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The Low Carb 
Luxury Newsletter: Volume II / Number 17: September 07, 2001
Issue Date:
September 07, 2001

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In this issue:
  1. Welcome
  2. Lora's Column"Manda's Story"
  3. Richard's Corner"Low Carb: My "Report" After 2 Years"
  4. Recipes!"Member's Favorite Recipes - Revisited"
  5. Letters"A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing"
Hi everyone! Wow, where did the last two weeks go?   In fact...
      where did Summer go? We'll be starting work on holiday fare soon. Only 108 days
      till Christmas [grin]!

We're now accepting submissions for your favorite Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah (Hanukkah), and yes, even Halloween recipes! We'll be publishing soon!

On with the newsletter!

     "Manda's Story"

The Alan Parsons Project reminded us that "time... keeps flowing like a river, to the sea..."

Somehow we always think there will be plenty of time. Well, so what if I didn't get "back on plan" today. There's always tomorrow, right?

I want to tell you those tomorrows really add up. They become the building blocks of hopelessness. After a time, many of us get the "what difference does it make?" feeling and stop trying at all...

I've spent the last few weeks working with a visitor to the site that later became a friend who has been dealing with stops and starts for quite awhile now. Her name is Manda, and she's 40 years old, married, with one child — a daughter, Rachel-Marie.

The rest of this column is her story:

Hello LCL subscribers. I'm new to this so please bear with me. I am hoping that my story might be able to help some of you at least a little. My thanks to Lora for helping me put this together.

When I graduated from High School in a little town outside Chicago in the late 70's, I was a thin and popular girl. I was thin because I starved myself pretty much all the time. It didn't seem that hard then and my life was really busy all the time so it didn't leave a lot of time to dwell on food.

I married young. And I got pregnant young. Still not a very unusual story, but things began to change soon after. Once I'd found I was pregnant, I didn't seem to be able to voluntarily avoid food anymore. I craved sweets and ate them usually late at night when no one was around.

My most shameful moment came when I was about 5 months pregnant. I'd been up watching TV late and I had a Sara Lea double chocolate cake stashed in the back of the fridge. I'd already told my husband I was "cutting out sweets" so I'd planned to dig into that cake when I was sure he was fast asleep and couldn't "catch me". It was about 2 AM now, so I figured the coast was clear.

I went to get the cake and was about to slice it when the thought came over me, "just eat it all..." What? Where did that come from? I could hear how absurd it sounded, but I didn't want to leave any "evidence" — or at least that was the rationale. So I put the entire cake onto a paper plate, grabbed a fork and began to stuff crumbly sugary mouthfuls in as fast as I could.

A moment later, I froze. I heard a sound... it wasn't the TV. Was it the bedroom door? I heard footsteps. Oh my God, my husband was up and he was going to witness this debacle. I tried to move quickly, and in reality, I did, but to my perceptions, I was in slow-motion. My memories of it now seem like that part of the Six Million Dollar Man where Steve Austin kicks into high gear, yet he's seen moving so very slowly...

Where to go? I dove under the kitchen table, cake and all. Only the faint light over the kitchen window illuminated the room, and the table was in the shadows, so I felt concealed. "Hold very still," I told myself.

My husband entered the room, sauntered to the fridge — totally unaware of the drama that had just taken place — and reached for a cold can of Pepsi. I could hear the can pop open and could see him lean back as he drank. He put the can on the counter, and quietly padded back out of the room and presumably back to bed.

We never spoke of it, and I'm sure it lives only in *my* memory, but I will never forget the ludicrous moment I opted to throw my pregnant body under that table with the cake that was nothing more than a drug.

But if you're thinking I'll be telling you this was a turning point when I saw the danger of my chosen path, you'd be wrong. It was just the beginning.

I miscarried that child. And the grief drove me further into my need for sugar, sugar, more sugar. I was no longer thin. I grew in despair as well as in girth. And my marriage began to suffer. Over the years, I would start many diets and fail them all. Each time, the weight became more plentiful and the self-loathing grew. And each time my failures were centered on "this one cookie (or cake, or donut, or...) can't hurt me. I'll go right back on plan tomorrow."

Of course I never did.

I found the Atkins Diet six years later and knew the first success I'd had in years. But as I know many of you will relate to, I was warned it was killing me. And by then, I'd become pregnant again (with my precious daughter, Rachel-Marie.) So I was told the Atkins Diet would hurt my baby. And that was all I needed to hear to abandon it.

The promises didn't stop, though. I promised my husband. I promised my mother. I promised myself. I was always going to get my life in gear and get this weight off. I just needed to get past this one big client at work. Or needed to get past the sale of our home. Or past training the new puppy. There was always an excuse. And I wasn't being deliberately deceitful. Somehow, I was waiting for a miracle. I never knew I had the answer all along. And that the miracle was in *me*.

Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years. And now, I am 40 years old. Still married to the same man. But now, there are "two of me" — the girl that weighed 122 pounds when she married is now 255 pounds. Or at least I was only 4 short months ago. I have lost 32 of those pounds since I acknowledged — like a drug addict or an alcoholic — that I am addicted to carbs and sugar. That I cannot have ANY sugar and only a small amount of the healthiest of carbs.

I was having a talk with my mother yesterday about memories. How we chose what we remember. How we bolster those we WANT to remember with THINGS that underscore them. It's why people pay a fortune on eBay for things of bygone eras. They are tangible reminders. They are our childhood. Their intrinsic value often matters little. If you doubt that, let me point you at an auction that illustrates the point.

If you are one of those people on a diet merry-go-round and are living your life through captured memories of better days, I implore you to make the commitment now and for life. Make each day NOW a great memory for later. Time waits for no man (or woman...)

Manda Hall

Thanks for sharing, Manda. You're an inspiration. :)



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Low Carbing - My "Report" After 2 Years...

2 Years - Low Carb An awful lot of people come to us with the misconception that the only real reason to "go low-carb" is to remedy a weight problem. Now there's no doubt about it — this is certainly a valid reason for eating this way. But there's also an equally important reason that's often overlooked or totally discounted — your day-to-day health. From my own experience, and that of countless friends now, not only does the weight drop off but health vastly improves!

For as long as I can recall, I would be plagued with some kind of rather wicked cold or flu at least twice a year...

Interestingly enough, more often than not, one of these instances would visit its misery upon me over the Christmas holidays. I sometimes wondered if family and friends had just come to expect the sight — me celebrating my holiday festivities with my faithful tissue box companion.

These bouts of stuffiness/runny nose/coughing/etc would always last for 4-6 days. A rather amusing thought in hindsight is that I always thought that I had a great immune system because of the "speed" with which I could fend these off. (My poor wife always fought a cold for 7 or more days, so I thought I must be SO healthy!)

I have been low-carbing now for about two years and no-sugar for about six months prior to that. The realization started to hit me several weeks ago, that I don't remember having any major ailments since I started this way of life. I do recall occasionally having a twinge (of "cosmic angst" as 'The Doctor' would say) here or there with a bit of the sniffles or maybe a sore throat, but within 24 hours (usually more like 6 to 8 hours) any symptoms would be quite gone.

Meanwhile, I've been to the Doctor's office several times and had my blood work run. Consistently my test results are more and more becoming text book perfect. This has, of course, pleased my family doctor to say the least. When asked if I've changed anything in my lifestyle, I've always been proud to tell him of the changes that I've made.

Another rather amazing benefit of my low-carb lifestyle is that I've got such boundless energy! Now it doesn't take a scientist to know that two years have gone by that have ADDED years to my age, but I'd swear I'd gone backward — younger and younger. It is with amusement then that I read articles in various nutrition journals warning that without sufficient carbs in the diet, there's no ready energy when the body needs it...

How many times have you seen your coworkers or friends dragging in from lunch all "yawny" and tired after having filled up on a carb-heavy meal?

This is a phenomenon that I no longer experience firsthand. I don't drag my energy levels down at lunch. I give my body what it needs – healthy nutrition, plenty of protein, and satisfying healthy fats. No sleepiness here.

Using low-carb for weight loss is obviously the single most overtly visible benefit. But it's those unseen benefits that can help you for the rest of your life.

Naturally thin people look at this way of life and smirk that they "don't need that!" My point of view is that everyone should "need that". This way of life strengthens the immune system, improves your blood chemistry, increases energy, and as a special bonus, drops the pounds off.

For more information on how sugar weakens the immune system, see our April 11, 2001 Issue and read about the "Leukocytic Index" in the article titled "Nutrition 101?".


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Member's Favorite Recipes - Revisited

More great recipes that have established themselves as favorites among our review group. Hope you enjoy them!

Top Loin Steaks with Eggplant Relish

  • 2 (1/2-lb.) beef top loin steaks, cut 1-inch thick
  • 1 (1/4-lb.) Japanese or baby eggplant
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 small stalk garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
Place eggplant and red pepper on rack in broiler pan 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 8 to 10 minutes or until skin blisters, turning occasionally. Place in paper bag, close and let stand until cool. Remove skins. Finely chop eggplant. Remove seeds and veins from pepper; finely chop.

Combine eggplant, bell pepper, garlic, cilantro, vinegar and lemon pepper; set aside.

Preheat a 10-inch nonstick or heavy skillet over medium heat 5 minutes. Pan broil steaks 9 to 11 minutes for rare to medium, turning once.

Carve steak into thin slices. Spoon eggplant relish over steak slices.

If you've run out of balsamic vinegar, substitute 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon Splenda.

Serves 4 — 4 carbs per serving (1 of which is fiber.)

Spicy Parmesan Fish

  • 1 pound haddock (or sole)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon tarragon
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll haddock or sole into small rolls and place seam side down in an ungreased baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, blend together sour cream, Parmesan cheese, paprika and tarragon. Spread over the fish and bake 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily. Top with green onions and tomato.

Serves 4 — 4 carbs per serving.

Creamy Gelatin Bites

Super easy, and super low-carb!

  • 1 Package Cottee's Splenda sweetened Gelatin — Any Flavor
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream — Whipped

Whip cream cream until soft-medium peaks form (not dry.) Add Cottee's Gelatin powder and mix in gently. Drop by teaspoon onto wax paper and place in freezer until frozen.

Makes about 20 "bites" at .3 carb grams per piece.

Citrus Macaroons
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons Da Vinci sugar free vanilla syrup
  • 5 packets Splenda
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon or orange extract
  • 4 Tablespoons full fat cream cheese (room temp.)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts or almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
Combine coconut, syrup, Splenda, cream and extracts. Allow to sit for one to two hours.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Blend in cream cheese fully; then add pre-beaten egg. Mix well. Stir in the macadamia or almond nuts lemon or orange zest.

Drop by Tablespoons into little mounds, on a parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2-inches apart. Bake for approximately 15-17 minutes, until tops are slightly brown.

Makes 2 dozen cookies — 1.3 carbs per cookie.


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      A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

Dear Lora,
I am a VERY strict low-carb dieter and watch EVERY carb. I keep an exact accounting on paper each day and rarely use any of the "specialty" products because I worry about accuracy of carb counts. However, this past month I spent an entire week with that "carby" feeling and could not get into ketosis even though my diet had not changed AT ALL over what it had been the weeks before.

A friend told me she'd heard on the news that my Diet Pepsi might contain sugar in some batches because they are sometimes mislabeled. Could this be true? It would explain a lot!

If you've heard anything about this, please let me know.

Thank you,
Meagan Chamberlain
Columbus, Ohio

Dear Meagan,

I applaud your strength in keeping your carbs so tightly controlled. Few of us are as disciplined — myself included.

I had not heard anything about a problem with Diet Pepsi and because I avoid aspartame sweetened drinks (they kick off migraines in me as well as causing stalls), I had not been paying attention to any news story relating to it.

So I did a little digging, and you might find either comfort (from knowing the answer) or shock (that it happens so often), but your friend was right. Here are the details about both recent problems with Pepsi, Coke, and other sugar free products (and these are just a few):

On August 2, 2001, Diet Pepsi in 20 oz. plastic bottles had to be recalled because the bottles actually contained Wild Cherry Pepsi sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or sugar.

A month before - on June 27, 2001, Diet Coke in 20 Fl Oz. bottles were called back because the product actually contained regular Coca Cola Classic which contains sugar not declared on the Diet Coke label.

Only two months before that, Diet Coke in 2 liter bottles were also distributed filled with regularly sweetened Coca Cola Classic.

Also recently (this past June) Candy Express Assorted Sugar Free Chocolates were labeled as sugar free chocolates but actually contained regular sweetened chocolates.

Smilowitz Brand Sugar Free Raspberry Rugelech labeled as "sugar free", had to be recalled because they actually contained sugar.

Since product recalls depend on the consumer to hear about the recall, identify the product, and return it to the store, many of these items stay in circulation or are consumed. It's a good idea to check recall announcement sites online or directly with the FDA to keep abreast of new problems. One such site is Safety Alerts. Many individual states' Department of Agriculture websites also contain recall information for your state.

Downing diet drinks that really aren't can be devastating to a low-carber. Unlike a low-cal diet where a few extra calories can be dealt with, adding deluges of sugar to our diets can derail us for weeks, add on the pounds, and reignite cravings.

Meagan, if you've been drinking the Diet Pepsi that really wasn't, it could be what caused your problem.


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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