November 29, 2000
In this issue:|
hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and that many of you|
were able to use some of the suggestions and recipes in our Thanksgiving Planning area. After all is said and done, it was really about all we have to be thankful for. And while we have friends, family and loved ones that top the list, I am mindful of the contributions all of you have made to our efforts. Our site visitors and newsletter subscribers provide us with great feedback and meaningful challenges. And the merchants that work with us to introduce us to new products and to strive to give us all what we miss, deserve a nod as well. So, it's on to Christmas! In our yearly tradition, we've debuted the Low Carb Luxury Christmas Planning area. You can find it here.
Diet Is A State Of Mind
To an overweight person, the word "diet" triggers a reaction of such intensity and dismay that it can be a deciding factor in the fear of even trying "yet again".
Some seem to feel that the first three letters of the word "diet" are a threat. Indeed, they spell "die", the threat of eternal doom.
But let's take a look at the meaning of "dieting" and why we see it as we do. The word "diet" comes from the Greek word "díaita" (or "diaeta"), meaning "way of life". It went into Old Latin and later into French. From French it has come into English. Although its meaning has broadened, it truly still means a way of life. Of course, according to The American Heritage Dictionary, common meaning of diet is "the food and drink consumed by a person or an animal." And Webster says "The course of living or nourishment; what is eaten and drunk habitually..."
So it follows that we can look at our "diet" as a call to "give up" certain foods we've come to love (and therefore feel deprived,) or to simply look at it as how we choose to eat and drink each day, over the long term — our way of life.
It's all a matter of perception. But make no mistake about it — how you look at this - today and every day is a measuring stick for your success. To lend a little perspective, let me take a page from my own book, and let's see how many of you can relate to this.
While I flirted with dieting ever since high school (I had the impression that at 103 lbs, I was too heavy!) I didn't seriously feel the urgency of a need for weight loss until many years later when it began to affect my sense of self. It was during these times that I first began to promise myself that this time would be different and that I would succeed. I would lie in bed at night and dream of all I would do when I was thin. The dreams alone sustained me for some period of time each dieting trial, but eventually — either days, or weeks later — I would succumb to temptation and fall into that abyss that is failure. And that's how I saw it too. I felt I had failed. It didn't once occur to me that perhaps the diet had failed me!
Constantly beating myself up about "being too weak", or having no willpower was even harsher than those around me that looked disapprovingly when they spotted me with a cheeseburger and fries.
What I never did was to find a diet I loved. One that I could have fun with, mould to suit my needs, and make a part of the joyful side of my life. When I finally embraced a low-carbohydrate nutrition plan, I was able to do just that! And that my friends, is what made this time different. What turned a string of failures into long term success.
People have actually asked me, "how can you do this day after day? Never having a candy bar, never having a sandwich; never having any of the good food in life?" Yes, that's an actual question I got, just in this past week. Well, here's my reply: It's not a prison sentence. It's a daily celebration of delicious foods. The fact that it also brings me good health and terrific weight management is a bonus and a blessing. But the very question being asked illustrates how the public views this way of eating, and how essential to daily pleasure and comfort they consider sugary starchy foods to be.
They see this diet (indeed the media portrays it this way) as people sitting around eating a pound of greasy bacon, with a side of 6 eggs fried in that same bacon grease. They see us as shunning veggies and fruits and practically scooping lard out of cans and into our mouths. They tell us we are clogging our arteries and are heart attacks waiting to happen.
In reality, breakfast might consist of three slices of crisp bacon, a couple of poached eggs, and maybe a slice of cantaloupe. Or even a piece of toast made with healthy high protein flours. Later, a cool crispy salad for lunch, maybe with grilled chicken on top. Dinner could be salmon, a strip steak, or grilled chops with sides like asparagus, broccoli, or cauliflower. We might have a slice of cheesecake for dessert, or a bowl of fresh strawberries.
It's all perception. Noting those REAL items I eat, this person said, "That doesn't sound like what I know about low-carb diets! That sounds like healthy, normal food." Well, guess what — our food is healthy, normal food. A diet of Twinkies, fat-free cookies, and breads made with bleached white flours is anything BUT. I further explained the wide array of new low-carb specialty foods that mean we can have more traditional indulgences as well from candy bars to bread mixes to ice cream! She seemed surprised. It went totally against her perception.
So, there are two perceptions that must be kept on track and in line with reality in order for you to succeed. First, those close to you need to truly understand in order to support. So educate them. Be a walking advertisement for the joys of great cooking and reaping what you sow.
But even more importantly, keep you own perceptions in the light. When you begin to feel deprived because your low-fat dieting friend is having Hershey's syrup ("As always, a low fat food!"), just remember what you can have. Look at your possibilities! And even more importantly, remember how you feel now. Love this way of eating, and success is assured.
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The Day-To-Day Perspective...
The parade of Krispy Kreme donuts. The homemade baked banana bread. All the Halloween candy that the kids didn't eat. Fund raisers with all kinds of sugar-filled junk. The smell of popcorn wafting through the air. Just another day at the office.
The low carbohydrate diet may be fairly popular on both coasts, but in much of middle America it mainly has yet to arrive.
I work in an office with about 20 co-workers, and I'm the only dedicated low carber. To be fair, I'm not the only one interested in the WOL, but it really hasn't caught fire. There are also a lot of critics in my midst — especially those who believe in the "fat makes you fat" principle.
I've found myself drawn into many a debate with several coworkers over the nutritional merits of my diet and others. Several coworkers use the women's magazines and the diet du jour ("7 Days to Boost Your Metabolism", et al.) Has it occurred to anyone that maybe there's a new "diet" each month because they don't really work? Hmmmm...
If I open the refrigerator, it is filled with "low fat this", and "low fat that". America has surely been brainwashed into thinking that this is the healthy way to eat. One just has to look at the typical office fridge and to prove the point. But of course, beyond the 'low fat' products (filled with sugar, but low in fat!) are the products that unabashedly boast of their sweet decadence — the candy bars, the yogurts, all the trappings of the Standard American Diet (note that it's not a coincidence those initials spell SAD.)
Several coworkers, impressed with my Wife's weight loss, as well as mine, have asked to borrow the books (Atkins, Protein Power, etc.). I've heard nothing more from one person, but another coworker tried it for about two weeks, dropped 7+ lbs, but when her husband brought home Krispy Kreme donuts (noticing a theme here?) that was it for her diet. She has not returned to this way of eating.
Another coworker was told by her personal trainer to take up low-carbing. She hasn't done so as yet. This personal trainer couldn't fully commit however, and advised her not to low-carb while working out - she'd need the sugar to have any energy.
I've made a little headway with some of my coworkers, and some understand and even respect it a lot more, but there are some that I've just had to "agree to disagree". Maybe, as further research and further public acceptance of this WOL continues, there might be some minds changed here. I'm pretty strong in my beliefs, and I've got the blood work, and the waistline to show the good results.
I'd love to hear other's office-dieting experiences.
Last issue we brought you an array of Holiday Cookie recipes and we got a great response from them. People want more recipes for things to serve through the holidays, and with good reason. The Holidays are always a time when great food takes a seat up front and extravagance is the word of the day. One of the ways to make meals feel rich, decadent, and festive is to make good use of sauces and gravies! But let's not forget the sweet stuff. So we'll explore dessert sauces as well!
Sauces are the savior of most every cook. They add a nuance of flavor that titillates the palate, and conjures up delightful dreams of the grandeur of a bygone era. They can turn the simplest fare into a gourmet treat. So, here are seven really terrific favorites:
White Cheese Sauce
Sharp Cheese Sauce
And now, three luscious dessert sauces for that fruit craving!
Rum Custard Sauce
Believe it or not, I get mail too. I hadn't counted on that happening as a consequence of my writing columns (otherwise known as "rants" in my case) for this newsletter, but it's been increasing in volume. One of the things I notice is the number of men writing that relate to my perspective, or, on the other hand, question it. One that falls into the later category came across my virtual desk the other day that prompts me to write this column. Here's a snippet of that letter and my response follows:
"...so, I don't see how you can recommend and even fight so passionately for a diet that cannot help but raise a person's cholesterol levels. With the high fats being consumed by those following this plan, what keeps all the lowcarbers from dropping dead of heart attacks?"
Before beginning this way of life, I did a lot of reading. Some people say they "read the books", but I have to tell you, I read tons of them. I am not a person who steps lightly into anything, nor one that believes everything he hears and reads. So I wanted lots of viewpoints and medically sound reasoning. Let me share with you a little of what I've found from my exploration of the truth — from a cholesterol concern perspective.
Epictetus said in 130 A.D. that "It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows." That statement is just as true today and is the chief cause of the perpetuation of myth — from "fat makes you fat" to "all low-carbers lose is water weight." But let's look at the cholesterol myth:
Cholesterol has been demonized and marched through society's courtyard to be publicly stoned. But the truth is — whether or not you know this — cholesterol is essential for life.
Cholesterol is an element from which many of our hormones are made. Vitamin D is made by the body from cholesterol in our skin that is exposed to sunlight. Cholesterol is used in the insulating membranes that cover our nerve systems.
Did you know that your body produces three to four times more cholesterol than you eat? The production of cholesterol increases when you eat less cholesterol and conversely, decreases when you eat a lot. This explains why the "prudent" diet cannot lower cholesterol more than on average a few percent, and when done in conjunction with a high sugar diet, actually raises cholesterol.
Let me refer you to a few quotes from and related to the now-famous and often quoted "Framingham Study":
"In Framingham, Massachusetts, the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate... the lower peoples serum cholesterol. We found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories - weighed the least and were the most physically active." [From "Archives of Internal Medicine" 1992, Dr. William Castilli, Director of the Framingham Study.]
Surprise about cholesterol emerged from Framingham, although it was never published in a scientific journal. Buried deep in a typewritten report that is almost two feet thick is a study titled "Diet and the regulation of serum cholesterol." The Framingham researchers assumed they knew exactly why some people had higher blood cholesterol levels than others: It was their diet. To measure this link they selected 912 men and women and compared the cholesterol in their diets to the cholesterol levels in their blood.
To their surprise there was no relationship. The researchers studied the intake of saturated fats, dietary cholesterol, and overall calories. None had an effect. They considered the possibility that other factors — such as differences in physical activity — masked the effects of diet. It didn’t make any difference.
There is, in short, no suggestion of any relation between diet and the subsequent development of CHD [coronary heart disease] in the study group..."
Further, Dr. George V. Mann, a participating researcher in the study concluded: "The diet-heart hypothesis that suggests that high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol causes heart disease has been repeatedly shown to be wrong... The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century."
More information about the Framingham Heart Study, as well as some interesting further perspective, can be found online here.
From the European Heart Journal, Volume 18, Jan 1997, "The commonly held belief that the best diet for prevention of coronary heart disease is a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet is not supported by the available evidence from clinical trials."
You'll note that I have not delved into the differences in LDL, HDL and triglycerides. It's a subject for further, lengthier discussion. And while I could go on an on about this fascinating and volatile subject matter, I hope my readers will use these revelations to peak your interest and strive to learn more. Don't be afraid to challenge traditional dogma. The very fact that those reading this newsletters are participating in a nutrition plan that flies in the face of what's "in vogue" shows the courage of your convictions. Read what Dr. Atkins has to say on this subject; what Drs. Eades tell us; and in my often recommended book, "Life Without Bread" by Wolfgang Lutz, read with special attention Chapter Six: Heart Disease: From Fat to Fiction.
Let me close with another quote:
"The very powerful and the very closed-minded have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views... which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering."
I have recently begun a low-carb diet and I'm keeping my daily carbs very low, but I also feel I need to keep my calories low to be able to actually succeed. Most low-carb recipes are high in fat and calories. How can I keep both my carbs and my calories at low levels and succeed?
One of the blessings of keeping your carbohydrates restricted and your sugars down to negligible levels is that caloric restriction to any great degree is usually not required or necessary.
Within reason, I think most Low-Carbers should avoid restricting calories. Keeping calories too low can do more harm than good and can actually cause the following harmful effects:
1) It slows the metabolism and can cause your body to go into "starvation mode" where it slows even further - sometimes permanently.Now, all that being said, there are a few exceptions to the rule. If you are very metabolically resistant to losing - for example, you do the diet letter-perfect for 2-3 weeks and either lose no weight, can't get into ketosis, or both, you might have to look at reducing calories as well. Often this is because of a medication the person is taking. Rarely it is due to family history of metabolic resistance, or simply the metabolism already being too slowed from years of failed diets. It's also possible that the person - even with the satisfying effects of low-carbing - eats too much, too often. In the vast majority of cases, the diet is self-limiting. The proteins and fats are satiating and there's no carb to cause blood sugar swings and undue hunger.
So what I am trying to say is that from what I have seen (and I get hundreds of letters a week from low-carbers), only about 5% of LC'ers have any need to restrict calories. For the others that do so, they usually do themselves more harm than good.
Thanks for reading! Keep your suggestions and questions
coming in — we always want to hear from you! Remember, we
can't address every request and query, but the ones we hear
about the most or offer the greater potential to help others
will surely make their way here.
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