refined carb. When you buy a box of Splenda, most of what you're buying is malto-dextrin.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't use Splenda. It does have carbs, but it has only 1/8th of the carbs that sugar does, which is a huge improvement. And there's no question that Splenda tastes better than any other artificial sweetener on the market.

But liquid Splenda would let us cut massive whacks of carbs off of all of our favorite sugar-free dessert recipes - 24 grams for every cup of granular Splenda we replace! That, my friends, is a consequence devoutly to be wished.

This wonderful substance is apparently available in other countries, but for some reason which defies my powers of logic, McNeil Nutritionals has decided not to release liquid Splenda in the US. (Actually, I have some conjectures as to why they don't release it. Either they think it would be too difficult for people to use, because it is so very sweet - hey, I'm up to the challenge! - or they're afraid it wouldn't be profitable, because it's so sweet that we wouldn't use it up and buy more quickly enough.)

We need liquid Splenda!! So every now and then, I urge my readers to contact McNeil, and tell them that we just love regular Splenda, but we can't use as much as we'd like, because of all those carbs, and to please, please, pretty-pretty-please give us the liquid stuff!

So, if you'd like to tell McNeil that you want liquid, carb-free Splenda, here are their address, their phone number, and a link to their online email form!

McNeil Consumer Healthcare

Attn: Splenda

7050 Camp Hill Road

Fort Washington, Pa 19034



Book Review

It would be nice if I could tell you that mine is the only low carb cookbook worth buying. It would be nice - but it would be a big fat lie! There are several good low carb cookbooks out there, and I just found a really wonderful one in my mailbox.

I've already reviewed Jennifer Eloff's Splendid Low Carbing - I think it's terrific - so it's not a big surprise that I'm also giving a great review to More Splendid Low Carbing, Jen's new cookbook. To me, one of the marks of a great cookbook is when I flip through it, looking at recipes and thinking, "Darn! I wish I'd thought of that!" More Splendid Low Carbing is full of things like that. From some great beverage ideas - Ginger Beer! Cranberry Iced Tea! Lemonade Concentrate!, and some neat breakfasts - Mock Danish! Breakfast Burritos! through some killer entrees - Balihai Chicken, curried, with coconut milk, and a hazelnut crust! Salmon with Fruit Salsa! More Splendid Low Carbing is full of ideas I wish I'd had. Higher praise I cannot give.

This is a particularly good book for those who are on Induction, or who have to maintain Induction levels of carb intake - 20 g. or less per day - to keep losing or keep weight off. Every single recipe is below 10 g. of carb, and half are below 3 g. - a truly remarkable feat. Further, it offers some very useful info on the Fat Fast (a great way of jumpstarting ketosis, or knocking off a few pounds fast, or losing that impossible-to-shake final fifteen pounds), including Fat Fast menus.

All in all, Splendid Low Carbing is a terrific addition to every low carb cookbook library. You'll only find it at Jen's website, http://www.sweety.com . Go take a look!

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

This may be the best on low-carb eating

I have read them all! I have read Atkins, Protein Power, Carbohydrate Addicts, and Sugar Busters. This may be the best one of all. Dana writes intelligently but in a friendly style. I found it to be very informative and inspiring. I thought her comparison of the various diets very helpful and really appreciated the section on the benefits of ketosis. I think if you read this along with Life Without Bread you will have pretty well covered the subject of why low-carbohydrate eating is definitely the best choice for weight management and over all health. Dana sounds like the kind of person I would like to get to know personally. I highly recommend this book! Good luck and "hold the toast".

A reader from Austin, TX USA

Hey, thanks, Tex! Glad you like it. See this and other reviews of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds at Amazon.com, And in Canada: Amazon.Ca

By the way, I also would recommend Life Without Bread - it's by Dr. Wolfgang Lutz, a physician who has been using carb restriction in treating his patients for decades now.

In particular, Life Without Bread is a great book to show your doctor if he or she is skeptical of your low carb diet. Doctors tend to respect other doctors more than lay people, you know?

Stop Wracking Your Brain For That Perfect Low Carb Gift!

We have a great selection of gift baskets perfect for every low carber on your list - or maybe even for you! Sweetheart baskets, Low Carb Baker's Baskets, Holiday Baskets - you name it!

Plus our usual great selection of low carb products - don't forget that sugar free candy for the stockings! - all at a discount! Plus, through December 13th, FREE SHIPPING by UPS Ground on all orders over $75!

Check out our articles, recipes, and newsletter, too! And, we have Dana Carpender's 500 Low-Carb Recipes and How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!

If you're Low Carb and Smart, you'll shop Carb Smart! http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html

Another Book Review

Okay, it's true, I admit it - I'm trying to get these reviews in before Christmas, because cookbooks make such great gifts.

My pal Diana Lee swears to me that she cannot cook. I find this hilarious, because Di has now written three cookbooks, and I have them all, and recommend them all. Here's the catch: Di does specialty cookbooks. Her first two books, Baking Low Carb and Bread and Breakfast: Baking Low Carb II, are the only books I know that are completely dedicated to low carb baking - cookies, breads, muffins, you name it.

Now we have Low Carb Ice Cream, Drinks, Desserts: Baking Low Carb III. This is not a book that will show you how to cook a low carb dinner, but if you want to make your own sugar (and polyol) free ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sherbet, in a dizzying array of flavors - Amaretto Peach, Banana Cream, Butterscotch, Cheesecake, Chocolate Mint, Eggnog, Grasshopper, Lemon, Peanut Butter Dough, and lots more - this is your book.

Too, you'll find recipes for frozen drinks like Strawberry Daiquiris, Brandy Alexanders, and Pina Coladas, not to mention an array of shakes.

If you own an ice cream freezer (or even if you don't - put one on your Christmas list!), this book is for you.

A Dysfunctional Family Christmas...


A Special Note To Those Whose Families Are Not So Idyllic

This is a reprint of an article from the very first year of Lowcarbezine! Sadly, it's as timely as it ever was.

While most of us (gosh, I hope it's most of us!) will be spending time with people we love and enjoy this holiday season, I am sadly aware that there are more than a few people whose families are more like armed camps, with nasty little arrows being fired back and forth, or even big,

ugly bombs being dropped. If you are from such a family (and you're not in there being ugly with the worst of them), you have my profound sympathy.

One possibility is simply not to see them. Yes, you are permitted to do this, even at Christmas. You are not required by law, morality, or anything else to put up with people who deliberately try to make you unhappy. I know that we all hope for reconciliation, especially at this time of year, and sometimes it works. But I also know several folks I'm fond of who have had relatives that they have simply had to drop, for their own sanity, and for whom this was a hard, but very good, decision.

If it's someone you feel your kids need to see -- your parents (their grandparents), your ex-spouse -- drop the kids off and pick them up later. Feel you need an excuse? Volunteer at the local soup kitchen or charity organization; they can use all the hands they can get this time of year. How can anyone give you a hard time for delivering Christmas dinner to shut-ins, without sounding like an ass?

Maybe there's just one or two family members who have to stick pins -- a sibling, a cousin, whatever. Memorize this handy-dandy all-purpose comeback: "How very kind of you to say so." Got it? Not, "You jerk, how can you be so mean?" or "Yeah, well screw you too." No. "How very kind of you to say so." As in:

"Gee, you've gained so much weight!" (Little do they know you've take off ten pounds in the last two weeks.)

"How very kind of you to say so!"

"Lost a lot of hair, haven't you?"

"How very kind of you to say so!"

"If you were worth anything, you'd have a better job by now."

"How very kind of you to say so!"

"I can't believe that wife of yours is such a lousy housekeeper."

"How very kind of you to say so!"

Isn't this fun?! You'll drive them absolutely nuts , while retaining the moral high ground, and looking like a class act to everyone else a the gathering.

Acceptable variations are, "How nice of you to notice!" or -- given the season and all -- "And a very Happy Christmas to you too!" This last is useful for loaded questions, where "How very kind of you to say so" won't quite fit. For instance, "Is that good-for-nothing dead beat

husband of yours ever going to amount to anything?" "And a very Happy Christmas to you too!"

(If you're wondering why "Happy", not "Merry", it's because I learned this useful phrase from a British man I dated years ago. I rather like the English phrasing, but feel free to use "Merry" instead.)

Hope this helps. Next year, consider spending Christmas with FRIENDS!

An Unbelievably Wonderful Success Story!!

Hi Dana,

I just wanted to write to tell you how much I enjoy receiving Lowcarbezine, and particularly your thought-provoking, intelligent columns. I am yet another happy lowcarbing "Atkid" who celebrated her One Year Atkinsversary on September 29, 2001. This week, I reached a very memorable milestone--over 100 pounds lost so far on my journey to better health. I still have about 70 to lose, but I have never been so certain that I will indeed reach my goal and make this my way of life forever.

I won't bore you with all the many times I've tried and failed to lose weight through just about every diet program or plan you've ever heard of plus a few more. Years ago, I actually allowed an acupuncturist to put a staple in my ear as a way to suppress appetite. That was one of my more desperate tries. Didn't work, and of course I had to pay to have it removed--got my $$$ coming and going. After so many failures and at the age of 52, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would never experience being a "normal-sized" person and had given up trying. I tossed out my scales and ate the way I perceived "normal-sized" people ate, determined to enjoy life (read food) and fate be damned. That could have been the sad and final chapter to the Reader's Digest Condensed version of how I came to weigh 310 pounds.

Having remarried about four years ago, my new hubby and I moved to the country and bought a nice roomy home on some acreage. The property came with the bonus of a lovely barn, and having been a city girl with dreams of owning her own horse all my life, the thought was that perhaps we could get one. Indeed, my husband encouraged me to buy one, but I resisted. I was too old. I hadn't ridden in over twenty-five years. I was inexperienced in the day-to-day care of a horse. All excuses. Of course, the real reason was that there was no way I would or could even think about getting on a horse at my weight.

Early last year, our neighbors visited us asking if their daughter could use our barn if she got a horse. Nice neighbors--we said "sure!" But I had not anticipated the effect it would have on me until the next week when I walked up to the barn, huffing and puffing I might add, and saw that big beautiful black horse in my barn. I stood there all alone realizing that here I was in the perfect situation to make a lifetime dream come true and just wept. There was a horse in my barn, but he wasn't mine! It was my epiphany.

A month or so before, I'd heard from an old on-line acquaintance who had lost 80 pounds on the Atkins plan. I remember I warned him of the health hazards of dangerous lowcarb diets and to be careful. The memory of that conversation prompted me to get on-line and do some research.

The more I read, the more convinced I became that this was the way. All the websites with before and after photographs added fuel to my resolve and I began the induction phase of the Atkins plan on September 29, 2000 weighing in at 310 pounds. I found a terrific support bulletin board, www.atkinsfriends.com and hunkered down.

To my amazement it was incredibly easy! Delicious food, greatly diminished cravings, loss of achy knees and hip joints, and more energy than I had experienced in years. I'd lost 18 pounds at the end of my third week and never looked back. In October of 2000, my daughter's mother-in-law phoned to tell me she had received a promotion and was unable to devote enough attention to both of her horses. She had decided to keep one and find a home for the other and was looking for someone who would love and care for him because he was like a member of the family. In short, she was offering to give me this beautiful chestnut-colored, pedigreed Arabian gelding named Cinnabar. My husband and I borrowed a truck, rented a horse trailer and drove 5 hours to pick him up and carry him home. I spent the next few months petting, feeding and grooming him. I learned all about cleaning his feet, hauling hay and shovelling manure, all the while continuing on my lowcarb eating plan. Finally, in February I felt comfortable enough to try riding him. That day that will be etched in my memory and in my heart forever. I rode him! Had to use a stepladder to mount him, but hey--I did it!

Now I'm riding 3 or 4 times a week and loving it and still losing weight. My doctor (with AHA recommended diet charts on the walls of every single examining room) was skeptical at first, but my blood panels, which continue to improve every single time I am tested, have finally convinced him. I love reminding him of how "unhealthy" lowcarb diets are when he marvels at my cholesterol levels, my improved blood pressure and weight loss.

The final chapter of my story is yet to be written, but it will have a joyful ending. I've haven't been this happy or felt this well in decades. My family is grateful that I will be around for many more years than I would have at the weight I was a year ago. Best of all, I'll be riding my beautiful Cinnabar and pondering what other dreams I can make come true.

Kathlene Clark

310/207/145? 8/29/00 - 10/17/01

Kathlene actually sent me this story over a year ago, and I loved it then - but I get SO much email (well over 200 messages a day, although not all from readers, of course!), I sort of lost track of it. However - never doubt it - I never delete the stories readers send me! Which is why my inbox got up to 2800 messages, and crashed my Netscape earlier this week. I was going through all of that back email, putting it in folders, and I reread this wonderful story - and just knew that it was long overdue for publication!

Kathlene, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for this beautiful success story. My most heartfelt congratulations! And may you and Cinnabar ride many, many happy trails together!

Cooking Low Carb!

Here is a basic recipe with two variations, both equally wonderful - and equally quick and easy!

Chili Lime Pork Strips

1 pound boneless pork loin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon lime juice (lemon will do, but lime is more authentically South of the Border)

Slice the pork as thin as you can, into strips - it's easier to do this if it's half frozen. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat, then add a few tablespoons of oil, and then the pork strips. Stir fry quickly until all the pink is gone. Sprinkle the chili powder over the meat, and stir it in, then stir in the lime juice. Cook for another minute or so, and your pork strips are done. 4 servings, each with 1 gram of carb, a trace of fiber, and 23 grams of protein.

Now you have to decide what you want to do with your yummy pork strips! Here are two great ideas:

Chili Lime Pork Omelet

This makes a single serving omelet, but you can make at least four or five omelets from a single batch of Chili Lime Pork Strips.

2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
about 1/4 recipe Chili Lime Pork Strips (if you're using leftovers, warm them briefly in the microwave)
1/4 avocado, sliced

Heat a 7" skillet with sloping sides over high heat. When it's hot enough that a drop of water sizzles, remove from the burner, spray with non-stick spray, and return to the burner. Put in a tablespoon or so of oil, slosh it about, then pour in the eggs. They should sizzle and start to set immediately. Using a spatula, lift the edges of the setting eggs, tipping the pan so that the raw egg runs underneath. Do this all around the edges until there's not enough egg to run. Turn the burner to low.

Now, sprinkle the cheese over half the omelet, and top with the pork strips and the slices of avocado. Cover the pan, and let the omelet cook for two to three minutes. When the cheese is melted, slip a spatula under the unfilled side of the omelet, fold it over, and lift the omelet onto the serving plate. One serving, with 6 grams of carb, 2 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 4 grams - and actually less, if you use one of the black California avocados, which are the lowest carb variety. 42 grams protein - filling! Serve with sour cream and salsa, if desired.

Chili Lime Pork Salad

I think main dish salads are one of the best ways for low carbers to eat! This one is both delicious, and quite pretty.

1 head romaine lettuce, washed and broken up (use bagged salad to save time if you like.)
1 black avocado, sliced
1 batch Chili Lime Pork Strips
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 tablespoons ranch dressing
4 tablespoons sour cream
4 tablespoons salsa

Divide the lettuce between four serving plates. Top with avocado slices, then put pork strips on top of the avocado. Top the pork with the cheese. Arrange slices of cucumber around the edge of each plate, and sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of cilantro over each serving. Now, drizzle a tablespoon of ranch dressing artistically over each salad, and top each with a tablespoon of sour cream and salsa. 13 grams of carb, 6 of which are fiber, for a usable carb count of 7 grams. 37 grams of protein.

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: htt021211@holdthetoast.com (Message and subject can be blank.)