May 10, 2001
In this issue:|
all. Want to hear a piece of irony? It wasn't long ago that someone |
told me (with their very best intentions) that eating all this mayonnaise was going to make my bones brittle. "Did I want broken bones?" she asked.
Well, today she was proven right. A jar of mayonnaise fell from a top shelf, hit my ankle bone in just the right spot, and c-c-c-ccccrunch. You know the old saying, "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all..." It's been that kind of month, my friends.
BUT neither broken bones, nor attacking mayo can keep me from getting you your newsletter! [grin] Soooo... on with the newsletter!
"Candy Is Dandy; But Liquor Is Quicker!"|
– Ogden Nash
Is drinking alcohol healthy or even advisable on a low-carbohydrate diet? Boy, do we hear *that* question a lot. It comes up more at the holidays and during the dawn of the Summer months — people want beer with their Barbeques; a glass of wine with their light Summer meals.
So we're going to try and answer your questions, but the caveat here is a big one — and an obvious one. Everyone is different. Different people will react differently to alcohol (and some of those will be able to incorporate wine but not beer, or vodka, but not wine.) It's a personal decision that weighs preference and sociability against health, weight loss, and progress. So read the facts, and decide.
Is Drinking Alcohol Healthy... period?
This controversial question has been addressed by dozens of studies over the years. One of the latest appeared in the September 19, 2000 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine. This study found that drinking small amounts of alcohol was beneficial and that wine had a beneficial effect on both heart disease and cancer not seen for beer or liquor.
Over 24,000 men and women in Copenhagen, Denmark began participating in health studies from 1964 through 1976 and were followed until 1995 for this analysis. Almost 5,000 of these people died during that time. Light drinking (a drink a day or less) was associated with a 10% reduction in mortality while heavy drinking (five or more drinks daily) was associated with a 10% increase in death.
But what does this mean to you? Well, it might mean nothing at all. Not one of the participants was on a structured diet of any sort (let alone low-carb) and none had other habits taken into account (such as weight, smoking, etc.) So while we are likely to continue to see anecdotal evidence and small-study evidence of the benefits of drinking, their validity — especially where low-carbers are concerned will stay up in the air for the time being.
Our concern here, is to look at how drinking alcohol will affect our diet regime — our weight loss progress, our cravings, and our well-being.
To understand that relation, let's look at what a few of the low-carb gurus have to say on the subject (and if you're hoping they'll all agree... well, just keep hoping...)
Robert C. Atkins — the Granddaddy of them all:
"Here's the problem with all alcoholic beverages, and the reason I recommend refraining from alcohol consumption on the diet. Alcohol, whenever taken in, is the first fuel to burn. While that's going on, your body will not burn fat. This does not stop the weight loss, it simply postpones it, since the alcohol does not store as glycogen, you immediately go back into ketosis/lipolysis after the alcohol is used up.
If you must drink alcohol, wine is an acceptable addition to levels beyond the Induction diet. If wine does not suit your taste, straight liquor such as scotch, rye, vodka, and gin would be appropriate, as long as the mixer is sugarless; this means no juice, tonic water; or non-diet soda. Seltzer and diet soda are appropriate."
Drs. Michael R. and Mary Dan Eades (Protein Power)
"Can I drink alcohol on the Protein Power Plan?"
"Yes, you can! But, like with everything else, you are limited by your Carbohydrate Maximum. Dry white or red wine (3 oz.) or Miller Lite beer (12 oz.) will cost you 3 or 4 effective carb grams, but are still reasonable choices as long as you count them in your daily totals. Hard liquor will cost you a lot of empty calories. Take it easy and count those carbs! Wine-in moderation-can even help improve insulin sensitivity."
Ray Audette - Author of "NeanderThin":
"Don't Drink Alcohol"
"It is best not to consume alcohol in any amount from any source. Alcohol is a by-product of yeast digestion (the yeast equivalent of urine) and is known to damage the stomach, kidneys, and liver. Alcohol adds fat principally by producing cravings for both itself and other carbohydrates (see snack trays at any bar) and even other addictive substances (ask any former smoker.) It is almost impossible to drink alcohol and follow the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. If you must drink, do so only on special occasions (once or twice a year) and stick to alcohols derived from fruit (wine and champagne.) Be aware, however, that once you have been on the NeanderThin program for any length of time, drinking any form of alcohol could make you queasy. It is best to avoid alcohol altogether."
Okay, I could go on quoting diet doctors and authors, but I think you get the idea — they don't agree. So it will be up to you to decide how they affect YOU, YOUR weight loss, YOUR well-being, and YOUR cravings.
My personal experience has been that when I drink more often than a drink or two per month, my weight loss stalls. It's also my experience that I have sugar cravings the next day that I must deal with and my hunger levels are increased.
So weigh the pros and cons for yourself. But just in case you haven't thought of them, here's a list of "sobering" facts about alcohol that you might want to be armed with when making your decisions:
"Optimal nutrition is about isolating the good elements in food and getting more of those. It is also about avoiding harmful, toxic substances. Alcohol, even red wine, has some of both. If you want to be optimally healthy, you only want to accentuate the positive. You don't want to set your house on fire and turn on your sprinkler system at the same time.
Don't drink alcohol if you are doing it for health benefits. There are less toxic ways to get the benefits of the antioxidants, polyphenols, and other substances found in red wine. Fruits, vegetables, garlic, spices and herbs and supplements can give you just as much antioxidant benefit if not more. If you are interested in the protective effects of red wine polyphenols, they are available in supplement form. Alcohol's nutrient depleting effect is not what a poorly nourished society needs. Its liver weakening properties are also not needed in a country where the liver is nearly overwhelmed with all of the toxins in our environment.
Can you drink alcohol every now and then and be healthy? Yes. An occasional glass of red wine is not going to do that much damage, and does offer some benefits. If it gives you pleasure and is an important part of the way you enjoy life, it may be more unhealthy for you to abstain. Consume red wine or alcohol, however, only after considering its full spectrum of possible negative effects."
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Get The Rats Out of Your Race! ©
By Alice Fulton-Osborne
The bottom line: we want to fill our lives and homes with quality rather than quantity, and create an atmosphere conducive to eating appropriately...one that encourages, supports, and fosters our new way of living...
And one of the best ways to do just that is to get the rats out of your race. The rat always discussed in this column is the clutter/junk rat, and as promised in the last newsletter, today's topic is the most efficient approach to dealing with clutter and junk... streamlining. Here you'll learn what streamlining is and why it's crucial to this BEFORE organizing.
To understand streamlining, it's helpful to understand what organizing really is. The old adage, "Have a place for everything and put everything in its place," is often used to define organizing. However, this approach doesn't work because there's no way we can have that many places... if we try to manage EVERYTHING. Organizing before streamlining puts the cart before the horse. It's ineffective, because you've spent time organizing things you don't like, don't use, don't need, don't want, and don't have room for. Consider the pattern: You've spent hours organizing the family room cupboards; sometime later a family member gets into them looking for something, rummaging through all the nonkeepers to find that one precious item that IS a keeper; in minutes he undoes what you just spent an entire afternoon doing. After a few "just looking for something" events, you're back to where you were before you organized, and it all needs doing again.
Streamlining, on the other hand, is a purging or clearing out of all the things you don't like, use, need, want, or have room for. It's a different approach to the "place for everything" idea: Have a place for every keeper, and put every keeper in its place. The keeper is what's left after streamlining. Because you're eliminating all the clutter and junk, spaces are sparsely filled, and filled only with what you and your family DO like, use, need, want, and have room for. Thus looking for things is easy, putting them back again is easy, and the treasure-hunt pattern of living has been broken. Streamlining before organizing facilitates long-term organization and prevents continued, chronic space overload. Unlike organizing, it only needs doing once. After the initial blowout, all that's required is simple maintenance of the system.
To understand streamlining, we also must be clear on what "clutter" is: Clutter is the fish food on the kitchen windowsill for the fish that have been dead for six months. It's the two rusty potato peelers buried in the bottom of the kitchen utensil drawer. It's the polyester leisure suit living in the back of the closet since 1975. It's the seven "dead" pens in the pen and pencil holder on your desk. Clutter is anything you don't like, use, need, want, or have room for. Clutter has nothing to do with income or educational level, job title, who you're related to, what you drive, where you live, etc. etc. It has nothing to do with how neat and tidy you are. And when I suggest you may have a clutter problem, I'm not implying you're lazy or a dirty slob. I am saying however, that the majority of people in this country acquire stuff faster than they get rid of it. Accumulating more than we divest is the recipe for clutter.
A streamlined home is easier to manage, clean, and live in. Your spaces will look larger, feel cleaner, and foster serenity. You'll save time because spaces will be easier to clean, for you and your children (they now will have "reasonable responsibilities"). You will no longer waste time hunting for things. You'll be comfortable when anyone drops in, your self-confidence will grow, and your disposition will improve. To sum up, if you want a permanent solution to the clutter and junk problem (and the mess and confusion that goes with it), streamline before you organize. Quality over quantity is the creed and simplicity is the watchword. You'll be amazed at how much easier it will be to consistently carry on with your new health habits when you're consistently in control of your home and things. So clear out the clutter and see how it affects the quality of your day, which, according to Thoreau, "...is the highest of the arts."
Next time: How to streamline... the 8 steps to knowing what to keep and what to get rid of, and how to "organize" what's left. Until then, feel free to e-mail me with questions: Alice.Osborne@gecapital.com,and when we meet again, may there be fewer rats in your race! ©
Low Carb Connoisseur is Making your life Sweeter and Easier!
Judging a Book by its Cover
I'm writing this column after spending the morning at a book store. I was there to pick up a series of technical books I'd ordered in for my "real" work, but as is often the case this past year, events in day-to-day life continually provide me with material for exploration here with all of you.
As I always do, I wandered over to the nutrition/diet/cookbook section to see if there were any new entries I'd be interested in, or that I could grab for Lora. While perusing, I could not help but hear a conversation going on between a middle-aged couple searching for a few cookbooks for their "new way of life". This statement always perks my ears up, because it undoubtedly means someone's either found "the way", or "thinks they have".
The man was flipping through the pages of a hefty looking volume (I could not see which one) when his wife pointed him to another sitting on the center shelf. "This one is sanctioned by the American Heart Association," she said, "It must be the one best suited for us." In more hushed tones, and in response to his hesitation, she continued, "Look, you don't want to have another heart attack, do you?"
My head shot up and my eyes focused directly on that center shelf. Three visible volumes were being snapped up by the woman, and I took note of each.
They were The New American Heart Association Cookbook, 25th Anniversary Edition (it included such classics as 'Fudgy Buttermilk Brownies' and 'Angel Food Truffle Torte with Fruit Sauce'); American Heart Association Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, Second Edition (this one includes 'Chocolate Custard Cake with Raspberries' made with egg substitutes, low-fat but sugar-filled condensed milk, more sugar and powdered sugar netting the diner 68 grams of sugary carbs in one tiny serving but almost no fat or protein); and the most frightening of all American Heart Association Kids' Cookbook. The last she noted aloud, "would get the kids started the RIGHT way."
I really wanted to say something. I really did. I wanted to scream at them not to be taken in. Not to be another statistic. But let's be realistic. A crazy man shouting at customers in Barnes & Noble would not likely be a welcome event.
They purchased the last copy of the American Heart Association Kids' Cookbook, so I had to go home and check out the contents online. I suppose I knew what would be in there even before I checked. One of their recipes is online at the AHA website as a sample (to show you what a great thing this is for your kids and why you should buy it, no doubt), so I want to point you to that page and let's discuss it a bit.
The recipe, as you can see, is for "Gingersnaps". Now, keep remembering that this recipe does not come from Fanny Farmer or some family recipe — this is from the American Heart Association.
The first ingredient is MARGARINE — yep, they start out with a bang by putting a huge wallop of trans fats into your child's body. And they even mention it in "stick" form — the most trans fat heavy, dangerous kind. Then, a full cup of deadly white sugar. No pretense about trying to use a "healthful" honey, "natural" sugar, or any other substitute — just good old white sugar. After adding a single egg — the only smidge of protein your child will be getting in this "heart-healthy treat" — they follow with molasses – more sugar. Then artificial butter flavoring (since the cookies will not contain any natural butter), and the coup de grace — a full 2 cups of bleached white flour. The follow-up is a modicum of spices, baking soda, and still more white sugar.
The final result for that child to take into their little forming bodies is a staggering hit of almost pure sugar to rot their teeth, set their mood on edge, and rob their bodies of nutrients. You have to eat 2 cookies to get one measly gram of protein, and the only fat you get is from trans fats. They are quick to point out that a 2-cookie serving offers 13 mg of calcium, but of course the body will lose far MORE calcium than that metabolizing the nutrient dead sugar in these "goodies".
But at the top of their page, as a part of their well-known, eminently recognizable logo are the words, "Fighting Heart Disease and Stroke". Even if you believe the dogma of a "sensible balanced diet", would someone please tell me how they justify feeding kids pure sugar and trans fats and placing their seal of approval on it? And they are "mystified" as to why rumors of their corruption and "motives" abound?
Last issue we brought you "frugal fowl" — some great, economical chicken dishes. And as promised, this week we move on to thrifty beef dishes. As before, they meet these four criteria:
Ground Beef Cordon Bleu
"Because Everyone Knows..."
It was called to my attention recently that two phrases seem to define — no matter how illogically — the way we see the world and interact within it. "Have you ever noticed... ?" and "Everyone knows..."
The first is generally benign and keeps people relating to one another. For instance, "Have you ever noticed that clothes dryers eat socks?" Hearing the comment, most people can relate, and will give at least a silent nod of "tell me about it..." Or it can be informational: "Have you ever noticed that right before a rain, most trees' leaves turn over?"
The reason so many comedians use the phrase in their acts is that the nature of laughter comes from common recognition of everyday things in our world.
But the other phrase, "Everyone knows..." divides our society and disseminates misinformation. Don't believe it? I took note of some relevant phrases I heard, read, or was told in only a three-day period. Obviously I heard a lot of myths and "wives tales", plus things of a political nature, but for this column, here's a list of comments that relate to our dietary interests:
A woman in line ahead of me at our local Winn-Dixie (that's a southern grocery chain for those who don't know) was unloading her cart on the conveyor belt. She laid a pound of bacon and a package of steaks on the belt and actually met the checker's gaze with the words, "I know... I can feel my arteries slamming shut just looking at it. But my boyfriend loves bacon wrapped filets!" Then, triumphantly she placed a tub of fat free frozen yogurt on the belt and declared, "but I'm trying to make up for it with dessert."
Well, you know me... I couldn't resist. I smiled at her and said, "that stuff will kill ya..." She looked again at the steaks and bacon and nodded at me. I reached forward and tapped the top of her sugar-drenched yogurt treat with my finger. "No, I mean this!" She giggled thinking I was making a joke. She turned to pay for her purchases, and when the cashier took her check, the young woman glanced back and perused the contents of my cart. I'm nearly certain she left knowing I was NOT joking (but likely believing I was nuts.) Well, so be it. But if others question her low-fat wisdom out loud at other times, will she begin to rethink her "everyone knows" beliefs? Maybe... It has to start somewhere.
"Love That Maple!"
I recently purchased a bunch of low/no carb maple syrups at a specialty store because they had a great deal on them and because I really love the taste of maple. They're Splenda sweetened which is great. The problem is, I am now sick of just having it on pancakes and wonder if there are recipes out there that use it in more creative ways. I'm a real dud when it comes to being adventurous in the kitchen, but if you have any maple-y recipes to share, especially main dishes, my family would love you.
Thanks for your help.
Dear Leona —
Sure! We love the taste of Maple here as well and it can be so versatile with meats. Our favorite syrup to cook with is the Keto Brand maple syrup, but the Estee Brand, Cozy Cottage and a number of others now using Splenda are terrific too. We actually found the Atkins brand to be the weakest tasting, but we hear they will be reformulating soon, so that may change.
Here are our favorite Maple-Themed Main Dishes and one Dessert to complete the series:
Spiced Maple Chicken
Vermont Pork Chops
Broiled Maple/Orange Chicken
Maple Spare Ribs
Upside Down "Apple" Crisp
Cook and enjoy!
Thanks for all your letters, everyone! I get hundreds of letters each week and try to answer as many as I can.
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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