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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine  
    October 2004    Page 12       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14     

Feature Articles
 Make it Low Carb
 Sweet Comfort Foods
 Cookin' with Pumpkins!
 The Trouble with Trans Fats
 Here's What's New!
 Got Umami?
 Measuring Success
 Industry Interview
 Appetite or Cravings?
 Makeup Tips for Halloween
 Halloween without the Sugar
 DC Report: CAC Conference
 The Carb Credit Card
 Waiting for the Woosh Fairy




       Special Report: CarbAware Conference and Expo by Lora Ruffner and Neil Beaty

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.

Most notable:

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 to me.

  • 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 fascinating.

  • 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, 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 Expert Panel.

  • 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.

                                       Lora and Neil

Copyright © October 2004  Lora Ruffner and Neil Beaty for Low Carb Luxury
Title and inset photos Copyright © 2004  Neil Beaty for Low Carb Luxury


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