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The Low Carb 
Luxury Newsletter: Volume I / Number 6: December 29, 2000
Issue Date:
December 29, 2000

Back to Main Newsletter
In this issue:
  1. Welcome and Overview
  2. Lora's Column
  3. Richard's Corner
  4. Recipes!
  5. Stuart's "Rant"
  6. Questions from Low Carbers — Plateaus
H appy New Year from all of us at Low Carb Luxury!

We hope everyone had a wonderful, magical Christmas and got to spend it with
those you love!

Now, on with the newsletter!

A Little After Holiday Evaluation. . .

Well, Christmas came and went. How did you do? If you're like most of us, you felt more stressed than usual. Even if all went according to plan, I'll bet you tried a little harder than you usually have to.

As I write this, it's just the day after Christmas and already I've gotten letters from visitors who have begun to beat themselves up for making what they fear were bad choices. Or those who were trying harder to please others than they were trying to hold their own resolve. It happens. It's a part of all of us.

If you did great, let me congratulate you! In today's society where holiday joy translates directly to cookies and fruitcake, it had to take a bit of bravery to come through totally unscathed.

And if you didn't do as well as you'd hoped, well, then we can see you learned something. Probably that you felt better eating in your new low-carb way, than reminded of the sluggish feeling of being drugged and tired that you got with a high carb/high sugar intake.

Lighten up and get right back at it. Don't for one moment let yourself begin to feel a failure. If we have no experiences to learn from, our resolve has no foundation.

So here's a little something for the New Year that might give you a chuckle:
T'was the month after Christmas, and all through the house,
nothing would fit me, not even a blouse;
The cookies I'd nibbled, the wine that I'd tasted,
The holiday parties; The time I had wasted...

When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber),
I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared,
The potatoes, the gravies, I just hadn't cared...

The sugar and rum balls; the bread with the cheese,
and the way that I'd never said, "No thank you, please."
As I dressed myself up in my husband's old shirt,
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt,
I said to myself, as only I can, "You can't spend this
    winter disguised as a man!"

So, away with the last of the fruit sorbet dip.
Get rid of the fruitcake, every cracker and chip.
Every last bit of carbs in the house must be banished,
'til all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie — not even a lick.
I'll want only success when I pee on that stick.
I won't have hot biscuits, or cornbread, or pie,
The weight that they've left me with leads me to cry.

I'm back on the diet, no sugar... no more,
But isn't that what January is for?
Guests and parties are gone; there's no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!


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Instead of writing a feature article this time, I'll share a few of my latest observations that have really gotten me to thinking... Perhaps the same will be true of you too.

While off work on my Christmas vacation, I was afforded the unusual (for me) opportunity to sit down and watch the game show The Price is Right each day. (I know, it's corny and weird and my wife thinks I'm nuts to watch it, but what can I say?)

After the third day of watching, something struck me — Since these are regular people competing for prizes, rather than the typical celebrities in the public eye — it's a good cross-section of America.

What I could not help but see was that out of 9 contestants (to fill "contestants row"), at least 6 were obviously overweight, with 3 of those quite obese. In fact, the last four contestants on stage were very, very large individuals indeed.

The graphic illustration is impossible to miss or ignore: America is getting larger by the year.

Add to that, during the show, along with a large prize being given away, was a supply of Heartland's Best Eggs. The announcer declared, "Now you can enjoy eggs and enjoy a low cholesterol diet — as long as you eat our eggs instead of fatty foods!"

What a blanket statement illustrating everything that is wrong with the prevailing theories of healthy dietary requirements in our country.

Gideon's Crossing is a very well-written, well-acted medical drama on ABC. My wife and I never miss it.

However, since these characters are meant to portray physicians at the pinnacle of experimental medicine and treatments for cancer, I found it odd that they've never once brought up any connection whatsoever between cancer and a high carb/high sugar diet.

Many leading cancer researchers in this country have begun to see this link and we couldn't help but comment that perhaps the writers of this amazing show should look beyond what is traditionally in the minds of American viewers, and begin to postulate some different theories.

Sadly, the show falls back on the traditional low-fat mantra, even when current studies are showing that women who eat a very low-fat diet are considerably more likely to develop breast cancer.

Make no mistake, however, the show is still very much worth watching.

So... we're in Canada recently, stocking up on some supplies that are more difficult to get in the states. And as I'm walking through a department store, a new candy treat catches my eye...

Dubbed "Almondillas" (Almond coated chocolate "armadillos"), these little creations are no-doubt cute and creative. Of course there was no 'sugarfree' version, but that's not what grabbed my attention.

What did catch my eye was the booth set up to give free 'samples' of this new candy treat. And as I pass by and pause to look into the face of the grandmotherly type handing them out to children and parents, the only image I can see is that of a street pusher:

"Give them the first sample for free, get them hooked, and they're yours for life." Just another day in the campaign of the sugar industry.


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After a long run of holiday treat recipes, it's time to look to some great main dishes that will offer a feeling of luxury and fabulous flavor to stave off those Winter blues...

So here are a few of our favorites for Chicken, Pork, and Veal! Enjoy!

Chicken With Lemon Cream Sauce

  • 2  3-pound chickens, each cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups light cream
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Thin lemon slices
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Brown chicken in butter and oil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer slowly for 40 minutes or until chicken is tender. Drain well and arrange chicken on an ovenproof serving platter and keep warm. Discard cooking oil. Stir sherry, wine, lemon rind, orange rind, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into the same skillet. Slowly stir in cream, cover, and simmer 2 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Brown slightly under preheated broiler and garnish with lemon slices sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Makes 8 servings, 2.2 carbohydrate grams per serving.

Pork Chops and Sauerkraut

  • 16 center-cut pork chops, 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons prepared hot mustard (Dijon or Dusseldorf)
  • 2 pounds sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 cup diced peeled tart green apples
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 8 slices of crisp bacon, diced

Brown well-trimmed chops on both sides in bacon drippings. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub mustard into both sides of chops. Combine sauerkraut, apples, and caraway seeds in large casserole and arrange chops, slightly overlapping, on top.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Tightly cover and back 1/2 hour. Uncover and back 1/2 hour longer. Transfer chops and sauerkraut to deep, heated platter and sprinkle with crisp bacon.

Makes 8 servings, 7.4 carbohydrate grams per serving.

Fillet of Sole in White Wine

  • Four 8-ounce fillets of sole
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 green onions or scallions, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash and dry fillets and season with salt and pepper. Arrange fillets in a buttered baking dish in a single layer and sprinkle with the green onions, melted butter, wine, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover with greased paper facing down, then cover dish, and back 20 minutes. Carefully remove fillets from baking dish. Strain pan juices into a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter, and let melt. Blend in the flour, add the cream, and cook 4 minutes. Pour over fish and serve.

Makes 4 servings. 6.2 grams of carbohydrate in entire recipe, if serving 4, each serving contains 1.6 grams of carbohydrate.

Veal Chops in Mustard Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 thick, lean rib veal chops, each weighing approx 8-oz
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Melt the butter in a heavy, non-stick skillet. Add the chops to the skillet and cook them over medium heat for approx. 10 minutes on each side or till done. In a tiny saucepan, heat the next 7 ingredients together, stirring frequently. Do not boil the mixture. When the chops are cooked, remove them to a heated platter. Pour off any excess fat that may have accumulated in the skillet and add the mustard mixture to the pan. Heat over a low flame to combine the mustard mixture with the pan juices. Pour the sauce over the chops and garnish with chopped parsley.

Makes 4 servings. 3.8 grams of carbohydrate in entire recipe, if serving 4, each serving contains 1.0 grams of carbohydrate.


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Low Carb Luxury received two articles this week from one of our visitors and when I read them, I asked to be the one to comment on them. (I know I'm not the one that usually does this, but when I saw these come in, I just had to comment.)

Both articles — written last month — deal with "studies" and both reach inaccurate conclusions — one simply misses the boat; the other is self serving.

First up, a new study on the benefits of eating chocolates (specifically those chocolates from M&M/Mars) is announced. See the article here.

Surprise! The study is funded by M&M/Mars. The 'results' are all based on the heart-healthy benefits of the properties of chocolate & cocoa itself and make no mention of the sugar the M&M/Mars (specifically Dove® bars) contain. The fact that these very nutrients are more than negated by the negative effects of the sugar is totally ignored and instead mention is given — as always — to the fat and calorie content. Of course, there's an upside: the sugarfree chocolates we eat actually can net us some benefits. The downside, of course, is that the majority of people seeing these kinds of studies will use them to justify continuing to scarf down pound after pound of sugar laden chocolate bars... for the good of their health, of course.

The next article deals with Weight extremes influencing fertility. See the article here.

Seems they did a study of 3,500 women undergoing fertility treatment in Australia between 1987-1998. They determined that very underweight women and very obese women have trouble conceiving. Good observation so far. But their ending conclusion totally misses the point. In the end, they theorize that body weight could cause infertility by disturbing the lining of the womb.

It only takes a quick look at more sensible studies showing millions of women suffering PCOS and unable to conceive to see that when sugar and high carbs are removed from the diet, they are miraculously able to conceive again. And it's equally clear that women who are painfully thin from extremely low-fat diets have lost even the ability to menstruate, let alone conceive. Without fat in the diet, hormones cannot work properly. Conclusion — Obese women who live a life of high carbs and high sugar will be unable to conceive. Skinny women who live a life of severely limited fat intake and consequently high carbs/sugar are also unable to conceive. Do you think the link just might be sugar— And for those who argue the women who lose weight low-carbing and then conceive and believe it was the weight loss that did it, not the lowered carbs, I point you to the thousands of women who find themselves 'with child' within a few months of low-carbing, even though they may still be as much as 100 pounds overweight.

Yep, it's hard for me to read these things and not shake my head in dismay...

This year...
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Breaking those excruciating plateaus. . .

Dear Lora,

I've been stuck on a plateau for weeks now and have lost no weight at all, yet I've been doing the plan just as I am supposed to. I'm beginning to wonder why I am even bothering. Please help me before I run to the nearest candy store!

Marsha Wills

Dear Marsha,

You may have not read it in my online journal, but I've recently come off a nearly 5 month plateau where I'd lost 99 pounds and simply could not lose another ounce. Since I'd never once cheated and kept trying various things to kick-start my body to resume the weight loss with no success at all, frustration was becoming my middle name.

I promised many people after finally breaking this plateau and learning a few things of importance that I would write it all up in the newsletter, so here we go:

First, let's recognize what a plateau really is. Many people write me when they've lost 7 pounds the first week of the diet and then have failed to lose any more for the next week or two. That's not a plateau. For some, weight loss comes in spurts, for others it follows a semi-regular pattern. But small periods with little or no weight loss don't always mean a plateau. Generally, a plateau (or "stall") means no weight loss for a period of 3 weeks to several months, when there's been no predictable change in eating or activity to cause it.

Now, once you've established you really are on a plateau, there are quite a lot of things you can do about it. First we'll go over the basics. Then I'll give you my own observations and the experiences of many of our visitors.
  1. Don't give up! Given a bit of time and patience, you're sure to hit on the cause and/or the "cure". And in the meantime, remember that staying still is much preferable to the weight creeping back up. And of course giving up means just that alternative.

  2. Check faithfully the labels of the foods you are eating. Many people check only carb counts. These can be in error or can be for a portion much smaller than you are consuming. I have written an article about this and I strongly recommend you read it. In the article we highlight a perfect example of label error.

  3. Take a hard look at what you're allowing yourself and ask if you're rationalizing. Are you cheating, but discounting it?

  4. Are you trying to keep your calories or food portions too low? Or trying to do low-fat as well as low-carb? See our November 29, 2000 issue for our response to the problems that can arise from restricting too much. You can view the back issue here.

  5. Are you eating often enough? A frequent eating schedule will provide a constant source of energy without the insulin rebound. Six small feedings a day are better than 3 large meals to break the energy/weight loss barrier.

  6. Activity level: Are you too sedentary? Do you need to get moving? Many of us with "desk jobs" need to make a special effort to keep our metabolism up by structuring an activity plan that fits our schedule. You may also be going too far in the other direction. If you are over-stressing your body with an over-kill of exercise, you may kick off a plateau as your body struggles to hang on to resources. Be active, but be sensible.

  7. Do you smoke? Smokers have a much more difficult time losing weight while low-carbing. Some people will simply not respond to the diet unless smoking is stopped. Smoking uses up vitamin C and stimulates the adrenal gland. Also the tobacco industry actually adds sugar to the tobacco to enhance its "allure".

  8. How much do you drink? The drinking of alcohol is of some debate among low-carbers and the doctors themselves. It seems clear that some of us can handle a moderate amount of alcohol and some cannot. You'll have to determine this for yourself. Remember, the time your body is burning alcohol, it is not burning ketones. Also, alcohol stimulates insulin. If you are drinking, make sure it's a non-sugar based liquor like gin or whiskey, rather than rum or brandy. Or have a dry wine or small amount of light beer. If you do drink and have hit a stall, try cutting it out entirely and this just might do the trick.

  9. Hormones. Are you on ERT? Hormone therapy can slow down weight loss and stimulate the production of insulin. You'll want to weigh your benefits and discuss it with your doctor.

  10. Contrary to entry #4 above, you may need to do a little caloric restriction if you are near your goal weight or have lost a great deal of weight and then stopped. Too many people misinterpret the instructions regarding the diet as "Eat unrestrictedly." When they do this they will still lose weight in the beginning, which will reinforce their assurance that no heed whatever need be paid to quantities. In most cases, this practice will lead to a stalemate partway to the desired goal.

  11. Are you taking medications that interfere with weight loss? Many drugs — even aspirin — can cause hypoglycemia. Watch out for hormones, amphetamines, diuretics, antihistamines, anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, anticoagulants, anti-diabetics, antibiotics, tranquilizers, clofibrate, Acetaminophen, and propanolol. This does not mean taking any of these will cause stall, simply that it should be considered as a possibility. Obviously, don't alter prescribed medications without discussing it with your doctor.

  12. Do you take in a lot of caffeine? Dr. Atkins tells folks to cut out caffeinated beverages (coffee, soda, tea) because they stimulate the release of insulin with a temporary lift in energy followed by hunger, fatigue & slower weight loss. However we've found this is not the case with most people. Some (including me) can handle caffeine with no ill effects. But it's something to look at if you take in a lot.

  13. Water, water, water. I know you've heard it all before, but are you really drinking enough water. You should be having 9 8-oz. glasses plus one extra for every 25 lbs overweight you are each and every day. If you're finding yourself stuck on a plateau, look at your water intake. If you haven't been drinking enough, this could be your problem. Beginning the proper water intake can yield amazing results.
    (One note: You need even more water if it's hot or if you're exercising vigorously.)
  14. The above thirteen points are general concern points where stalls occur. However, in my long search for my own release from a long plateau revealed a few new wrinkles that I want to share:
    1. Are you taking in trans-fats? Trans-fats prevent your body chemistry and fat burning mechanisms from working properly and kick off a stall that's stubborn to break. If you're one of those people that just look at the carb counts on labels and not the ingredients, you may be taking in a LOT of trans-fats. Any label that includes the words "partially hydrogenated" should be avoided completely. This includes regular shortening (Smart Balance has a terrific new non-hydrogenated shortening), regular margarines, and many baked, pre-made products. Read the ingredients.

    2. Treats mean treats. We have a lot of recipes at the site for "goodies", treats and desserts. And there are now many low-carb commercial treats, candies, bars, etc. These are helpful in a sensible low-carb diet because they keep us from feeling deprived and offer us something when the sweet-tooth calls or when we plan a party, or an elegant gathering. But the mainstay of our diet should continue to consist of good meats and low-starch veggies. Don't think that because a dessert item is low-carb, you can have it three times a day.

    3. Take a good look at the supplements you are taking. (You are taking supplements, right?) While everyone has differing needs and you might want to do a little research to determine what's right for you, I can tell you that at a minimum, everyone should be taking a good multi-vitamin (without iron), CoEnzyme Q-10, Acetyl L Carnitine and a good balance of Essential Fatty Acids. I began taking Acetyl L Carnitine (I was already taking the others and more) just before breaking the plateau. We will be publishing an article on the benefits of Acetyl L Carnitine soon, but one of its shining attributes is its ability to mobilize fat burning.

    4. If you want to take a "kick-start" step, I recommend the "Meat Fast". It's easier to do than Atkins' "Fat Fast" and seems to work just as well. For 3-5 days, eat nothing but Meat! You can have any red meat, fish or fowl with no breading or sauces and minimal seasonings. Fry in olive oil or clarified butter, or roast or bake them. No dairy, no cheese, no veggies. You can have up to 2 eggs per day and drink lots and lots and lots of water. But no soda, no tea, no coffee, no low-carb specialty products. You can have mayonnaise and mustard.

      You can make this more palatable this way: Before starting the diet, make up a variety of meats to have on hand as you need them:

      • Roast a turkey breast and have it sliced and ready in the fridge.

      • Ditto for a pork roast, and/or a beef roast.

      • Make a batch of deviled eggs
        (Remember you can have up to 2 per day.)

      • Have chicken and tuna salad ready. Maybe crab salad.

      • Fry some bacon slices to snack on.

      • Make up some fried chicken wings to grab from the fridge.
        (These can be breaded in crushed pork rinds, lightly seasoned,
        and fried in olive oil.)
      If you keep a variety of meats ready to go, you won't feel like you're eating just one thing day after day and the 3 days or so go by rather quickly. I have almost always seen a stall break by doing this.


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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