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The Trouble with Trans Fats
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Makeup Tips for Halloween
Halloween without the Sugar
DC Report: CAC Conference
The Carb Credit Card
Waiting for the Woosh Fairy
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September 16th through 19th at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (Washington, DC), the Carbohydrate Awareness
Council held their CarbAware Conference & Expo. Neil and I got into town on Wednesday the 15th so that we
could get our Low Carb Luxury booth set up, and have dinner the evening before with Gil and Regina Wilshire,
the hosts of this conference. It was to be an interesting, fun, and eye-opening four days.
The more we spoke to the Wilshires, the more we saw their passion for this industry and their desire to
"do the right thing." On Wednesday evening, they treated us to dinner at The Chesapeake Grill, a rooftop
restaurant with a spectacular, panoramic view of Washington DC and National Airport. The food was wonderful;
the company even better. We began to discuss ways to make this industry more open, truthful, and
responsive to consumers.
Thursday's activities included a roundtable discussion with the FDA and the FTC (after all, we were in the
heart of democracy!) We listened to them discuss how regulations for both labeling and marketing are
regulated by their bodies. Then the floor was opened to questions and many audience members had plenty
to say and plenty to ask.
Kantha Shelke (of Corvus Blue) asked them about how one goes about submitting new testing procedures for the
presence of carbohydrates (since currently there are no accepted procedures and carbohydrates are measured
simply "by difference.")
I asked them to what extent their process and decisions are based on or swayed by pressure from lobby groups
like the Sugar Industry, the Soft Drink Association, the Edible Oils Association, the grain lobbies, etc.
They strived to convince me that there's little pressure on them since they are regulatory bodies, but I
pointed out that each time regulations are set to be enacted with strong anti-sugar messages, they end up
watered down or erased entirely.
Jim Haun of CarbSense Foods pressed them about Carbohydrate labeling laws and when we can expect something
from the FDA. He was unsatisfied with their answers and told them he'd heard it all before.
After the roundtable (and some time spent at our booth), Neil and I attended the CAC's "Meet and Greet."
There was a live band, platters of party food (veggies, baked brie, fruit and cheese, etc) and a cash bar.
It was fun getting to sit and chat with so many industry people who we've come to think of as dear friends.
Afterward, Andrew Eisenberg took Neil, me, and Brian and Joy Pape out to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.
It was fabulous and afforded us a chance to unwind and plan for the two days of speakers ahead. I was set
to speak on Saturday and was already getting nervous.
Most everyone else that was speaking showed up on Friday and it was wonderful seeing old friends and meeting
new ones. Since I'll be referring to a lot of people (some speakers, some attendees), let me give you a
quick "who's who" with the understanding that this doesn't begin to cover the speakers or industry reps
on hand... this is simply a list of those who I'll strongly remember from this conference.
- Dr. Gil Wilshire
Reproductive Endocrinologist. Sits on LCL Expert Panel. Is a good friend
and a caring man.
- Regina Schumann-Wilshire
Along with her husband Gil, they run the Carbohydrate Awareness Council
and sponsored this event. Regina is a new mom, a sharp lady, and a good friend.
- Joy Pape
Certified diabetes nurse educator. Sits on LCL Expert Panel. Joy is like a sister
- Brian Pape
Joy's husband, Brian is a noted architect and dear friend to Neil and I.
- Dr. Keith Berkowitz
Former Medical Director of the Atkins Center. In private practice in New York.
My personal physician and dear friend. Keith sits on our LCL Expert Panel.
- Valerie Berkowitz
Keith's wife. Formerly Supervisor of Education and Research for Atkins
Nutritionals. Another of my "sisters."
- Mark Martin
Of Ideal Foods in Prague. People kept calling him the "Pasta Guy." I found him
- Dr. Kantha Shelke
Of Corvus Blue, Kantha holds a Ph.D. and is the sharpest food chemist I know.
She's also an amazing woman.
- Dana Carpender
You all know Dana from her cookbooks and ezine. Dana is a trip and it was so much
fun getting to know her. This girl speaks her mind.
- Linda Langdon
Founder of Low Carb Creations, Linda is a true "force" in the Low Carb industry. She
cares deeply and shows it. She's also great fun and whether she and I are running around New York,
Las Vegas, or Washington, we're always laughing. We might have been separated at birth.
- Dr. Fred Pescatore
Author of The Hamptons Diet, former Associate Medical Director of the Atkins
Center. Fred sits on our LCL Expert Panel. He's knowledgeable and a lot of fun. Get him together
with Linda Langdon and the fun REALLY starts!
- Jim Haun
President of CarbSense Foods. Jim is a true "good guy" in this industry and fights to
keep it honest. I am honored to call him a friend.
- Andrea Mondello
Owner and Founder of LowCarbEating.com, webmaster for Low Carb Living Magazine,
and a bright engaging lady. I enjoyed getting to know her on this trip!
- Hannah Sutter
Of Go Lower Foods in Britain, Hannah has a unique perspective. She's the go-to-girl
to find out the state of low carb in the UK. She's also supportive and warm. This was my second
time to meet Hannah and we hope to see a lot more of her.
- Dr. Michael Singer
Former President of the American Diabetes Association, Michael is a Diplomate of
the American Board of Ophthalmology. Founder of il Dolce Futuro (the Sweet Future) ice cream — low
carb and no sugar alcohols.
- Jonny Bowden
Author of Living The Low Carb Lifestyle and fitness Guru. Jonny sits on our LCL
- Dr. Richard Feinman
PhD SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. Richard is a fascinating
and brilliant man with strong opinions. Richard sits on our LCL Expert Panel.
- Dr. James Hays
MD, FACP with Christiana Care Health Services in Delaware. Jim is intense, opinionated
and controversial. In other words, one of my favorite people at the conference.
- Andrew Eisenberg
General Manager of the new CarbLite Magazine, and owner of Anichris, a consulting firm.
Friday's speakers were fascinating and enlightening. The speaking schedule was structured to accomodate as many
experts as possible. So there were Scientific, Industry and General (Consumer) sessions all occuring at the same
time. Sometimes Neil and I attended together; sometimes we split up to get a flavor of each speaker.
Friday night was the CAC's President's Dinner. It was sponsored by Dreamfield's Pasta and offered up an
elegant buffet-style menu. A live band, The Fabulous Dialtones, performed and Gil Wilshire sat in on
trumpet. Gil gave a keynote speech (and we were honored that he praised the work that Low Carb Luxury
does) and then it was time for the Consumer's Choice Awards... you know, those awards we asked you to
vote for over the last few weeks.
Yes, Low Carb Luxury won an award for best informational website, and Neil accepted the award on our
behalf. Dana Carpender won her award for best cookbook (Dana and husband Eric sat with us along
with Mark Martin, Hannah Sutter, Keith and Valerie Berkowitz, Richard Feinman, and several others),
and Jim Haun accepted his on behalf of CarbSense. Jonny Bowden won best diet book, and interestingly
retailer of the year went to WalMart. (
Click Here to see a complete list of winners.)
It was a fun evening and there was music and dancing afterward. Later, many of us retired to the
hotel's Lobby Bar and drank and chatted until quite late. Neil and I had a fascinating talk with
Dr. Jim Hays who argues the benefits of saturated fats, the evils of ibuprofen, and who doesn't
believe in supplements. He raises the bar and says what he thinks, but you have to respect
that and he's just brilliant. Dana and I swapped some mother-in-law stories and bonded a bit.
By Saturday, consumers began arriving and it was fun meeting as many of them as I could. One
woman, Joy Woodruff, made a special point to meet me, but she had the unfortunate luck to catch
up to me moments before my speech when I was practically shaking at the knees so I'm afraid she
didn't get the best "me" I can be. If you're reading this, I'm sorry, Joy.
All the talks on Saturday went really well (and yes, mine went off without a hitch as well) and
I learned more at this conference than any of the others I've attended. I got to meet Valerie
and Keith's children for the first time (what adorable little moppets!) and I got a chance to
hold little Hunter (Regina and Gil's newborn) with that great "new baby smell."
Late in the day, we all had an impromptu two-hour meeting to discuss ways we can work together
for realistic labeling and guidance for the consumer. It's just the beginning, but I believe
we will put together a cohesive group and make a real difference.
Saturday night was a big group dinner at the Red White and Blue Bistro, where the food and
company was very good and it was hard to say goodbye to everyone. Neil and I were set to
make an early start home Sunday morning, so we exited the dinner first. It was an amazing
four days and we're very glad to have been in attendance. In the end, we believe it was an important
step in the future of low carb.
Copyright © October 2004 Lora Ruffner and Neil Beaty for Low Carb Luxury
Title and inset photos Copyright © 2004 Neil Beaty for Low Carb Luxury