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Hey, Gang -
I wasn't sure you were getting another issue before I turn in manuscript for the new cookbook, but my publishers have extended my deadline for another month, for which I am inexpressibly grateful. Takes some pressure off, lets me do a better job while still working in the occasional walk in the spring sunshine (and boy, how welcome is that?!) - and lets me continue to stay in touch with you guys - 13,000 odd of my nearest and dearest friends!
Indeed, having taken three weeks since the last issue, it's wonderful how good it feels to put out the ezine again. I love this newsletter, and I love you guys.
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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Another in our series of articles from early issues that we're repeating for all you new low carb dieters out there. I've gotten this question 3 times in the past few weeks, so it seems timely.
I've been doing well on my low carb diet, but now I want to get pregnant. Do I have to go back to eating carbs?
Hmmm. Touchy question, and one for which I'm not sure there's a clear cut answer. On the one hand, I hesitate to recommend anything for a pregnant woman that her doctor wouldn't approve of 100%. On the other hand, I know that doctors often don't know a whole lot about nutrition.
I also know that pregnancy is the most common time for women who have not previously been diabetic to become diabetic, often with disastrous results. Pre-eclampsia, marked by high blood pressure, is also very dangerous, and is reportedly more common in women with "Syndrome X" or carbohydrate intolerance-type health histories.
Personally, I'm not convinced that even a ketogenic diet is dangerous during pregnancy; after all, the Inuit (Eskimos) didn't die out, and they ate a ketogenic diet the vast majority of the year back before they came in contact with "modern civilization" and its wonderful "foods". And the best we can tell, cave people ate low carb diet for nearly 2 million years, and they must have been able to reproduce successfully, because here we are! For that matter, Dr. Richard Bernstein, author of
Dr Bernstein's Diabetes Solution, has been quoted as saying that all pregnant women produce ketones, and tend to be in a mild state of ketosis during their pregnancies.
If you are certain that you are carbohydrate intolerant, I can't recommend that you shift over to a diet high in carbs during pregnancy, because of the risk of gestational diabetes and/or hypertension. Nor can I recommend that anyone eat a low fat diet during pregnancy, since
the baby's brain and nervous system, among other things, require ample healthy fats for proper development.
Further, I really, really can't recommend that you eat the vast majority of the common carbs in the modern American diet during pregnancy - do you really think that highly processed cereal, Coca-Cola, white bread and white flour pasta, candy, sweet rolls, cookies, chips, etc, etc, etc are in any way desirable, or necessary, for the nutritional health of your developing child? And don't give me the "If I crave it, it must be because my body needs it for the baby!"
line. You know better than that! If you're craving junk food, it's because carbohydrates, and especially highly processed, high impact carbohydrates, are addictive, that's all, and your baby doesn't need them any more than an alcoholic's developing baby needs a daily dose of vodka.
However, I am painfully aware that low carbohydrate diets are still controversial (despite the strong evidence that they're what the human race evolved on!) and that goes double -- or even triple -- for low carb diets during pregnancy. What I would recommend, therefore, is to
liberalize carbohydrate intake a bit, by adding a moderate quantity of the low impact carbs - some fruit, a half-cup serving of brown rice or whole wheat pasta, a cup of bean soup, a small bowl of oatmeal - preferably steel cut oats, and definitely not instant, sweetened oatmeal! - with your breakfast eggs, a half a whole wheat pita bread round (for some weird reason I don't pretend to understand, pita bread has a lower blood sugar impact than loaf bread. Go figure.) Along with these 2-4 servings per day of unrefined, low impact carbs, you'll want to eat your usual meat, poultry, fish, cheese, eggs (great for brain development!), nuts, seeds, and LOTS of vegetables. Of course, you'll want to take a pre-natal vitamin, too.
You may find, of course, that you're nauseated in the mornings (or at other times, too!). Many women find that nibbling a dry cracker or two before getting out of bed helps with this, and I'm not going to argue. But see if whole grain crackers with no hydrogenated shortening (available at health food stores) will do the trick for you - as I mentioned, fats are being incorporated into your baby's nervous system; you don't want to include seriously damaged fats in that process! And the bit of fiber in the whole grain crackers should moderate the impact on your blood sugar a bit. You might also like to know that in clinical trials, powdered ginger, given in 250 mg. capsules four times a day, was found to significantly reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. Worth a try.
I would probably go easy on artificial sweeteners during pregnancy, although I certainly can't recommend that you eat sugar (or honey, or fructose, or any of the other so-called "natural" sugars) either. Personally, I'd just recommend eating less sweet stuff in general. Yes, artificial sweeteners are tested for safety during pregnancy; still, I'm just iffy on the subject, and you only get one shot at this.
One other piece of advice: DO NOT try to lose weight, or even maintain weight, during pregnancy. You should be gaining weight! Eat your healthy foods as your hunger dictates.
Reader Review of 500 Low-Carb Recipes
You have done it again!, October 26, 2002
Loved your first book as it was so informative and made it easy to follow and understand the low carb way of living. This book is a valuable asset to my cookbook library. You have covered every recipe need with low carb delicious recipes. I especially like the one-dish meals. I am looking forward to trying all the recipes in this book and serving them to family and friends with no apologies for them being low carb! Thanks Dana.
Thank you, Di! For those of you who don't know, Diana has three low-carb cookbooks of her own:
Baking Low Carb
Bread and Breakfast: Baking Low Carb II
Low Carb Ice Cream, Drinks, Desserts-Baking Low Carb III
Read other reviews of 500 Low Carb Recipes at Amazon.com or Amazon Canada.
Low Carb the Second Time Around
Here's one of the toughest questions I get: Why is low carb so much harder the second time around?
It does seem to be true, at least for a sizable percentage of dieters. I've heard from a lot of people who went on a low carb diet - generally Atkins - and lost weight like crazy. Then, for one reason or another, they fell off the wagon and gained back their weight, not to mention all the energy and health problems they'd lost while dieting. They finally go back on their low carb diet, only to discover it just doesn't work the same way the second time around - they're having a much harder time losing the weight.
Now, this is not a universal phenomenon. I've also heard from people gloating about going back on their low carb diet and dropping 10 pounds or more the first week, just like they did the first time around. But trouble losing weight the second (or third, or fourth, or...) time around is all too common. The phenomenon has even inspired the phrase "the golden shot" for the first, easy time low carbing.
I confess that I have not a clue as to the actual physiological mechanism behind this problem. I do know that the body does have mechanisms to prevent weight loss, since - no doubt owing to an evolutionary past where losing weight was a far greater threat than gaining it - bodies seem to perceive weight loss as a threat. So apparently, having lost weight with a low carbohydrate diet once, the body, its carb supply having been cut again, is wise to that "threat", and has taken some sort of physiological steps to thwart it.
While I have no brilliant solutions to this problem, I do have some thoughts, and one or two suggestions.
First of all, if you are reading this from the perspective of being one of those people who has left your low carb program and gained your weight back, I implore you not to decide that this is a good reason to scrap the idea of going low carb again. Assuming that you are, indeed, carbohydrate intolerant (carry your weight mostly on your abdomen; have a family or personal history of carb intolerance diseases - heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and/or triglycerides, type II diabetes, female cancers, polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc.) there are overwhelming health reasons to restrict your carbohydrate intake and get your insulin under control, whether you lose weight doing it or not. Surely your life and health are at least as important as your waistline.
Furthermore, if, like most people, you felt far better on your low carb diet, with better moods and greater energy, you're very likely to find those benefits again. In my case, I've upped and downed a bit since going low carb - not from going off the diet, but from more or less exercise - and I've had something of a battle to get off the weight that I gained after my car wreck in 2000. But I have never even considered quitting my low carb diet, not so much because I write about low carbing for a living - I mean, how would you guys know? - but because I feel so lousy when I eat carbs. I'm a serious feel-good junkie, and that, far more than my lifetime battle with my weight, is my A-number-one reason for staying low carb.
Now, how to get the weight back off again. I've heard of a few things that may help:
* My sister Kim, who has dealt with this second-time problem, has found that a combination of low carbohydrate and low calorie is what she needs. Indeed, this is the most commonly successful strategy I've heard of. In Kim's case, she decided she wanted something that required little thought, and even less work, since she's out of the house at 6 every morning, and rarely home before 5 or 6 at night - at which point she often heads out again to go to one meeting or another. So here's what Kim's done: For breakfast and lunch every day she has an Atkins shake. She mixes up the powdered stuff if she's at home, and keeps the canned stuff in the refrigerator at work. If she's actually hungry during the day, she'll have a third shake, or a low carb protein bar. In the evening she has a regular low carb meal. This is just about all Kim eats, although I talked to her a few weeks back when she was making some crackers out of my cookbook, because she'd been having cracker cravings. But for the most part, it's two to three shakes a day, plus one solid, low carb meal. This strategy has lost Kim about 35 pounds in 8 months - not quick weight loss, but a real change, and she's very happy with it.
* Even if you don't want to do this very limited sort of program, do watch calories as well as carbs. Because a low carb diet cuts appetite and speeds metabolism, there's a myth going around that so long as you keep your carb intake very low, you can eat unlimited calories and still lose weight. This is not true. You can eat more calories than you could on a carb-containing diet, and still lose weight, but that's not unlimited calories. For instance, the famous Kekwick and Pawan studies that everyone cites showed that the average subject on a very low carb diet lost weight eating roughly 2000 calories a day. That's a comfortable intake, and enough that you should never have to feel hungry, but it's nothing like an unlimited calorie intake, especially if you're eating very calorie-dense foods, as we tend to do. A handful of nuts is a great low carb snack. A cup of nuts - and boy, it's easy to get up to a cup! - is over 800 calories. Healthy calories, but it's still very easy to overshoot your body's daily limit. Resist the American tendency to want to munch on something for hours as entertainment. If you can't resist, your best choices are very low carb vegetables - cucumber, celery, peppers, etc - or sunflower or pumpkin seeds in the shell - because the shells force you to eat just one at a time, and each kernel is quite small.
* Because the whole problem of second-time-around seems to be the body's limitless ability to adapt, you might consider trying a different approach to carb control. If you've previously done Atkins, consider a less stringent version like The Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program. If you first used CALP (or the earlier version, The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet), try a stricter plan. Try more protein and less fat, or less protein and more fat. But try to surprise your body a bit.
* Work out. I mean, c'mon. You know this. The thing that is starting to shift the last of the car accident weight for me is weight lifting - as much weight as I can handle, lifted as s-l-o-w-l-y as I can. Also doing the same very slow, very heavy sort of resistance work on my beloved Total Gym. If time is limited, and you have to choose between aerobic exercise and resistance exercise, choose resistance. Building muscle will increase your metabolism like nothing else. You might read The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution: The Slow Motion Exercise That Will Change Your Body in 30 Minutes a Week, by Fred Hahn, in conjunction with Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, of Protein Power fame. I'm not lifting exactly according to Hahn's protocol, but I do find that doing my resistance work slowly gives me much better results in much less time. Check it out at Amazon.com: http://makeashorterlink.com/?P281329C3
Those are really the most useful suggestions I have, except for these:
* If you're doing well on your low carb diet, and this is your first time around, make it your last. Do not allow yourself the mindset of "I'm going to stay on this diet until I lose my weight, and then I can go off it." You can't. You will gain your weight back, every ounce, and all your health problems with it. This is not a problem peculiar to low carb dieting - the recidivism rate for weight loss in general is well upwards of 95%, and it is precisely because people go on diets with the idea in the back of their minds that they will some day go off their diets, and go back to eating "normally." "Normally" is what made you fat and sick in the first place, and it will always make you fat and sick.
* This being said, if you're losing weight and feeling better on a low carb diet, focus your attention on making your low carb diet pleasant and livable. Do not decide to go on a no-carb diet to lose your weight even faster - you know and I know that the point of losing the weight faster is so that you can go off the diet sooner. Stop that!! Get a good low carb cookbook or two - obviously, I hope you buy mine, but there are a lot of good low carb cookbooks on the market lately - and learn to cook low carb stuff you like. Invest in a few good low carb treats, no matter how expensive they are. Focus not on losing the weight as quickly as possible, but on making this the happiest lifestyle it can possibly be. After all, quick weight loss is nowhere near as good as lifetime weight loss!
Hey, all you Chicagoland teachers out there! I'll be appearing at two Borders stores in the Chicago suburbs for Teacher Appreciation Weekend on Saturday, March 29th. Catch me at Borders Highland Park at 12 noon, or at Borders Wilmette at 3 pm.
I'll be in San Diego and Los Angeles in April! Details as I have them.
International Low Carb
A few issues back we asked our readers outside of the US to please, please share if they had any good sources of low carbohydrate products to suggest. I'm sad to say that the sources appear to be limited, but I'm sure that will change - products have a way of making themselves available to willing markets. However, in the meanwhile, we did get a few responses. Here they are:
I just found your website and looked at you newsletter - it is very interesting and seems like a great resource. You asked about companies that ship low carb stuff outside of the US. I have purchased from http://www.netrition.com com and have been very happy with the amount and quality of goods as well as their shipping. I live in Ireland and have had no problems getting products from them.
I hope this helps.
Hi! Just wanted to let you know that SNDCanada.com (sports nutrition depot) sells SOME low-carb products, including Atkins bars, shakes, and bake mix, in Canada. GNC has stores in many major malls and they also sell SOME products (again, Atkins included), but they are much more expensive than SND. To get the things not sold at either place listed above, I have been ordering from the Atkins website directly. They have a flat shipping rate to Canada of $29.99 (U.S...about $46.00). It is still VERY expensive, so I recommend making a major purchase all at once rather than ordering a little bit at a time. Hope this helps :-)
regarding your inquiry about international shipping for low carb products: I live in Japan and have used the following:
A la carb http://www.alacarb.com/
There, I could order specific items such as ThickThinnotStarch, etc.
Life services http://www.lifeservices.com/
They are the makers of KETO products
Ben Salem Naturals http://www.bnatural.com/
They carry KETO, Atkins and some others.
Shipping overseas means that freight cost will be high. Davinci sirups are great, but also heavy. Same goes for shakes, etc. One could try to use sea mail, but then, it is going to be very slow ...
in Saitama, Japan
I'm just reading the "ezine", and I have a bit of good news for low-carbers in Hamilton, Ontario. One place I frequent called "Sports Nutrition Depot" carries Atkins Indulge Chocolate bars, and the Caramel Peanut Bars. They carry a VAST assortment of Atkins bars, the 3 varieties of Atkins shakes, the baking mix, Doctors Low Carb Bars, and a whole lot of Zone Products. They have promised me that they are trying to get more stuff in all the time, and seem to be true to their word. When I first started going there, they only had a half-dozen different Atkins bars, and nothing more.
Also, there is a local grocery chain here called Fortino's. I was speaking with the lady in the Organics/Health Food section, and she showed me a listing whereby they will begin to carry Atkins bars. Hurrah!!!!
I'm sure we're getting the short end of the stick here - I read the wrapper from the Atkins bars and they say in quite large letters: "Product of Canada" in both English & French; and that they are DISTRIBUTED by Atkins Nutritionals Inc., Ronkonkoma, NY. H-m-m-m-m-m-m. Maybe they cross the border a couple of times and that's why we pay $3.00 each + 15% tax for
Anyway, we can get them, we can get Splenda, Equal, and we can even get your books via Amazon.ca. (I own both and love them--I re-read How I Gave Up My Low-Fat Diet and Lot 40 Pounds over and over again. Every time I fall off my LIFELONG eating plan, I pick up your book and start again. The cook book is good, I just haven't had much chance to use it yet.)
Keep up the GREAT work--the Low Carbezine is a beacon that gets me back on track every time it comes! :-)
Rebecca Davies writes:
Great UK message forum and fabulous shop full of all USA products is at: http://www.Carblife.com
And for you here in the States, but perhaps miles from the nearest big town, some good news:
My local Walmart Supercenter is selling a low carb ice cream in pints, called Le Carb. It is very good and in some unique flavors such as Lemon and Cinnamon. It is sweetened with Splenda.
So there you go - those are all the sources of supply I've heard about so far. Please, please, all of you Lowcarbezine! readers outside the United States, if you find a good store or website or widely distributed product, let me know, so I can let everyone else know!
And many thanks to all of you who wrote in. You guys are by far my best resource.
Okay, okay, you can stop writing me. I'm finally writing about Pentabosol.
For those of you who have missed it, Pentabosol is a weight-loss product devised by Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, authors of Protein Power, and advertised via infomercial. The Eades claim that Pentabosol is clinically proven to increase weight loss by 71% over diet and exercise alone. Not surprisingly, I got a lot of queries about a product that makes this kind of claim! So I ordered some Pentabosol - a three month supply, to be exact - and gave it a try.
This three month supply was not cheap, by the way. If I recall correctly, I spent $129 on two months' supply, with the third month thrown in free. According to the Advanced Metabolics website, that price has since gone up to $149. If you're already losing weight nicely, I'd think that this alone would be enough to deter you from bothering with Pentabosol.
Pentabosol is a powder that you mix with water. It's lemonade flavored, and personally, I think it tastes quite good. You're supposed to drink Pentabosol first thing in the morning, and last thing at night before bed, on an empty stomach. After your morning dose, you're also supposed to wait for 30 minutes after taking Pentabosol before you eat anything.
Some people find this dosage schedule difficult. Certainly for people who are rushed in the morning, and who consider their high protein breakfast to be vital to their low carbohydrate diet program, having to wait 30 minutes to eat after taking the product is a pain. I suppose you could get up, drink your Pentabosol, put on the coffee, go take your shower, do your grooming, and dress, and then eat, but only if it takes you a half an hour to do those chores.
The 30 minute wait for breakfast is no big deal for me, since I work at home. However, having to take Pentabosol on an empty stomach right before bed is tougher. Why? Because we frequently eat dinner quite late around here - within the past week we've had dinner as late as 10 pm a couple of times, and we rarely eat much before 8:30. "An empty stomach" is generally defined as having not eaten anything for three hours or more. So on nights when we eat after 9 pm, we're looking at pushing bedtime back till after midnight, just to accommodate the Pentabosol dosage schedule. I don't always want to do that.
Furthermore, I confess to a sneaking suspicion that this need to take a bedtime dose on an empty stomach is one of the secrets of Pentabosol - it effectively rules out nighttime snacking. How many people put down the equivalent of a fourth meal while watching TV in the evening? Pentabosol eliminates this, simply by decreeing that you must have an empty stomach at bedtime.
However, even following this prescribed dosage schedule, I didn't find myself losing weight on Pentabosol. I also didn't find my hunger notably less. However, I have been on a low carbohydrate diet for going on eight years now, and there is a real possibility that my body uses this stuff differently than someone whose body is less adapted. That being said, I will not be purchasing Pentabosol again.
I am not ready to dismiss Pentabosol out of hand, however. While it wasn't any kind of magic bullet for me, it does contain l-carnatine, an amino acid that Dr. Atkins feels may help some people overcome metabolic resistance to weight loss, by improving the body's ability to use fat for fuel. . Pentabosol also includes a healthy dose of chromium, which improves glucose metabolism. However, both these nutrients are availabe for considerably less money at any health food store.
A third ingredient, hydroxycitric acid, from the fruit garcinia cambogia, has a reputation for suppressing appetite and aiding weight loss, but the few medical journal reports I could find of clinical studies found it ineffective.
Out of curiosity, I looked up Pentabosol at Justin Leonard's wonderful Fitness Infomercial Review website. The majority of the reviews were negative, but there were a couple that claimed the product had worked for them. If you'd like to read the reviews yourself, you'll find them here: http://www.fitnessinfomercialreview.com/pentabosol.htm (This is a wonderful website. If you're prone to watching infomercials - I admit to an unhealthy taste for them myself - you should bookmark this site!!)
All told, I'm unimpressed with Pentabosol. I'm sorry to have to say it, because I admire the Eades' books. But I can't recommend that you pony up the money for this product.
However, if you've had a good experience with Pentabosol, I'd love to hear about it, and pass it on to the rest of my readers. Only fair.
Looking For the Great Stuff You See Reviewed In Lowcarbezine?
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While you're at the website, check out our newsletter, recipes, success stories, and more!
If you're low carb and smart, you'll shop Carb Smart! http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html
Cooking Low Carb!
Italian Sausage Soup
With a little multi-tasking, you can get this wonderful, hearty soup on the table in fifteen minutes flat!
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth (or three 14.5 ounce cans. Near enough as makes no difference.)
1 pound bag frozen Italian Vegetable Blend
1 pound Italian sausage, mild or hot, as you prefer
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
5 tablespoons grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
First, put your broth in a good-sized saucepan, cover it, and place it over high heat. Next, put your Italian Vegetable Blend in a microwaveable casserole, add a couple of tablespoons water, cover, and microwave on "high" for 12 minutes.
Okay, that stuff is under control. Now, in a heavy-bottomed kettle, start browning your Italian sausage over medium-high heat. If your sausage is in links, slit the skins and squeeze it out, so you can crumble it - bulk sausage you can just plunk into the kettle. As a bit of grease starts to cook out of the sausage, add the onion and the garlic (you can chop your onion while the sausage is browning), and let them saute together.
When the sausage is done through, add your chicken broth, which should be hot by now. Stir, and add the Italian seasoning. Let it simmer while you crack your eggs into glass measuring cup and beat them up with a fork. Pour the eggs in, a little bit as a time - pour, then stir, then pour, then stir. This will make lovely egg shreds in your soup.
Your vegetables should be done by now! Pull them out of the microwave, drain, and dump them into your soup. Stir, let it simmer for just another minute, and serve with a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese on each serving.
5 servings, each with 11 grams of carbohydrate and 2 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 9 grams. 26 grams of protein.
That's it for this issue! See you next issue!
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