Lowcarbezine! 2 February 2004

Return to Archive Contents

To request a full-text version of this issue by e-mail, just send a message to: htt040202@holdthetoast.com (Message and subject can be blank. Back issues are not available in full-text.)

Hey, Gang -

Happy Groundhog Day (a little late!) I hear Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow, but I remain unconcerned. I don't see why one groundhog should predict six more weeks of winter for the whole country, when weather is such a regional thing. It was cloudy and rainy all day here in Southern Indiana, and there's no way any local groundhog saw his shadow. So as far as I'm concerned, spring is coming to my neighborhood, at any rate!

That being said, I'm off to New York again. Gotta go pack!

Read on!


Reader Review of 15 Minute Low-Carb Recipes

Better than Ever!

I was so excited to see that Dana Carpender was coming out with a 15 minute recipe book. I have the 500 low carb recipes book and am tremendously pleased with it, but this new book is so awesome that although I have used my 500 recipes book religiously for months, it has sat on the shelf for the last week. I have made a different recipe every night this week using this 15 minute recipe book and am enthralled. I've made Sour Cream Ham Supper (my husband loved this), Spanish Rice (scrumptious, I think I found my new favorite), Beef and Artichoke Skillet (fabulous),Ham and Beans Skillet (so easy, and absolutely delicious), and tomorrow I'm making Pepperoncini Beef; I can't wait. I've never enjoyed cooking so much. All the recipes are so fast and easy. So far, they've all been extremely tasty, too. Dana, keep up the good work.

Melissa Wright, Clive, Iowa

Thanks, Melissa! Hope you liked the Pepperoncini Beef; it's one of my favorites.

To see this and other reader reviews of 15 Minute Low-Carb Recipes, visit Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/159233041X/lowcarbohysoluti

Please know, however, that you can get 15 Minute Low-Carb Recipes at any bookstore!

The Low Carb Brown Bag Lunch

With low carb chain restaurant menus proliferating like the spam in my inbox, the need to take your own low carb lunch to work is less pressing than it once was. It's still a fine idea, however - it's cheaper than eating out, of course, and brown bagging it also saves time for things that might be dearer to your heart, like a quick walk, a little shopping, a chapter of whatever you're currently reading, or maybe even an earlier quitting time. Furthermore, as the weather warms up (Please, God!!), a sack lunch will be your ticket to sitting in a local park in the sunshine for a few precious minutes, instead of waiting for a counter person or waiter to bring your food.

So here are some ideas for what to put in that brown paper bag:

* Hard boiled eggs or stuffed eggs. Stuffed eggs travel pretty well in a small snap-top container.

* Leftovers. If your office has a microwave for your use, lunches are the best way to use up leftovers before the family rebels.

* A slice of quiche. Make a quiche over the weekend, and take a slice for lunch every day. Traditionally, quiche is eaten at room temperature, so you don't even have to warm it up! If this idea appeals to you, it's good to know that Tupperware sells triangular "slice carriers" that will fit a slice of quiche perfectly.

* Tuna, egg, or chicken salad and fiber crackers. Or tuna salad, chicken, or egg salad without fiber crackers, for that matter. Even without refrigeration, these salads shouldn't go bad by lunchtime, unless your workspace is hellishly hot. But if you like, there are containers available with little cooler-packs in the lid - freeze the lid over night, fill the container with salad, screw the cold lid on, and presto: Refrigerated food.

* Bagged salad with tuna, cheese, diced ham, canned shrimp, boiled eggs, or other protein added. Stash a bottle of dressing in the break-room fridge, or buy the smallest size snap-top container, and fill it with dressing to bring along. Just don't toss your salad with its dressing hours before lunch - your salad will end up unappealingly soggy.

* Canned protein shakes. Atkins, Carb Solutions, and other low carb protein shakes in single serving cans are now available in many mainstream grocery stores, and even in mass-marketers like Kmart and WalMart. These make a quick and easy lunch, and are not only low carb, but generally low calorie as well. I weary quickly of drinking my meals; I like solid food. Furthermore, I have a bias in favor of stuff that's not this processed. But if you like these things, they're certainly an option.

* Nut and seed mix. This is more of a snack or nibble that is nutritious and filling enough that you may not need a full meal. Check out a good health food store for a variety of nut and seed mixes, but be sure to avoid those with carb-laden additions like raisins, date pieces, dried banana slices, yogurt coated nuts, and the like. It's also good to keep in mind that the wider the variety of nuts and seeds in the mix, the more nutritious it will be - and that pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are actually more nutritious than most nuts.

* Cut up vegetables with a high protein dip. This is a fast and easy lunch, and sort of fun to eat.

* Homemade low carb, high protein baked goods. The zucchini bread in the last issue, for instance, would make a fine lunch, especially if you spread it with a little cream cheese. For that matter, the Sunflower Parmesan Crackers from 500 Low-Carb Recipes with a dip or spread would make a nice lunch. There are more and more recipes for low carb baked goods out there - in 500 Low-Carb Recipes, and in others. There are also some low carb, high protein commercial baked goods hitting the market - they're certainly becoming more available where I live. However, these commercial products vary a lot in carb and protein count - many of them are so high carb I wouldn't consider them. Read the labels carefully - and pay close attention to the serving size!

* Stuffed celery. One of the nicest things to stuff it with is a half-and-half mixture of cream cheese and blue cheese, but use what you like - keeping in mind that there's a pretty strict limit to how much peanut butter you should eat (and that you should always buy natural peanut butter, not the processed kind with sugar and hydrogenated oils added!) Travel tip: Put equal-length pieces of stuffed celery stalk face-to-face before putting them in a bag or snap-top container, to avoid mess.

* Individually wrapped cheese chunks. There are bunches of these around - string cheese, Laughing Cow Cheese Bits, Baby Bels, all sorts of stuff. Easy to carry, easy to eat. Of course, there's no reason you can't just cut some hunks of cheese, and put them in a baggie. Cheaper, too.

* Along with your cheese, you could bring sliced deli meats - ham, turkey, roast beef, or what-have-you. Be wary, however, of things that are ground up and pressed back together - bologna, chicken loaf, that sort of thing. Too often, these have sugar or corn syrup and other carbs added. Read the labels! Be careful, too, about things like "honey ham." If you're buying your cold cuts at the deli counter, go at a fairly slow time if you can, so you don't feel pressured, and can ask the nice deli people to check labels for you.

* Frozen hot wings. If you have access to a freezer and a microwave at work, your possibilities increase tremendously! Frozen hot wings take only a few minutes to heat up, and they're very tasty.

* Frozen grilled fish fillets. Again, these take only a few minutes to heat up, and they come in a number of flavors - lemon pepper, garlic butter, Cajun blackened, etc. Look in the frozen fish case - and stay away from the breaded stuff!

* Cold shrimp with homemade low carb cocktail sauce or mustard and mayo combined. Cold cooked shrimp are neat and easy to eat. Buy 'em that way, or cook up a batch on Sunday, and stash them in the fridge for lunches during the week.

* Cottage cheese - plain, or with seasoning added. It's the old dieter's standby for a reason: It's low carb, low calorie, filling, inexpensive, and loaded with protein and calcium. Add some berries to your cottage cheese, if you like, or if you'd prefer something savory, you could add chives or sliced scallions, chopped radishes, grated carrot, minced green pepper, whatever you like - and maybe some seasoning salt. You can also buy cottage cheese in single-serving containers with peel-off tops, though I'd be more likely to just spoon some into a snap-top container.

* Plain yogurt, with artificial sweetener and your favorite flavoring extract added. While packaged flavored yogurt is too high carb for us, plain yogurt fits into a low carb diet just fine. As the authors of The GO-Diet pointed out, the 12 gram per serving carb count on plain yogurt is inaccurate. That's how much carbohydrate - lactose - was in the milk the yogurt was made from, but the yogurt bacteria turn most of that lactose into lactic acid, giving yogurt its characteristically tangy flavor. Count 4 grams per cup of plain yogurt, and you should be fine. Don't like it plain? Stir in a teaspoon of any flavoring extract you like - vanilla and lemon are our favorites around here - plus sweetener to taste. Again, yogurt travels well in a snap-top container.

Shameless Self-Promotion!

As of this week, I can put the words "Nationally Syndicated Columnist" in front of my name! I'm very, very excited: I've signed a contract with United Media, the largest and most respected company of its kind (these are the people who handle Miss Manners, one of my heroes!), to write a weekly low carb column, which will, I devoutly hope, soon be appearing in newspapers all over the country. My column is called Low Carb For Life, and I hope you'll watch for it. Heck, if you called up your local paper and begged them to carry it, that would be swell!

However, I warn you: Since I now have contracted to write a column a week for the foreseeable future, this ezine is going to get a little shorter. I mean, I have to sleep sometime.

Also, I'm headed to New York again this week (have I mentioned how much I adore New York?) I'm going to be appearing on World News Now on ABC, sometime in the middle of the night between Wednesday and Thursday, and I'm going to be taping a show for CN8, a syndicated cable station that is seen from Boston to DC, but I don't have word yet on when that will be shown.

Most exciting, I'm going to be taping a show with George Stella, the chef whose new low carb show will hit the Food Network in the spring. George is a big sweetie pie, and a major low carb success story, along with being a top-flight professional chef, so his show is going to be great. I can't begin to express how excited I am to be his guest!!

I will, of course, let you all know when the start date for George's show is. For now, if you go to http://www.foodnetwork.com and enter "George Stella" in the search box, then check "topic" and click "go" you'll find George's bio, and a place to write him with questions. Mark my words, George is going to be a star.

The World Is a Very Big Place

Last issue I wrote about low carbing on a budget - and ended up getting scolded soundly by readers who said the prices I cited for various foods were far cheaper than they'd ever seen. It's true, I live in the midwest, where meat and egg prices, in particular, tend to be lower than on either coast, I'm guessing because the food doesn't have to be transported as far.

Still, it is my observation that every region has its bargains. My sister in San Diego, who envies the prices I get on steaks, makes me green when she tells me she's buying avocados at 99c for a half-dozen. And while you'll almost never see cheap seafood in the midwest (and if you do, you should avoid it!) those who live near either ocean are more likely to find occasional deals. (We in the midwest do get farm-raised catfish, however - which, I have been informed, isn't making it to New England. It's a shame; I regularly buy boneless catfish "nuggets" - pieces between one and two ounces each - for $1.99 a pound.)

So please, let me know what low carb bargains you've found in your own area! Obviously, transient sales are no help, but what's consistently not-too-pricey where you live? I can pass the word along.

I'll pass along one more money saver: If you have a freezer, and eat a lot of chicken, look in the Yellow Pages to see if you have a poultry processing plant near you. I started buying chicken backs in 50 pound lots from a local poultry processor, to feed to my dogs - and discovered that if I was willing to give freezer space to 50 pounds of chicken legs and thighs at a time, I could consistently get them for a price that was at or around the lowest sale prices the local markets gave. So when chicken doesn't go on sale for a while, that's what I do.

Anyway, help out your local low carbers. What's cheap where you live? Mailto:feedback@holdthetoast.com .

Reader Review of 500 Low-Carb Recipes

Dana Carpender is a lifesaver!

500 Low-Carb Recipes is a wonderful cookbook. Today, for Christmas, I made "Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Crust." After dinner, I tried a slice. It was pure heaven and tasted like I was "being bad." All of the recipes from the book that I've tried have been top notch. A lifelong enemy of spinich, I have even warmed up to spinich using Dana's "Joe" recipe. Get this book as well as Dana's other cookbook.

Cookbook writers like Dana have helped me lose 86.5 pounds since October 2002. Her recipes make low-carb enjoyable.

Donnie Heck , Jacksonville, North Carolina

Thanks, Donnie! 86.5 pounds, huh? That's darned impressive! Congratulations!

To read this and other reviews of 500 Low-Carb Recipes, visit Amazon.com:


If you'd rather shop locally, you can get 500 Low-Carb Recipes at bookstores everywhere!

Best Low Carb Moment, Discovery, Etc

Last issue, I ask you to write and tell me about your best low carb experience, meal, discovery, new product, or revelation of 2003. Boy, did I get responses! Here are some reader's stories:

Sheila Niemeier writes:

Dear Dana:

Happy 2004! In response to your request for favorite products, etc. mine has got to be the George Forman Grill! I started low-carbing last January and have lost (and kept off) 18 lbs. due largely to the use of this wonderful product. I have the small one at work and use it to cook breakfast sausage in the AM and chicken or beef for lunch ( I bring in a salad & steamed veggies from home to accompany the protein). My co-workers are starting to line up at lunchtime to borrow my grill! I liked it so much, that I bought a larger one for my husband and I to use at home.

Maurine Smith writes:

Hi, Dana.

I loved seeing you on the Wayne Brady show. We even remembered to set the tape recorder so that we could see it!

My best discovery in 2003 was really simple: The recipe for Cottage Cheese Tuna Scoops in your 15 Minute Low-Carb book.

Since I work, taking lunch every day was getting to be a challenge. Now, I live off this recipe! It's filling, but a very different taste. Took me a while to convince my husband to try it, but he LOVED it, too.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement. Your books are great. I have them all. You've made a big difference in our lives.

Best wishes for 2004.

So there are another two great ideas for working lunches. Thanks, Sheila and Maurine!

Susan and Joe DeMari write:

My husband and I have been low carbohydrate for about 9 months and have had the constant inspiration of your books (How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and the 500 Low Carb Recipes) as our source of strength. Our weight loss has been combined, about 50 lbs. at last count and with the New Year and resolutions, this number will undoubtedly increase as time goes on. I personally have about 35 more pounds to reach my ideal weight loss of 130 (I'm 5'3") and my husband is looking awesome at 165 lbs. We've tried many, many recipes (the most favorite of which is the cauliflower sausage and cheese bake) and we're still cooking... Thank you Dana, for all that you do!!

We wanted to let you know about the bread, hamburger and hot dog rolls that we have stumbled across this past year that are absolutely incredible. Irene's Health Bakery in Garrettsville, OH manufactures them and they're labeled as a Gluten product. 4 carbs per slice of bread, and 5 each for the rolls. They also make dinner rolls. The best part of it is, you wouldn't know it to taste them. (I suspect that you likely know about them already, but just in case you didn't, I thought I'd share that as they're too good to pass up)!

Okay, Ohio readers, there's a resource for you! Susan and Joe, congratulations on your 50 pounds lost!!

Mary Giese writes:

I have a few discoveries. First, Hershey and Reese's have both come out with low carb chocolate products. Hershey's has the dark and light mini chocolate bars in little bags like the Stovers and the milk chocolate with almonds. Reese's, of course, has the SF peanut butter cups in the mini size. I found these at Walmart and think they are pretty good.

I have moved to Little Rock, Arkansas from the Kansas City area where Diet Rite was easy to find. Here it is much harder and I have found diet Hansen's soda in several flavors as a substitute. I have tried the peach and ginger so far and like both. They also come in kiwi-strawberry, black cherry and a lime flavor--maybe tangerine lime. Unfortunately no cola. They are sweetened with Splenda. I found mine at Drug Emporium, which, as a plug, has an entire low carb section.

By the way, a question which you can maybe answer in your next issue. Does the bulk Splenda have a different carb count? I noticed the texture difference but what is the product that they use to make each. While it doesn't matter for a single serving, over time, slight differences in carb count can add up and maybe slow someone's weight loss.

I agree that the sugar-free Reese's cups are indistinguishable from the regular sugar kind - and I was a serious peanut butter cup addict in my youth. Really great stuff. I'm not as crazy about Hershey's chocolate; I prefer Pure De-Lite, which is still the best sugar-free chocolate I've ever had. Unbelievable. Especially the truffles.

As for your question about Splenda: Yes, the bulk granular Splenda is different from the stuff in the packets. The packets are sweeter, while the bulk stuff has been - well, bulked - with malto-dextrin, a carbohydrate, to make it the same sweetness as sugar. This makes it very easy to figure out how much granular Splenda to use in a recipe, but also means that 1 cup of granular Splenda has 24 grams of carbohydrate. That's not an inconsiderable amount, but it's still just 1/8 the carbohydrate in sugar - a real improvement.

Just so you know, all the recipes in my cookbooks assume you're using the bulk granular Splenda. Doesn't mean you can't use the stuff in the packets, but a little arithmetic will be in order. I believe that 1 packet is supposed to have the same sweetness of 2 teaspoons of sugar (I checked the Splenda website, but couldn't find a reference, and I'm not running out to the grocery store to check at 11 pm, when it's about a zillion degrees below zero outside!) So three packets would equal 2 tablespoons of the granular stuff, and 24 packets would equal a cup. But check to the box to make sure I'm right about that 2 teaspoon thing, okay?

Lisa Nowak writes:

Dear Dana,

I am not, by nature, a "Faux Food/Low Carb Products" kind of gal. I do better in mind, body, and spirit with an eating plan that focuses mainly on whole, natural foods. With that disclaimer , I have to admit that my favorite low carb discovery of 2003 are the Soy and Flax Seed Tortilla Chips from Trader Joe's.

First of all, at less than $2 per bag, the price is most definitely right! After feeling as if I'm paying for someone's vacation home when buying most of the outrageously priced low carb "extras," the entry of low carb products from Trader Joe's in the market has been a welcome advancement.

Secondly, these chips fill a spot that I've missed from day 1 of my 5 years of low carbing. There has been NOTHING to take the place of a good tortilla chip to scoop up a big dollop of guacomole or fresh salsa, not to mention the fact that a small plate of nachos has been completely out of the question, unless I was willing to go off plan for them. With a decent sized, fibrous protein packed serving coming in at under 8 grams of useable carbs (about 40% less than normal tortilla chips), I feel as if the search for my holy grail of good tasting low carb options has been fulfilled.

Third, let's not forget the most important factor...taste! With the crunch, size, texture, and shape of a normal chip, these are by far the most satisfying options I've ever found. They have little speckles of flax seed throughout, which give them a nuttier, but far from unpleasant, taste. They are extremely filling...no doubt due to the soy protein used.

These chips do contain stone ground yellow corn, so for those who cannot tolerate ANY grains on their way of eating, this might be a problem. Also, I have mixed feelings about those who've had "trigger food" issues with salty, crunchy snack foods being able to use these to their advantage. They could be more trouble than they're worth. But for those of us who have just hoped to have a "chip" to crumble over their taco salad, to serve with dips at a party, to be the platform for a protein and veggie packed plate of nachos, this is their chip. Thank you, Trader Joe's! :-)

Thank you, Trader Joe's, indeed! I've tried the low carb twists from the new "Joe's Lows" line, and they're near-addictive. Really wonderful. Trader Joe's is such a fabulous, fabulous store - indeed, one of the few things that keeps Bloomington, Indiana from being Heaven On Earth is that we don't yet have a Trader Joe's. (We do have Sahara Mart, which rocks, and Bloomingfoods, arguably the world's best health food co-op.)

If you live near a Trader Joe's and haven't checked it out yet, what are you waiting for? Wonderful things await you - and at reasonable prices, too.

For those of you who don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, I'll reiterate my rave review of Keto brand low carb tortilla chips. To me, they're indistinguishable from the "real thing."

Amy Volak writes:

1. Ruby Tuesday's Low Carb Cheesecake...if you figure out their recipe, I would be forever grateful!

2. Using those awful pre-made Atkins shakes as coffee creamer! Oh yum, my friend and I share a can throughout the day at work and it really makes a great cup of coffee. Who would have thought!

If I'm going to clone Ruby Tuesday's Low Carb Cheesecake, I'll have to try it first - and it would be easier if we had a Ruby Tuesday's in town, which we don't. So I'll keep my eyes open for a Ruby Tuesday's when I'm traveling, and see what I can do.

Great idea about using the Atkins shakes for creamer! Vanilla is a natural, but I bet chocolate would be good, too.

More next issue!

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

Low-Carb Common Sense,

I loved this book. It made me laugh and it made me think. The book will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about low-carb living. I tried to read other low-carb diet books and I usually couldn't make it passed the first chapter. This book will keep you interested! It renewed my interest in low-carb eating and it has given me the tools necessary to make it a life-long decision. Buy the book if you are thinking about eating low-carb or need to have your interest renewed!

Kelly Hatfield, Carrollton, Texas

To read this and other reviews of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds, visit Amazon.com:


While we love Amazon, you should know you can also get How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds at bookstores everywhere.

Product Review

I've been meaning to review Carb Countdown Dairy Beverages, by Hood, but some readers beat me to it!

Nancy Zarr writes:

In response to your request of favorite new products, hands down I think the Carb Countdown Dairy Beverage by Hood is one of the best things I have tried yet. At first they just carried it at Wal-Mart but now all the stores carry it. I particularly like the chocolate milk and think it makes a great high protein breakfast if blended with a scoop of protein powder which tastes like and has the texture of a malt. On its own it is high in protein, low in carb, and great in taste and texture. I don't care for the regular milk as well, but imagine in the summer months I will use it more with ice and frozen berries for smoothies. I have never been a milk drinker so it wasn't something that I missed when I started a low carb lifestyle 2 years ago. However this product is good enough I buy it on a consistent basis. I haven't tried cooking with it so if you ever review this product I would be interested in knowing if it is good for cooking. Many thanks for your great newsletters!

And Lynn Frazier-Hines writes:

Hey Dana~

Just wanted to tell people about something that I came across. I was little worried at first about how it would taste, but it is REALLY good!

It is called "Carb Countdown" dairy beverage and it is made by Hood. As someone who never liked the taste of skim milk and always opted for whole milk, I expected this to taste like watered down milk. Especially at 3 grams of carbs per 1 cup serving. Well, I was very pleasantly surprised. It was thick and creamy, kinda tasted like half and half. But you have to remember to shake it first, or the taste is less that delicious. They have a chocolate version too. I live in New England, and was surprised to find it in the dairy section at a grocery store in Texas when I was visiting for the holidays. So for those of you who miss a good glass of cold milk, look for this stuff! You won't be sorry! Oh, and Dana, you can cook with it too!

I am in 100% agreement: Carb Countdown Dairy Beverages are terrific; they became instant staples in my kitchen. My husband and I are both crazy about the chocolate "milk" - indeed, I had to get up and pour myself a glass while I was writing this! It's rich and thick, and very chocolatey. I'm thinking it would make great cocoa, too - just pour some in a mug and zap it in the microwave. The plain "milk" really does taste like milk. I eat it pretty regularly on low carb cereal, and I can't tell the difference between the Carb Countdown and regular milk. No weird, "off" texture or flavor at all. A real winner. And yes, you can cook with it!

Carb Countdown is made from milk and cream, with some - well, "milk components" is the term that comes to mind - added: calcium casienate, whey protein concentrate, buttermilk. Also some less appealing stuff - disodium phosphate and mono and diglycerides; I confess I don't know what these do. Carrageenan and locust bean gum are both natural thickeners. It also has some sucralose and ace-K (a lesser-known artificial sweetener) no doubt to replace the sweetness from the lactose. Oh, and the usual vitamin D, to help your bones use the calcium.

It's good to note here that lactose is a relatively low impact carb; if you're on a diet that's only moderately carb restricted, or you're on maintenance, I don't see why you couldn't have a glass of the real thing now and then, unless you're lactose intolerant. But this fills a real need for folks who have to keep their carbs to a bare minimum, and, come to think of it, for the lactose-intolerant, as well. Just three grams of carbohydrate in an eight-ounce glass.

I found Carb Countdown Dairy Beverages in the dairy case of the local Marsh grocery store, so look in your grocer's dairy case - and if they're not carrying it yet, go to customer service and ask why not?

Reader Review of Dana Carpender's Carb Gram Counter

The best Carb Counter I've found yet!

If you are on any type of Lo-carb plan, you've got to get this book. Perfect small size but far more thorough than anything. She has even added the fast food menu items made lo-carb; for example if you order a sandwich at Wendy's and remove the ketchup and bread, how many calories, fat grams and carbs are left...this is fantastic for those of us that still like to know or have an idea on general calories we are consuming. I have the small carb counter that came w/the new Atkins book and that's fine, but this will replace it and stay in my purse. Highly recommend this!

Kelly A. Olexa from Crystal Lake, Illinois

Lake County, huh? That's my old stomping grounds! Thanks, Kelly.

To see this and other reviews (well, at the moment, just one other review) of Dana Carpender's Carb Gram Counter, visit Amazon:


If you've purchased Dana Carpender's Carb Gram Counter, we'd sure love for you to review it while you're there!

Plus, as always, you can find this book in brick-and-mortar bookstores, too.

Has Atkins Changed?

The New York Times caused quite a flap recently by reporting that Atkins Nutritionals had recently issued guidelines, saying that Atkins dieters should get only 20% of their calories from saturated fats. They made this sound like a big change - as if the Atkins folks were back-pedaling on Dr. Atkins assertion that we could eat meat, eggs, and cheese freely, with no worry about saturated fat.

This, however, is simply not so. The Atkins dietary program remains unchanged. Here's the deal:

The average Atkins dieter will get roughly 60% of his or her calories from fat. But all foods with fat in them contain a combination of kinds of fat - saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. The notion that a steak, for instance, contains only saturated fat is bunk. According to the USDA Nutrient Database, 100 grams of sirloin steak contains 6.14 grams of saturated fat, 6.63 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat. In other words, less than half of the fat in that steak is saturated. Bacon, often seized on by low carb detractors as the ultimate in dietary insanity, also derives over half its fat from monounsaturates - one slice of cooked bacon contains 1.1 grams saturated fat, 1.48 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 0.36 grams polyunsaturated fats.

So less than half of the fat from the meat we eat is saturated. But we don't eat only red meat, do we? 100 grams of roasted chicken, eaten with the yummy, fatty skin, contains 3.79 grams of saturated fat, 5.34 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 2.97 grams of polyunsaturated fat. And 100 grams of farmed salmon contains 2.18 grams of saturated fat, with 3.87 grams of monounsaturates, and 3.93 grams of polyunsaturates.

Butter, too, is a mixture of saturates and unsaturates. One pat of butter contains 2.04 grams of saturated fat, 1.67 grams monounsaturated fat, and 0.143 grams polyunsaturated fat.

But these aren't the only high fat foods that Atkins encouraged, by any means. Olive oil may be used liberally on salads and in sauteing - and of course, olive oil is very high in monounsaturates: One tablespoon contains 9.97 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 1.35 grams of polyunsaturated fat, with just 1.8 grams of saturates. An ounce of pecan halves contains just 1.75 grams of saturated fat, but 11.57 grams of monounsaturates, and 6.13 grams of polyunsaturates.

I trust you get the picture: A person who is eating broadly of the many foods allowed on the Atkins diet, including not just red meat and butter, but poultry, fish, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and the like, will not be getting a preponderance of his or her fat calories in the form of saturated fat. He or she will naturally be getting a balance of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats, plus, of course, protein, and however many grams of carbohydrate they can consume without passing their personal critical carb level. Indeed, it's likely that without even trying, most Atkins dieters get somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% of their calories from saturated fat - which is, of course, where the New York Times figure came from.

No change, just a rearranging of old information to make it look new.

Cooking Low Carb!

Here's something easy and new to do with a steak, or even a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Make a simple:

Marco Polo Steak

1 cup Italian salad dressing (vinaigrette style, not creamy)

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 teaspoons grated ginger root

2 tablespoons Splenda

4 drops blackstrap molasses

1 1/2 - 2 pounds steak - rib eye, sirloin, or whatever you have that's tender and fit for broiling.

Mix together everything but the steak. Using a fork, pierce the steak all over. Then either put it in a big zipper-lock plastic bag, or in a shallow, non-reactive pan. Either way, pour the marinade over it. If you're using the bag, press the air out as you seal the bag. Turn your steak over a few times to make sure it's coated, then let it marinate for at least an hour, and more won't hurt.

When dinner time rolls around, pull out your steak, and pour off the marinade into a bowl. Broil your steak as close as you can to your broiler, set on "high," basting it once or twice with the reserved marinade.

Assuming two pounds of steak, you'll have 5 servings. My programs says 6 grams of carbohydrate per serving, but that's assuming you eat all the marinade, which you don't, by any means. I'd guess no more than 3 grams per serving. 34 grams of protein.

While the steak is cooking, make

Marco Polo Stir Fried Vegetables

2 tablespoons peanut oil, or other oil for sauteing

2 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup reserved Marco Polo Marinade

In a heavy skillet or wok, over high heat, stir fry the vegetables in the oil until the broccoli is just tender-crisp. Stir in the reserved marinade, and let the whole thing cook for another couple of minutes - this will kill any raw steak germs still in the marinade. Serve with your Marco Polo Steak!

4 servings, each with 4 grams carbohydrate and 1 gram fiber, for a usable carb count of 3 grams. 2 grams protein.

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


Return to Archive Contents

To request a full-text version of this issue by e-mail, just send a message to: htt040202@holdthetoast.com (Message and subject can be blank.)