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Hey, Gang -
Here you go! I'm going to try to have another issue out in two weeks, but I'll be going to Chicago to be on the WGN Morning News on Friday, February 7th. In between now and then, I have to turn in the manuscript for the revised, expanded edition of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds! So I'm not promising...
Anyway, I understand that WGN is carried by cable providers all over the US, so if you get the station, you might tune in on the 7th! I'll be on around 8:40 am, Central Time.
In the meanwhile, hope you like the 'zine! Do try this week's recipe - it's more flavor for less work than most anything I've done recently.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Since Lowcarbezine! has so many new subscribers recently, we're repeating some of the Frequently Asked Questions columns from our first year of publication. Hope they help all you newbies!
Is a low carb diet for everyone?
I don't know of anything that is for everyone! Heck, back in Junior High School (approximately a million years ago) I babysat for a little boy who was allergic to his mother's milk, for goodness sake. If mother's milk isn't good for everyone, I can't imagine that there's anything on the planet - with the possible exceptions of water and air - that is.
A low carb diet is likely to be very, very good for you if:
* You carry your fat disproportionately on your abdomen
* You are hungry within 60 - 90 minutes of eating carbs
* You have serious energy slumps - especially slumps that happen at a predictable time every day
* You have a family or personal history of the diseases which are being increasingly linked to high blood insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia) and carb intolerance - high blood pressure, high blood fats, female cancers, poly cystic ovarian syndrome, alcoholism, and the granddaddy of all carb intolerance diseases, adult onset diabetes
* You find yourself craving carb foods, and eating them in an uncontrollable, addicted fashion
If none of these apply to you, a strict low carb diet (the Basic Low Carb diet, as outline in my book, or as exemplified by Atkins or Protein Power) is probably not for you. You'd do better to do a combination of calorie/portion carb control, like the Careful Carb Diet in my book, or the old, original Weight Watchers Program. (Does anyone but me remember the original WW program? Plenty of protein, but only 2 slices of bread a day, and veggies divided into #3 and #4 -- the #3s were the low carb veggies, and were unlimited, while the #4s were things like peas, carrots and lima beans, and were limited to just a half cup a day. Yep - a carb controlled diet.)
Why should a person who is not seriously carb intolerant still control their carbs? A few reasons. First of all, anything that's loaded with sugar and white flour is not food, if we define "food" as "that which nourishes the body." (Sadly, the American definition of "food" seems to be "that which is not lethal within the first 20 minutes.) You should choose your carbs from those carb foods with the greatest nutritional value, and preferably from those with a relatively modest blood sugar impact - fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains. (Remember, this is for folks who are not seriously carb intolerant. Read the list above again.) Also, if you're controlling your calorie intake, you'd better make sure that every calorie you take in has the highest possible food value! Also, focusing your meals on protein, healthy fats, and low carb veggies will fill you up far more, keep you more satisfied, and give you far more energy. Further, eating this way will help prevent some of the muscle loss that can come with calorie/portion controlled diets.
Finally, if you're one of the ones who is not seriously carb intolerant, and you decide to control calories as well, don't take it too far. You will be sorry. Your body will go into starvation mode, and refuse to burn fat - it will slow your metabolism and burn muscle. Not good. Twelve to 15 calories per pound of body weight per day is about right. For me, that means I should be
getting at least 1700-1800 calories a day - many low cal diets restrict you to far less. Also, you still must get plenty of protein - not as much as folks on Basic Low Carb diets, who need an extra margin of protein to manufacture what little glucose their bodies do require, but not a smidge less than 70 grams a day, more if you're A) a naturally large person (we're talking frame here, not
obesity), B) unwell or C) very active. There's 7 grams of protein in a large egg, an ounce of cooked meat, fish or poultry, or an ounce of cheese.
There are some people who are very carb intolerant who will also need to control calories, but they're fewer and farther between. Why? Because the dramatic shift in metabolism and hunger that takes place when the severely carbohydrate intolerant drop the carbs from their diet is generally sufficient to solve their obesity problems. Those whose idea of "solving their obesity problems" extends to looking like Kate Moss or Callista Flockheart not included!
Reader Review of 500 Low-Carb Recipes
I just wanted to let you know I have been cooking out of your cookbook now since I think November. I pre-ordered the book and I absolutely love it! I have been a low carb dieter for nearly 2 years and not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I was diagnosed as having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome 2 years ago. My Ob-gyn told me a low carb diet and meds would help me lose weight and stabilize my illness. I must say in the beginning it was super hard and I lost like 15 pounds within a 2 week time frame because I wasn't eating hardly anything. I read a lot of books and finally started realizing this low carb diet was not going to kill me. If anything it would save me. I have read and cooked out of many low carb books and yours is by far the very best. I absolutely love the zucchini crusted pizza and the Chocolate Mousse to Die for. I never really gave tofu a chance until that recipe. I can get through those sugar cravings now, because it just sweet enough to satisfy them. I plan to go out and buy your, " How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet - And Lost 40 Pounds!" as soon as I can. It's definitely been a struggle, but thanks to your cookbook it really has made a difference. Some low carb cookbooks out there, I wonder if the author really ate them. I am now a Lowcarbezine member and I look forward to your issues. I have gone back and read some of the past issues and they are great. Thanks again and keep up the great work! You truly are an inspiration!
Thanks, Nicole!! And yes, I really do cook. Ask my friend Erica, who invited herself over for dinner last night... ;-D (Slow Cooker Chipotle Turkey Legs, Guacamole, and a big salad.)
Anyway, you can't see this review at Amazon.com, because it actually came straight to my Inbox - but you can see a whole bunch of other reviews of 500 Low Carb Recipes at Amazon.com or Amazon Canada.
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While you're at the site, check out our interviews, recipes, newsletter, and more!
If you're low carb and smart, you'll shop Carb Smart! http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html
The Pause That Refreshes - and Burns Fat, and Prevents Cancer, and Slows Aging, and...
Surely you've heard by now that green tea is good for you - it's loaded with anti-oxidants that slow the aging process and reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease. Well, here are two more pieces of good news: tea also increases fat burning - and it's not just green tea that's good for you!
Green tea and black tea (what we in the US think of as "regular" tea) come from the same plant, it's just that for black tea the leaves are fermented, and for green tea they're not. There's a third kind you may not have heard of, called "oolong" tea, which is partially fermented - somewhere between green tea and black tea. All three kinds of tea - green, black, and oolong - are the healthiest beverages you can imagine. The antioxidants in tea help prevent cancer and heart disease, slow the aging process, and even lower cholesterol levels.
(This gives me great joy. I am a lifelong tea addict, and back when I worked in a holistic health center, my veggie-organic colleagues would say, "You shouldn't drink tea! It has caffeine! It has tannic acid! You should drink herb tea!" And I would say, "NO! Tea is my friend! Tea wouldn't hurt me! My Aunt Grace wouldn't have given me tea if it were bad for me!" When the news came out about tea's dramatic health-giving properties, I was pretty darned smug, I can tell you.)
Well, it turns out that antioxidants are only the half of it. I have in front of me a medical journal article regarding "green tea extract", showing that people treated with the extract burned 4% more calories over 24 hours than people who simply were given caffeine, or a placebo. Another study showed that green tea stimulated metabolism far more than could be explained by its caffeine content. In other words, the tea itself is a thermogenic!
If you're unaware - those over the counter diet pills, like Metabolife and Xenadrine, are thermogenics - substances which cause body temperature to raise slightly, so you throw off more calories as heat. Most of these products work with a drug called ephedrine, or the herbal form of the same thing, called ma huang or ephedra. They do work, but have a ton of contraindications - you can't take ephedrine if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, prostate trouble, etc, etc, etc. Overdoses - "If a little is good, a lot is better" - can kill. Furthermore, for me the dose of the ephedrine-based thermogenics that actually causes weight loss is right around the same dose that speeds me out so much I want to jump out of my skin. Tea, it turns out, has a similar effect, but is far safer.
Another study showed more than a 4% decrease in body weight, and a reduction of 4.5 percent in waist size in three months, simply because of green tea extract.
But as I said, it's not just the green tea. In another study, oolong tea "demonstrated... anti-obesity effects". It appears that tea, in general, is a useful tool in our struggle to stay slim and fit.
You can, of course, drink tea, and I would urge you to do so - especially if tea is replacing diet soda and other artificially flavored and sweetened beverages in your diet. Roughly 50% of low carb dieters find that diet soda interferes with their weight loss, although the reason is unclear - Dr. Atkins blames aspartame, which he says interferes with fat burning on a cellular level. The Hellers (The Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program) say it's because anything that tastes sweet causes an insulin release, whether it has sugar in it or not. And still other folks say that the problem is the citric acid widely used as a flavoring in soda and other artificially flavored beverages.
There's one more possible reason for diet soda's interference with weight loss that only occurred to me today: Soda, both diet and regular, is loaded with phosphorus, in the form of phosphoric acid. If you've heard stories about Coca-Cola being used to clean car battery terminals and remove lacquer and such, it's the phosphoric acid that makes the stuff so - well, acidic. Phosphorus interferes with calcium utilization. This means that soda is bad for your bones. But there are also a few new studies that show that women who get enough calcium are far more likely to reach a healthy weight than women who don't. I wonder if soda's ability to interfere with your calcium might also be interfering with weight loss? Hmmm.
Hot or iced, brewed or from instant tea powder, tea is a far healthier beverage than anything that comes in a can or a bottle. (You can, of course, buy artificially flavored and sweetened iced tea in bottles, and it should have some of the beneficial chemicals in it, but then you're back to the artificial sweeteners and citric acid that block weight loss in some low carb dieters.) I've also read reports of folks who switched from coffee to tea for their caffeine fix and spontaneously lost a few pounds. If you don't like caffeine, remember that it's not just the caffeine in tea that helps you lose weight - you can drink decaf and get much of the beneficial effect.
If you simply can't abide tea, there are capsules of green tea extract available - look at your local health food store. These capsules should be effective, and safer than ephedrine.
Time to go brew another pot!
International Low Carb Shopping?
I get occasional enquiries from readers outside the US, wanting to know where they can buy the low carb specialty products we get here in the US, and quite frankly, I don't know. Some US low carb etailers do ship to Canada, but shipping and customs duty can be prohibitive. So please, if you know of a source of low carb specialty products in Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, or, heck, anywhere other than the US, let me know at mailto:email@example.com , and I'll pass the information along! Thanks!
Reader Review of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!
So grateful for this book!
Dana is not a doctor, a dietician, or fitness guru. (THANK YOU GOD!) She's "just" someone who was like you and me and 75% of the rest of the people we see everyday: addicted to carbo's, tired, fat, and miserable.
I started my low carbing a few days before beginning this book and it's so informative, that I almost wish I had waited to start. Almost but not quite, because I wouldn't take back the weight I'd already lost for anything in this world.
I love this book! It gives a thorough review of each of the well known, popular low carb/high protein diets that you've heard about, as well as referencing the low carb body of works over the last 150+ years - to show you that this healthy lifestyle is certainly no passing fad. It concisely spells out how to analyze all of these programs to customize a low carb solution that works best for y-o-u.
This is how to get and stay healthy. In just a few short weeks, I look and feel(!!!) so much better than I have in a long, long time. Potatoes, rice, and grains can kiss my shrinking body goodbye forever. No matter what I tried to restrict (read low fat hell), I was always hungry, and getting fatter and fatter still. I thought that there was no hope, and that I'd be fat forever. I'm so glad that I know better now. Thanks again, Dana, for the wonderful book!
thephatyak from Music City 'burbs
Well, thanks, thephatyak! (Some handle!) It really is astonishing how much better you feel when you eat this way - and how quickly you feel better!
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
About That Pesky Bread
I mentioned a few issues back that I'd been getting email from readers regarding the bread recipes in 500 Low-Carb Recipes - apparently these recipes work great for some folks, and simply refuse to rise for others. I do assure you that they all rise nicely for me, or I wouldn't have put them in the book - indeed, I had a couple of cases where I had to gently pry the top crust off the lid of the bread machine. Still, that's no consolation to those folks whose bread is as eager to rise as 16 year old on a school day.
I put out the word for some help trying to figure out this problem. I also consulted with Diana Lee, author of Baking Low Carb and Bread and Breakfast: Baking Low Carb II. Di sympathized, and said that bread, whether low carb or not, is, indeed, notoriously flukey. I also talked to my mother, who baked bread all through my childhood, but has found that in her current house - she moved there about 12 years ago - she has a hard time getting bread to rise nicely, even working with the exact same recipes she's been using all her life. Go figure.
Here are some suggestions I got for variables that may make a difference:
* Hard versus soft water. This was the most common suggestion. The consensus is that hard water is not good for making bread. If you have hard water in your area, you might use bottled distilled water, and see if that helps.
* The order in which ingredients are added to the bread machine. A couple of readers said that their bread machine instructions said that the yeast should never touch the wet ingredients until the kneading cycle starts, so they started adding the water and other wet ingredients first, then the dry ingredients, with the yeast last. They said this made a difference in how well their bread rose. You might check the booklet that came with your bread machine, and add the ingredients in the order specified for your model.
* Freshness of yeast. Certainly this can make a difference, and you shouldn't buy a bunch of yeast on sale and then hang on to it for months. But I had a couple of people who had bread failures specify that their yeast was brandy-fresh from the grocery store, so that's not the whole answer.
* Differing protein-to-carb fractions on various ingredients. The biggest problem with making low carb bread is that yeast feeds on carbohydrate - and the lower carb the bread, the less food for your yeast. If your gluten flour or protein power or whatever is a little higher protein and lower carb than mine, that might make a difference. I hate to suggest such a thing, but I find myself wondering if the addition of 1 tablespoon of regular flour (feh! ptui!), adding 6 grams of carb for the loaf, might make a difference. Don't know, since I can't get these loaves to stay flat!
Any more brilliant suggestions, send 'em in. Thanks!
Reader Success Story
Ever wonder about the folks who make and sell low carb products? Are they just making money on the new, hot thing, or do they really believe in a low carb lifestyle? Here's a reader success story from one of these folks:
I have a success story to tell, and it's really led me to some interesting places. I've lost 120 pounds low carbing after being diagnosed diabetic in 1999. After losing 35 pounds my blood sugar went back to normal and my triglycerides dropped from 478 to 220. :-) Yay! I still have 50 pounds to go, but because of my love of this WOE I opened the only lowcarb store in the whole state of Texas. I had people driving to Austin from as far away as Dallas (3 and 1/2 hours) to buy low carb goodies and visit with me. In 2002 I started Gram's Gourmet, a low carb food company. So far, we're producing the first maltitol-free low carb granola, in both Cinnamon Toast and Vanilla Almond, and our Sweet Cinnamon and Butter Crunchies and our New Cheddar Cheese Crunchies - both flavored pork rinds. We'll be releasing our new hot cereal, Cream of Flax, on February 7th. I'm having the time of my life. And I'm still loving this way of eating!
Thanks for listening.....
Cool, huh? Now there's a low carb success story in two senses of the word! I've tried the Sweet Cinnamon and Butter Crunchies, by the way - and when I say "tried", I mean they disappeared in the space of a morning! Yum.
If you'd like to check out Julee's products (and see her totally cute grandson Devin), you'll find her at http://www.gramsgourmet.com .
Fast Food Lawsuits Dismissed
District Judge Robert W. Sweet, for the Southern District of New York, dismissed on Wednesday the lawsuits from parents contending that MacDonald's had made their children obese. Good on 'em, I say. It's not corporate America's job to feed your children healthy food. It's your job. And unless these parents had no soda, no chips, no cookies, no cold cereal, no processed, package potatoes, no white bread in the house, they have a lot of nerve blaming their children's obesity on anyone but themselves.
I'm not too opinionated, am I? ;-D
Cooking Low Carb!
Just tried this last night, and boy, was it good! Really fast and easy, too.
Black and Bleu Chicken
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Cajun seasoning (buy this in the spice aisle)
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 lb. bleu cheese, crumbled
Start a large, heavy-bottomed skillet heating over medium-high heat. In the meanwhile, one at a time, place each chicken breast in a heavy zipper-lock plastic bag, and using a meat tenderizing hammer, a regular hammer, or whatever blunt object comes to hand (I use a 3-pound dumbbell!), pound each breast till it's about 1/4" thick all over - this should take about 30 seconds per breast. Sprinkle both sides of each pounded breast with the Cajun seasoning. Melt the butter in the skillet, and add your chicken breasts. Saute for 4-5 minutes per side, or until done through. When they're just about done, sprinkle the crumbled bleu cheese over the chicken breasts, dividing it evenly between all three. Cover the skillet for a minute more, to let the cheese melt, and serve. 3 servings, each with 2 grams of carb and 36 grams of protein.
Why only 3 chicken breasts? Because that's what fits in my skillet! Once they were pounded out thin, they just barely squeezed in there together. If you want to increase this recipe, you'll need two skillets - but it will still be quick and easy!
That's it for this issue! See you next issue!
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