The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine 

JANUARY 10, 2003     PAGE FOUR      
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  The Low Carb Connoisseur

                  Meet The Merchant

Low Carb Luxury offers a Special Feature called "Meet The Merchant" that allows you, the reader (and shopper) to get a better "look" at the merchants we all deal with. There's a nice "comfort level" that comes with knowing something about the merchant to whom you trust your shopping needs.

This issue features Pleasantville Cookie Company (, and is written by Paul Pleasant.

                     Pleasantville Cookie Company

          There and Back Again... A Low Carb Cookie Tale
                   Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open...

When my wife Lisa was diagnosed with cancer in 1998, I was terrified by the proposition of raising our then 2 month old daughter Rachel by myself. Lisa and I had spent more years than we should have waiting to have children and had developed some very definite attitudes about how we should raise them and very definite opinions about why our own childhoods had been less than perfect. We intended to do everything "right" and leaving our child at a babysitter's was not in the plan. A single parent family had never even been in the equation.

Fortunately for me, the form of cancer Lisa had was very treatable if caught in the first stage (which it was). After a year of chemotherapy and dozens of weekends in the hospital, Lisa was pronounced free of the disease and our lives began a gradual return to normalcy.

Throughout our ordeal, I couldn't shake the ominous thought of life without Lisa and how I would take care of Rachel as we had planned. As I am a computer programmer by trade and can make a fairly decent living as a contractor, my initial plan was to do contract work at home and then get a "real" job again when Rachel started school. After Lisa recovered, my thoughts turned to what she would do if the tables were turned and I were to leave her alone to care for Rachel. While Lisa is the only one in the family with a college degree, her chosen profession as a human resources specialist would never afford her the same degree of flexibility I had. With that in mind, we began to think about alternatives for Lisa "just in case" something were to happen to me. (You just cannot avoid these thoughts after nearly losing a loved one.)

Over the next year and a half we investigated all sorts of "stay at home" careers for Lisa. After a fairly dreadful experience as an Avon representative and a few other adventures best left unspoken (Lisa gets a little edgy about these), we were no closer to Lisa's independence than when we started.

During these months something happened that is all too common for people who have experienced a great deal of stress. Despite our best efforts, we both began to gain weight. Now I don't mean to say here that we were supermodels before Lisa got sick. We have both struggled with our weight since childhood. But, prior to Lisa's illness we had both maintained our weight for several years and despite some fluctuations as we tried different diets (and failed) we pretty much stayed the same. This new weight gain was much more rapid than in previous years and we needed to do something about it and soon.

As I said earlier, we had experimented with various diets and weight loss plans and had even both tried versions of low carb diets, although, we had not stayed on the diets because of the monotony of eating the same foods day after day.

But, now we were sincere about changing our lives and after doing some basic research including reading Dr. Atkins book for the first time, we set off on our low carb journey. Lisa went to the grocery and bought vitamins and all sorts of meats, cheeses, veggies and other low carb fare and with a solemn oath not to backslide, we woke up one morning and threw away all the bread, crackers, cookies and other sources of refined carbohydrates in the house.

We did incredibly well during induction. After the first couple of days of going through sugar withdrawal, we began to feel the incredible effects the low carb diet had on our bodies. The first thing we noticed was that we could go to bed later and later at night, get up at the same time in the morning, and have a better energy level than when we started. We were both sharper and much, much happier. The pounds were coming off very quickly and these were some of the happiest days of our lives. The best news of all was that we were not hungry. We had finally discovered a diet that didn't make us feel as though we might starve to death. Then came the bad news.

Just as we had experienced the first time we tried low carb diets, we were quickly growing bored with what we perceived as the one-dimensional menu from which we could choose. We were desperate to stay on the diet and we needed to move quickly if we were going to succeed. While low carb diets had been popular for many years at this point, we just could not find anything to satisfy our need for a low carb snack that we didn't have to spend hours preparing or big bucks to buy. I won't even mention the seemingly endless parade of products that are low carb and "claim' to taste good as well.

Lisa has always been a good cook and it was becoming apparent that our success was going to be dependent on making at least some of our own snacks. We spent several months trying various recipes found on low carb web sites (including Low Carb Luxury) and finally perfected an almond flour based cookie that was fantastic. During all these months we used our neighbors as taste testers and before we new it, and without realizing it was happening, our diet became the answer to Lisa's career dilemma.

After careful consideration (...maybe 5 minutes), we took every penny we had and created Lisa found a wonderful commercial kitchen we could rent just a few miles down the road and away we went. Our cookies became so popular in the first few months that we had to discontinue selling them to retailers so we could keep up with the demand from our loyal Internet customers. We make them fresh every day and ship them immediately. We now have 5 flavors of cookies in 2 different packages as well as brownies, bake mixes, and our own line of flavor essences. (Stay tuned! We will be introducing some really fantastic new products this spring.) Our new cookie factory is nearly complete and we will move in later this year.

We have been on the diet for well over a year now and we are both about half way to our goals. I have lost 41 lbs! For security reasons (mine), I won't tell how much Lisa has lost. Even with the added stress of running a business we are still happier than ever. Rachel is turning out to be a charming young lady and we plan to continue this course for the rest of our lives. Who knows, maybe someday people will call Rachel the "Cookie Lady" like they do Lisa today.

                  Paul Pleasant
                  Pleasantville Cookie Company
                  Grove City, OH

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Low Carb Luxury Review :: December 3, 2002.

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