Lowcarbezine! 2 September 2003

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Hey, Gang -

Okay, it's late. I'm up to my eyebrows in cooking, writing, and publicity appearances, so I'm not promising it won't happen again. Still worth what you're paying, right? ;-D

Actually, I'm kind of happy I held off on publishing, because today is a special day for me. What day? This is the Official 8th Anniversary of Dana Going Low Carb. Eight years ago, after putting on between 10 and 15 pounds in the three months from my wedding till Labor Day, I decided that something new had to happen -- clearly my low fat, high carb diet was not working! I had recently read an old nutrition book by Gayelord Hauser, and one sentence had jumped out at me: "Obesity has nothing to do with how much you eat. It is, instead, a carbohydrate intolerance disease."

I remembered that when I was a kid, the common wisdom had been that to lose weight you gave up potatoes, spaghetti, bread, and sweets, and that when I joined the original Weight Watchers Program as a pudgy 11 year old the program had called for plenty of protein and unlimited low carb vegetables, but had strictly limited starches, and banned sweets altogether. I also remembered the Atkins diet from its first popularity in the 1970s, before low fat/high carb mania hit.

And I was also just plain fed up, and more than a little desperate. I decided, "What the heck do I have to lose?!" I went ahead with the Labor Day cookout I'd planned, and had my last tastes of low fat chocolate chip cookies and pasta salad made with low fat mayonnaise. The next day I cut the carbs out of my diet. No particular plan -- not Atkins, not Protein Power, not The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet; I just stopped eating anything high in carbs.

Two days later the shorts that had been tight at my Labor Day cookout were loose, my energy level was soaring, and I felt better than I had in years. I never looked back.

It's now been eight years. So much for all of those naysayers who insist that it's impossible to stick with a low carb diet long term. So much for everyone who said I'd develop high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, or end up with no energy. Instead, in the years from 36 to 44 I seem not to have aged at all, and I feel better in my middle age than I did as a teenager! (Of course, as a teenager I was living on sugar and cigarettes...)

So if you've wondered whether it's possible to go low carb for life, never doubt that the answer is yes -- and that it's a decision with rewards that continue, day after day, year after year. I am, I have no doubt, low carb for life.

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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Ethnic Restaurants 101 Continued

Let's continue our virtual ethnic restaurant tour (and boy, do I wish I were getting to do this in real life!) Today we're going to look at an Indian restaurant menu.

I actually had some trouble finding an Indian menu from the US on line -- most of them are located in the UK. I didn't know if my American readers (most of them!) and I would understand all the British food terms, so I narrowed my search a little, and found this menu -- at Amazon.com, of all places: http://tinyurl.com/m03o Call it up in a separate browser window, so you can click back and forth from the ezine to the menu, and let's go!

Once again, I will remind you of the most important rules of restaurant ordering: Ask questions if you're not sure what's in a menu item, and don't be afraid to ask for your food the way you want it, within reason -- the sauce on the side, steamed vegetables in place of rice or potato, that sort of thing. Remember, the waiter has a job because of you and people like you. Be nice, be polite, tip well, but expect a reasonable degree of knowledge and service!

Okay, let's read a menu!

First the appetizers, or "starters" as they call them here. Most of these are not low carb, I'm afraid -- they either have potatoes, lentils, or chickpeas. The only item I'd be interested in here is the Tandoori Assorted -- three kinds of kabobs. However, I'd look over the rest of the menu before deciding I wanted this, because I might choose kabobs for my main course!

Indeed, looking at the next section, Tandoori Specialties, reinforces that notion. All of these are great for us! And what a choice -- chicken, fish, lamb, shrimp -- something for every low carber's tastes. Worried about the yogurt marinades? Don't be. As Drs. Goldberg and O'Mara pointed out in their book The Go-Diet, plain yogurt is actually considerably lower carb than the labels suggest. The 12 grams of carb per cup listed on the label (and in the food count books) is derived from the 12 grams of carbohydrate (lactose) in the milk the yogurt is made from. However, the yogurt bacteria convert that lactose to lactic acid, giving yogurt its characteristic tangy taste, and leaving only 4 grams of carb per cup. So feel free to choose Indian dishes that use yogurt as a marinade or sauce.

If you click to the next page, you'll find the curry dishes and the like. The menu doesn't say so, but it is likely that these curries are served on or with rice -- I'd ask that knowledgeable waiter. I'd also ask what the sauces are thickened with -- flour, or yogurt, or potatoes, or what?

Still, with the rice left out, or something low carb substituted for it, many of these look wonderful for us. You'll skip the Chicken Vindaloo, of course, because of the potatoes (and a shame it is; vindaloo dishes are characteristically very fiery, and I love hot food!) and the Chicken Dalwala, because of the lentils. I'd skip the Chicken Madras, too, because of the raisins -- unless the raisins are few and far between, they're likely to add a prohibitive quantity of sugar. Tomatoes are a borderline vegetable, so if I was trying to keep carbs seriously low, I might also skip the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Murgh Makhani -- but short of Induction, I'd probably feel free to order these.

Looking at the lamb dishes, I'm iffy about the Lamb Pasanda -- it sounds delicious, but I'd want to know how many cashews are added. Cashews are among the highest carb nuts. If I was having a splurge, however, I might choose this. Again, the Lamb Vindaloo has potatoes, and the Keema Aloo Mattar has both potatoes and peas -- right out. I'd also skip the Dal Gosht because of the lentils ("dal" means "lentils", by the way), and the Lamb Madras because of the raisins.

How about seafood? All of these dishes look fine to me except for the Prawn Vindaloo, with its (surprise!) potatoes. And once again, I'd skip the dishes with tomatoes if I was trying to keep the carbs seriously low.

Click to the next page!

Okay, the vegetarian specialties. There are a surprising number of these that are low-carb-friendly -- but then, a large percentage of the Indian population is vegetarian, so it's not surprising that they have a flourishing vegetarian cuisine. We'll skip the Dal, or lentils, but Bhindi Masala, made from okra and onions, would be okay if the portion isn't huge -- you might want to split an order, if you have two okra-lovers at the table. 1/2 cup of cooked okra contains 5.8 grams of carbohydrate, with 2 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 3.8 grams. Onions, of course, are a borderline vegetable -- higher carb than some, but lower than potatoes, corn, peas, and the like, and terribly nutritious and flavorful, of course.

Next in the vegetarian lineup is Sag Paneer, one of the most famous of Indian vegetable dishes. Made from soft cheese, spinach, and spices, this is a terrific low carb choice, and could even be a good main dish. The Paneer Makhani will be higher carb, because of the tomatoes, but shouldn't be too bad. Saag Mushroom -- spinach with mushrooms -- should be as low carb as a vegetable dish gets, since both mushrooms and spinach are very low carb vegetables. The next eight entries -- from Sag Aloo through Aloo Gohbi -- contain potatoes or legumes of one kind or another, and won't do. However, the next three dishes -- Navratan Korma, Sabji, and Vegetable Jalfrezi -- all simply say that they're made from "mixed vegetables." Time to ask questions again! Okra, cauliflower, spinach, eggplant, green beans -- all would be fine. But if there are potatoes, peas, or other starchy vegetables in there, you'll pass, right?

Let's walk right by the Rice Specialties; why tease ourselves?

Next comes "Side Orders", and couple of these are good for us. You'll skip the Pulao -- a rice dish -- but Raita is a yogurt-cucumber dish that should be fine, and refreshing if your main course is hotly spicy. And of course a salad is a fine thing!!

We click to the next page, and find that it's largely hopeless for us. Of course we're going to skip the breads and desserts! For that matter, many of the beverages will not do for us. A Lassi -- yogurt drink -- made salty, rather than sweet, might just fit in, but it doesn't appeal to me, and I'd rather have a completely carb-free beverage, saving my carbs for food I can chew! The Mango Lassi is sweet, of course, and so is the lemonade. You could, of course, have diet soda, but I'd probably prefer the Pelligrino or Calistoga sparkling waters. You know that good old Evian water is fine, right? Juices are right out because of the sugar. So, by the way, is Chai, a spiced tea -- it's virtually always sweetened. That leaves herbal tea, or darjeeling, plus coffee, all of which are fine.

This restaurant apparently doesn't serve alcohol. However, if your local Indian restaurant does, be aware that foodies the world over agree that beer goes far better with curries and the like than wine does -- have a Miller Lite or a Michelob Ultra.

So there you have it -- an Indian feast, with plenty of exotically seasoned meats, chicken, fish, and seafood, and ample low carb vegetable choices. And I'm hungry again!

We'll do this again soon!

Hey, Indianapolis --

And surrounding environs! I'm going to be taping for WISH TV, Indianapolis's CBS affiliate, on Thursday, September 4 (in other words, the day after tomorrow!) I'll be chatting with Debby Knox. No word yet as to what time the segment will air; I'll see if I can find out in advance and do a Special Notice. Or you could stay home all day watching CBS -- bet WISH TV would like that!

FYI, WISH TV is Channel 8.

Reader Review of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds!

Lori King loves this book!,

Wonderful book! Easy read, entertaining, informative, and it works! I have purchased hundreds of books from Amazon and this is the first book I've reviewed. I really recommend it to those who find that low-fat, high-carb eating is no longer a viable weight loss alternative for them.This is usually everyone about 35 years of age or older, unless they're into heavy body-building.It may also be good for younger adults too. I just know that I got so discouraged that I gave up on diets and exercise. I saw results right away with a low-carb plan that I tailored to my way of life. There is enough flexibility that I feel like I'm in control of the process, which is important for me.The extra energy, health benefits, and regained clarity of mind are the additional benefits that make me want to continue low-carb even if I didn't lose an ounce. I'm also not always hungry anymore. Great job Dana! I'm waiting for your next book -- Please hurry.

Lori King, Amsterdam, NY USA

To read this and other reader reviews of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds, go to Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1592330401/lowcarbohysoluti

Much as we love Amazon.com -- and we do! -- we want you to know you can also find How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds at your local bookstore -- or if not, they can order it for you!!

15 Minute Low-Carb Recipes Print Date Moved Up

Due to public demand, the publishing date of Dana Carpender's second cookbook, 15 Minute Low-Carb Recipes, has been moved up by a month! Expect it in bookstores in October -- or preorder now at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/159233041X/lowcarbohysoluti

Slim Fast Sales Way Down

Cue the Evil Laugh: Muahahahahahahahahaha!

Unilever, the humongous Anglo-Dutch conglomerate that makes Slim Fast shakes and bars, reports that sales of its sugary meal replacement products are way, way off -- and blames low carb dieting. Indeed, sales have dropped a reported 13% in the past year. Indeed, Unilever is unhappy enough about the performance of the Slim Fast line that they're slashing sales forecasts overall for 2003.

In the meanwhile, sales of Atkins products increased a whopping 95% between January and May this year. I'm not a big fan of basing one's low carb diet on specialty products -- I think we should all be focusing our diets on meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and vegetables -- but I'd sure rather see people drinking Atkins shakes than Slim Fast, which is simply loaded with sugar. How much sugar? The Dark Chocolate Fudge variety has 45 grams of carbohydrate in a can, 35 grams of which are pure sugar. That's over 8 teaspoons of sugar, or just two fewer than a can of Coke. Yes, the Slim Fast has vitamins added, but there's just no excuse for all that sugar. This is roughly the equivalent of a glass of chocolate milk and a vitamin pill.

Unilever does plan to fight back, by the way. How? By advertising how much "healthier" their products are than those "dangerous" low carb diets.

Yeah, right. Think it'll work?

Let me say that if I have play some small part in the torpedoing of Unilever's market for their sugar garbage posing as "healthy options," I'm proud. Proud, I tell you!!

Reader Review of 500 Low-Carb Recipes

Delicious, healthy and easy!

Excellent book. While it helps us to maintain low-carb diet, it also enriched our menu with natural, delicious and 'easy living' meals.

Thank you Dana. Looking forward to your next book. Also hoping to see some day a premium edition with beatifull photographic images. Ice-cream recipes are very welcomed too!

A reader from Espoo FINLAND

Wow, Finland? Hey, guys, I've got readers in Finland!! Too cool!!

To read this and other reader reviews of 500 Low-Carb Recipes, visit Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1931412065/lowcarbohysoluti

Much as we love Amazon.com, you need to know that the book is available at bookstores everywhere!

Reader Success Story

This inspirational reader story come from Cardiff, Wales:

Dear Dana,

I have already read your 500 recipes and 'Hold the Toast' but this week I finished 'How I gave up my low fat diet...' and I wanted to tell you how totally inspirational it is and thank you for your great writing. (I bought it from Amazon with no problems.. it came the next day.)

I have followed Dr. Atkins' Way of Eating since August 2001 and have come down from 29 stones, 12 lbs to 24 stones. I had better translate that for you! 418 pounds to 336 pounds. (Dana's note -- a "stone" is a British measure of weight equaling 14 pounds) I have type II diabetes but all symptoms are gone now. I suffer from M.S. and am virtually unable to walk so exercising is very difficult. However, I care for a beautiful daughter with profound mental disabilities and the Lord helps me every day to manage; indeed, it was He who directed me towards Dr Atkins in the first place

I know you have many emails to read so I will not prattle on but thank you, thank you for the wonderful support via your email messages and the super books.

With very best wishes

Ruth King

Ruth, your story made me smile, and also illustrates a very, very important point: That a dietary program need not get one down to a super-model's size to have a hugely beneficial impact on one's life. All the best to you and your daughter, and thanks for writing!!

If Yogurt's Okay, How About Lactaid Milk?

I get the most interesting questions!

For a while now, I've been trying to get the word out, both here and in my books, that plain yogurt is not as high in carbohydrate as the label and the food books lead us to believe. Why? Because -- as explained by Drs. Goldberg and O'Mara in The GO-Diet -- the labels and the food books list the 12 grams of carbohydrate -- all in the form of lactose -- that were in the milk the yogurt was made from, but don't take into account the fact that the yogurt bacteria break down most of the lactose, turning it into the lactic acid that gives yogurt its characteristic sour taste, and leaving only about 4 grams of carbohydrate per cup.

(Please, remember, this 4 grams per cup figure applies only to plain yogurt. Sweetened and flavored yogurts have sugar added, and are far higher carb. If you like sweetened, flavored yogurt, add the extract of your choice plus a little sweetener.)

Well, now I have a new question -- indeed, two readers have written me in the past few weeks, wanting an answer: Does this mean that milk that has been treated with Lactaid, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, and is marketed to folks who are lactose intolerant, is also okay for low carbers? I'm sorry to have to tell you that the answer is no.

Why not? Because Lactaid doesn't convert the lactose in milk to a non-sugary substance. Instead, it converts the lactose to simpler sugars. You see, lactose is what is called a "disaccharide" -- a sugar that is made up of two simpler sugars. Some people lose the ability to break down the bond between those two sugars as they age, and this is what causes lactose intolerance. Lactaid breaks down the bond, leaving the two simpler sugars behind.

Not only does this mean that Lactaid treated milk has as much carbohydrate as untreated milk, but the treatment causes the sugar in the milk to be absorbed more rapidly, increasing the glycemic index of the milk. Indeed, I have read of nutritional experiments regarding the effects of low glycemic foods versus high glycemic foods where Lactaid treated milk was used for precisely this reason.

So, no Lactaid treated milk for you. If you simply must have milk -- and there are certainly far worse things you could be drinking <coughCoca-Colacough>, drink it untreated. At least that way it's a low impact carb.

Cooking Low Carb!

Long time readers will long ago have come to the conclusion that I'm kinky for cauliflower. I use it in so many recipes! There's a good reason for this: Cauliflower is a great stand-in for potatoes and rice, both, along with having its very own virtues. Plus it's always available, generally not too expensive, and very nutritious!

So here is yet another way to use cauliflower. I just polished off the leftovers of this for lunch, straight out of the mixing bowl!

Curried Cauliflower Salad

1 head cauliflower

8 scallions

3 hard-boiled eggs

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard or Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon curry powder

Salt and pepper

First trim the leaves and the tough part of the stem off of your cauliflower -- I don't bother coring it, though. Whack the whole thing into 1/2 inch chunks, put them in a microwaveable casserole with a lid, add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover, and microwave on "high" for 7 minutes.

While that's happening, slice your scallions, including the crisp part of the green. Peel your hard boiled eggs, and chop them into not-too-tiny pieces. And in a measuring cup or bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, and curry powder.

Okay, by now your microwave has gone "ding" -- check your cauliflower! It should be tender, but not mushy. If it's still crunchy, give it another couple of minutes. When it's done, drain your cauliflower well and dump it into a mixing bowl. Add the scallions and eggs, then the dressing and fold the whole thing together gently, using a rubber scraper.

I like this chilled, as a salad, but it's also good hot.

Makes 5-6 servings. Assuming 5 servings, each will have 4 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of fiber, for a usable carb count of 3 grams. 6 grams of protein.

Variation: Top each serving with a tablespoon of chopped dry-roasted, salted peanuts. This adds both 1 gram of carbohydrate and 1 gram of fiber.

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: htt030902@holdthetoast.com (Message and subject can be blank.)