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The Low Carb Luxury Newsletter: Volume I / Number 1: October 07, 2000
Issue Date:
October 7, 2000

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In this issue:
  1. Welcome and Overview
  2. Lora's Column
  3. Richard's Corner
  4. Recipes!
  5. Guest "Rant"
  6. Tips for Low Carbers
B elcome to the premiere issue of the Low Carb Luxury Newsletter!
It ended up debuting a bit later than we'd originally anticipated because of the tornado that struck our town, so I thank all of you for bearing with me.

Subscription response has been amazing and I hope we can live up to your expectations. I've given a lot of thought to the information we'd be offering in each issue as well as the format of the presentation. You should assume that it will evolve and find its own identity, but at least for now, here's what to expect:

We anticipate publishing 2 newsletters per month, but not on a rigidly set schedule. Two weeks after a newsletter has been circulated, it will be available at the site as a "Back Issue". The on-site version will be graphic/html and may include some photos and/or graphic illustrations. The original e-mail issue will be text only. This way we won't be causing problems for people with various e-mail programs and unforgiving POP Mail servers. Subscribing and unsubscribing information will always be at the bottom of each newsletter. Plus, we'll always stay open to suggestions and questions. Just e-mail us at Lastly, the length of any given newsletter has been cause for some debate. Some people have mentioned to us that if not kept very short, some AOL subscribers might get their issue as an "attachment". Most people don't mind this, but some do. If this turns out to be a problem for you, please call it to our attention. We want to present you with a valuable digital "magazine" each issue, and we can't do that and keep it really short.

As I write this, I have been on my low-carb regimen for nearly 20 months; closing in on 2 years. I have lost nearly 100 pounds and am not the same person I was when the journey began. I don't just mean there's "less of me", (though there assuredly is), but I mean that nearly every aspect of my life has changed. And this is something I have heard time and again from others as they walk this path. Since I met this challenge as someone who had more than 100 pounds to lose, let me look at this from that perspective and keep in mind that those with similar goals — met or not — may relate to this better than those with 10-15 lbs to lose.

The beginnings of the diet (henceforth referred to as the WOL – way of life) are fraught with the greatest likelihood of failure. If you've ridden that roller coaster, you're already aware of this, but you may not have truly looked at the reasons why...

First (and this part is true of any diet plan) – in the beginning, the situation is this: You're "fat" and you can't have the foods you want. It's like a double-whammy. You're not in a rational place where you can see that this is a "long-run" kind of thing. At that time, you simply see that others all around you are eating chips, popcorn, candy bars, baked potatoes and Frosted Flakes. It's easy to just say "to heck with it" and give in to the very "comfort foods" that ease the pain of living inside a fat body every minute of every day. Losing the weight is *never* an instant gratification kind of thing. But food is. And when you're low, depressed, and feeling deprived, you reach for something to make it feel better — now.

Someone once sent me a quote they'd seen online that I took to heart and always remember. It keeps me on the straight and narrow more than I can tell you. And it applies here:
"The chief cause of unhappiness and failure is trading what we want most for what we want at the moment." Does that feel like it hits home with you? If it does, use it as a tool – even as a mantra, in those tough beginnings.

The second reason for early-on-failure is one that you've probably been blaming on yourself as a "lack of willpower". What it actually is, is an addiction — both physical and psychological — to sugar. And keep in mind I use the term "sugar" as an umbrella term to reference all sugars (from fructose, honey, table sugar and corn syrup to white flour and potatoes.) I receive so many letters from beginning dieters who tell me they probably won't be able to continue the diet because it makes them tired, shaky, headachy, nauseous, and weak. Sadly, many of their doctors tell them it's their body's need for carbohydrate and that this diet is making them sick. Of course in reality, it's the body going through withdrawal from what has acted like a drug to them. While time and space restraints prevent my elaborating on the drug-like effects of sugar here, I strongly suggest you read William Dufty's "Sugar Blues" and Nancy Appleton's "Lick the Sugar Habit" - two books that had a strong impact on me.

It can take from 3 days to 2 weeks to get past all withdrawal symptoms depending on the person and assuming there's no 'cheating', but once you ride it out, you'll find you feel better than you've ever felt and the desire for "those kinds of foods" will be greatly lessened or completely gone. It's at this point where you have the most emotional strength to commit for a lifetime.

The last common reason for early failure is sabotage - either from yourself or from those around you. The various scenarios involving sabotage are a lengthy subject in themselves, so I will follow this up in a later column where I can devote the subject matter to it entirely, but for now, suffice it to say, get the "poison" out of the house; read, read, read (never go into this without reading at least one of the plans – Atkins, Protein Power, etc.) and surround yourself with supportive people wherever possible.

Low Carbing is gaining more and more acceptance every day, and with each week, more products geared to our lifestyle are introduced. Today's beginner will have an easier time of it than I did. And I had an easier time than I would have a year or two earlier. Most importantly, we have each other. The internet has given us a support system of great value and I recommend you use it.

Until next issue...


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Welcome to my first column in the Low Carb Luxury Newsletter. My "corner" will be a regular feature of each issue of the newsletter. I hope I can add both a 'male perspective' as well as insight from someone who began as the support person for a new low-carber.

Let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Richard Ruffner, and I am the husband of the curator of Low Carb Luxury, Lora. We've been married for 12 years, and have embarked on this low carb journey together.

When my wife began this WOL, I was supportive of her. But I didn't at first embrace it as my own personal lifestyle. However, after being exposed to it over the first few months, things began to sink in. I began to fully realize the disastrous effects that a high carbohydrate/high sugar diet can do to ones body.

At that time, while I was not significantly overweight, I had actually begun to develop a noticeable tummy, and it started to worry me. I'd learned that this is a strong predictor of heart attack in men. I didn't really approach this WOL with any set plan. However — I decided to give up sugar.

I was a heavy sugar consumer, often downing several cans, or bottles of sugary soda (Pepsi, Mountain Dew, etc.) each day. And this doesn't even scratch the surface when you include the candy, pies, french fries, white flour (think of all those hamburger buns!) and more...

I decided the best way to kick the sugar habit was cold turkey. I was one of those heretofore healthy young men who'd always thought diet soft drinks were "nasty". The "aftertaste" of the artificial sweeteners turned me off. For the next two months, my only drink was water. This served to "flush" the sugar addiction out of my system, and get rid of the taste that I was so very hooked on. The first two or three days without sugar and sodas was quite difficult for me — I was indeed coming down off a strong addiction.

After that two month period, I tried a diet soda again. My wife had ordered some of the Slim Jones Diet Lime Sodas sweetened with Splenda. I was surprised that the aftertaste I had discerned before (comparing it to sugar) wasn't there at all and I really enjoyed the drink! So I started introducing diet soda back into my diet (though usually choosing the Splenda sweetened ones over the aspartame ones.) I promise to write a future column specifically about my observations and opinions on sugarfree sodas and other drinks.

At that time however, I was still eating what I thought were the more "healthy" ('complex') carbohydrates. So after learning so much and reading all the research I could, I made the decision to go truly low carb.

It's now six months later, and I've dropped from 165 to 143 lbs and feel great. My problems sleeping and my discomfort in my own body have disappeared. I have more energy, I don't feel a need for a "nap" after every meal, and even my hair and skin look better.

This is definitely the way I'll be eating for the rest of my life. It truly is "a Way Of Life". I'm not missing a thing and we eat delicious, satisfying foods every day. Why would anyone want to do anything else?


Recently I've started getting letters requesting recipes for serving during the coming Holiday Season. One fellow low-carber (thanks, Julie!) asked if we could find a way to make the Strawberry Crunch-topped Junior's Cheesecake low enough in carbs that she could serve it for a party. For those of you unfamiliar with Junior's, it's a world famous restaurant on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, and are well known for this cheesecake. The unique thing about this cheesecake incarnation is that it's built on a thin sponge cake layer. It seems complex but actually comes together easily (though not quickly.)

We played with and altered the recipe here and there lowering carbs to their minimum while preserving the taste and texture. We think we have a success! It's *very* elegant for serving to large groups as it serves twenty! While we didn't list it into the recipe as some folks may not have it onhand, you can further reduce the carbs by using some liquid sweetener — especially the liquid Splenda — in the cream cheese filling.

Ingredients for One 9-inch Sponge Cake Layer:
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 extra-large eggs separated
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 drops pure lemon extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Junior's Cheesecake Preheat oven to 350°F. and generously butter a 9-inch springform pan. Sift the vital wheat gluten flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

Beat the egg yolks together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. Then, with the mixer still running, gradually add the 1/3 cup of Splenda and continue beating until thick light-yellow ribbons form in the bowl, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts.

Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand until no more white flecks appear. Then blend in the butter.

In a clean bowl, using clean dry beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons Splenda and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites should stand up in stiff peaks, but not be dry).

Stir about 1/3 cup of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites (don't worry if a few white specks remain).

Gently spoon the batter into the pan. Bake the cake just until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched, only about 10 minutes (watch carefully!). Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack while you continue making the cheesecake filling. Do not remove the cake from the pan.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 4  8-ounce packages cream cheese (NOT low-fat or "light"), at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups Splenda
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon sugarfree pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the Splenda, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 mintues, then beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese.

Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of the Splenda, then beat in the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

Gently spoon the cheese filling on top of the baked sponge cake layer. Place the springform pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Bake the cheesecake until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan, about 1 hour.

Cool the cake on a wire rack for 1 hour. (While the cake is baking and cooling, make the macaroon crunch via the directions below.)

Ingredients for Macaroon Crunch:
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts (almonds, pecans, and/or walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup grated unsweetened coconut
     (soaked in liquid sweetener overnight, drained and dried.)

Ingredients for Strawberry Topping:
  • 1 quart large ripe strawberries
  • 1 cup low-carb sugarfree strawberry jelly
     (Jok n Al's, e.d. smith's, or Elwoods)
  • 1/2 cup low-carb sugarfree apricot preserves (brands above)

To make the macaroon crunch: Spread the nuts and coconut on a baking sheet and toast in a 350°F. oven until golden and crunchy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set the crunch aside to cool.

To prepare the strawberries: Wash, hull, and sort through the strawberries, then pat them dry with paper towels. Slice berries in half or fourths lengthwise. Starting at the outside edge of the cheesecake, arrange the berries slices, in rows, with ends pointing toward the edge of the cake.

Continue until the top of the cake is completely covered by strawberries.

Now make the strawberry topping: Melt the strawberry jelly and apricot preserves together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Strain and drizzle the warm jelly over the berries.

Sprinkle the macaroon crunch in a 1 1/2-inch border around the edge of the cheesecake, covering the berries around the outside edge. Loosely cover the entire cake with plastic wrap, being careful not to let the glaze stick to the wrap.

Refrigerate the cake until it's completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the cake from the pan and serve it chilled. Wrap any leftover cake in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Total carbs in cheesecake — without topping: 89 / with topping: 127
Serves 20 – 6.35 carbs per serving w/topping; 4.45 without topping.



NOTE: Each issue will contain a "rant" wherein an opinion related to low-carb no-sugar diets can be aired in a free forum. A number of people have approached us about writing some "Op-Ed" pieces, so here's the first, written by my son Stuart:

Enemy Unseen:

William Shakespeare wrote that "There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy". One of those things is betrayal. We in this society are all victims of a conspiracy on a global scale. Each one of us, are as Julius Caesar, betrayed by those we have trusted for the entirety of our lives.

The sugar industry was the originator of the slave trade. Long before cotton was grown on the soil of the United States, sugar cane was planted, harvested, and processed by slaves to feed an ever-growing global addiction.

Unless you intentionally make a concerted effort to avoid sugar in your diet, it is in nearly everything you purchase to eat. Its addictive properties cause you to crave more and more. The need for sugar-laden foods mimic the cravings of any drug addiction.

I've heard it mentioned by food service workers that if they need to boost sales of their product, they simply boost the sugar content. Remind anyone of the cigarette companies with nicotine?

And how does this marketing work? They hide it behind the cute face of the Nestlé Quik Bunny, the sweet and pudgy doughboy, or the trusted "healthy" face of a Quaker. The sugar-pushers will gladly bargain yours and your child's health away for a few extra (billion) dollars.

The effects of sugar on the body are well documented. The fact that it is in reality an antinutrient are best explained by Dr. Atkins himself:

"The quintessential antinutrient is sugar. It is 100 percent carbohydrate, and therefore contains no vitamins or minerals. Nevertheless, it needs to be metabolized instantly. The stores of all the many nutrients involved in processing its constituent sugars, glucose and fructose, into ready energy are depleted in this process. As a result, these nutrients must be supplied from other dietary sources... To cite just one example, the critical glucose-metabolizing mineral chromium is severely depleted by consuming sugar."

The health-robbing properties of a sugar eating society are in plain view with results ranging from deadly serious (heart attack, stroke, diabetes) to discomfortable and problematic (heartburn, acid reflux, tooth decay...)

Enter the pharmaceutical companies:

Prilosec (an antiulcerant prescribed for chronic heartburn and acid reflux) is now the Number One prescription drug in the United States as well as other parts of the world; gaining in use every year. As of February of this year, its sales had increased 24% over the previous year for a $5.91 billion sales record.

When you eliminate sugar (in all forms) from your diet, and reduce your carbohydrate intake, heartburn and acid reflux nearly always vanish within days. Many diabetics see a complete reversal of their symptoms while on a low-carb, no sugar diet. Ask yourself "how much does a drug company make from the sales from just one of their diabetes medications (such as glucatrol) in each year? How much do they make selling Phentermine and Meridia for fighting (unsuccessfully) obesity?"

Add to it all the profits on the drugs to fight the effects of obesity, (from heart medication to blood pressure pills) and you begin to see one indisputable fact: There's a lot of money to be made in keeping us fat, keeping us addicted, keeping us sick...

As long as sugar is in our diets, those drugs (and others like them) will reside in our medicine cabinets.

At least Julius Caesar knew in his last moments that he had been betrayed by conspiracy — betrayed by those whom he trusted most. People who die of sugar-related (and even seemingly unrelated) diseases never know who and what killed them. They never get to gaze into the eyes of a Rice Krispy elf and query, "et tu, Crackle?"



  • When visiting salad bars (like those at Ryan's Steakhouse and others), you can usually find a "taco bar". Take the opportunity to make a taco salad using the seasoned meat on a bed of lettuce, and top with tomatoes, cheese, green onions, etc.

  • Missing the crunchy snackability of potato chips? Try cheese chips! You can use many flavors of cheese, but to get the closest to potato chips, try this:

    Take the square slices of Kraft Swiss Cheese (the ones that are "real" swiss - (See reference photo), and cut or tear each in quarters. I take a round of parchment paper and arrange the cheese squares in a circle about 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the paper - using 6 little squares in all. In my microwave, exactly 2 minutes makes these perfectly crisp and lacy, about the size of a large potato chip (they become round) and no browning or hot spots at all. I do a large batch of them and place them in a Ziploc bag. They become my "potato chips" for the week and are great with Dean's French Onion Dip (or any LC dip!) I also did a batch by sprinkling Coney Island Chili seasonings on before microwaving, and they came out just like Chili Cheese Chips! A bag of these are great to take to a movie.

    Do NOT try to make these on waxed paper. They'll make a terrible mess. Parchment works best, but I've been told the shiny side of commercial freezer paper (deli/butcher shop type) works well too.
  • Another idea for "potato" chips: Buy jicama (sometimes referred to as a "yam bean root", [it's a mexican veggie that mimics potatoes in many ways without being high in carbs.]) Remove the peel including the fibrous flesh directly under the skin. Cut in thirds and slice thin. Fry in hot oil until crisp and salt (sea salt is great here) while still hot.

  • Or make this appetizer with the jicama: You can pile the fried slices on a plate and cover with cheese, bacon, green onion, diced tomato and sour cream to make "mock loaded fries"! (before adding tomato and sour cream, broil for few moments to melt cheese.)

Well, that's it for this issue. Being the first issue, it was probably a lot longer than future ones will be. We'll keep the content varied and always want to hear from you!


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