Hey, lookit me! I'm bloggin'!

Hey, Gang --

Okay, I admit it. I've been gone a reeeeeaaaally long time. It's been a rough couple of years. If personal details bore you, please skip ahead past the bullet-pointed list. In the past year-and-a-half:

* My siblings and I had to force our mother into residential care for advanced Alzheimer's. She was sure she was fine. She wasn't. This is the single hardest thing I've been through in my life. I'm just grateful that the facility she's in is a miracle of both kindness and competence. If you have a family member with Alzheimer's in the San Diego area, email me, and I'll give you details.

* My father died, just this past August, after a couple of years of progressively failing health. I miss him every day.

* My Boston Terrier, Molly, died in my arms.

* We invested much of the cookbook money in rental properties which have needed, er, more than a little attention.

*I've been working on another book, The Glycemic Load Cookbook, in collaboration with Dr. Rob Thompson, author of The Glycemic Load Diet. I'm almost done with it; it's due out next fall.

* I've been writing a weekly column, which took up most of the time and energy which had been devoted to Lowcarbezine!.

As of this evening, however, I have written my last column for United Media. I have enjoyed my association with them very much, and was grateful for the bully pulpit. But ever since the column shifted focus from carbohydrate restriction in particular, to nutrition in general, I've chafed to come back to what I really know, love, and believe in: Carbohydrate restricted nutrition, everything from people who just give up white flour and sugar, to Atkins intervention, and everything in between.

The last you heard from me, I asked you all for input regarding your experience with low carbohydrate diets because I was writing a book proposal. I spent nearly two months writing that proposal, but sadly, as of now, no publisher has picked it up. However, I got terrific information from a few hundred readers. I'll be drawing on that information to share the collected wisdom of the low carb community with you.

But for the next three weeks, I have to get this book written! So I'll be publishing back columns and new recipes, just to keep my hand in. (Heck, to get my hand back in.)

Since we're all experiencing post-holiday budget shock, here's a column from a few Januarys back:

Now that the holidays are over, while our VISA cards are still smoking in our wallets, it seems an opportune moment to tackle a common complaint regarding a low carb diet: “It’’s so expensive!”

At first glance, this seems true. If you’ve been basing your meals on potatoes, rice, pasta, and generic white bread, you’ve been getting away with a lower cost-per-serving than, say, steak. I have several thoughts on this matter.

First, and most important: Any food that makes you fat, tired, sick, and hungry would not be cheap if they were giving it away. If you are carbohydrate intolerant, if you have the illnesses that have been identified as being related to high insulin levels –– diabetes, hypertension, high triglycerides, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and the like –– “cheap” carbs are a luxury you can’t afford. You’ll pay for them in the form of doctor visits, medicines, sick days, dental bills, and new clothes in bigger sizes.

Second, remember that many carb-y foods are not even cheap to buy. I’ve long suspected that cold cereal is a conspiracy to get us to pay three and a half bucks for fifteen cents worth of grain. Bulk potatoes may be cheap, but Pringles are expensive. Frozen dinners, canned biscuits, boxed potatoes, and other prepared foods are not budget items, and most of them are loaded with junk carbs and bad fats. Cut all of this rubbish out of your food budget, and you’’ll find a bit more room for protein and vegetables.

That being said, real, good, nutritious food does cost more per pound than the cheapest carb-y junk. How to deal with this?

* Not one of those expensive low carb specialty foods is essential to your success. When I went low carb they didn’’t exist. Going low carb meant eating unprocessed real foods, and I suspect that some of the health benefits stemmed from this simple fact. You’’ll save big money eating real food instead of low carb macaroni-and-cheese mix.

* Your body does not care if you get your protein from lobster, steak, and boneless, skinless chicken breast, or from hamburger, tilapia fillets, and chicken leg-and-thigh quarters. Hereabouts those boneless, skinless breasts often run $4.99 a pound, while leg-and-thigh quarters often go on sale for 69c a pound or less. Big difference.

* Buy in bulk When hamburger, tuna, butter, canned broth, natural peanut butter, or the like goes on sale, stock up. A freezer lets you take advantage of meat specials. I bought mine used for $225 and it has paid for itself many times over.

* We love rib eye steaks, which run $8.99 a pound. So I wait till whole rib eyes go on sale for $4.99 a pound, and have the nice meat guys slice one into steaks for me. No charge for this service, and I get steaks for several months for the price of one dinner at Outback. I also buy leg of lamb on deep discount, and have it cut into steaks –– much cheaper than lamb chops.

* Eat what’s in season. Asparagus, lettuce, berries, and melon, all great low carb foods, are sky-high this time of year. Cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are all in season, and are cheaper –– I just bought cabbage for 29c/pound. This makes coleslaw, steamed broccoli, and cauliflower “fauxtatoes” and "cauli-rice" better choices than salad. Turnips and rutabaga (I adore rutabaga!), spaghetti squash, and celery are other winter vegetables that work well for us. Grapefruit is abundant, wonderful and cheap in the winter, and has only about 10 grams of usable carb per half.

* Bagged salad, pre-cut veggies, skinless chicken, pre-made hamburgers are all expensive. The more food preparation you do yourself, the more money you will save. Spend an hour on the weekend prepping stuff yourself, and stash it in the fridge for busy days.

* Nuts are low carb, but so are sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and they’’re far cheaper. More minerals, too!

* Drink homemade iced tea instead of diet soda.

* One of the lowest carb-and-calorie desserts is also one of the cheapest –– store brand sugar-free gelatin.

* Cut way back on eating out. The same food is always far cheaper at home.

* Bag lunches are a great way to use up leftovers –– who wants to pay for food to turn green in the fridge?

Here’s a family-pleasing supper that cooks while you’’re out of the house. Buy leg-and-thigh quarters, spend five minutes cutting the drumsticks off for another meal, and pulling off the skin –– you’’ll save 30c a pound or more.

Southwestern Barbecue

1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Splenda
1 1/2 tablespoons jalapeno pepper, canned, sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/8 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 pounds skinless chicken thighs

Combine everything but the chicken in your slow cooker, and stir well.

Place the chicken in the sauce, meaty side down.

Cover, set on low, and cook for 6 hours. Serve the chicken with the sauce spooned over it.

6 Servings, each with: 215 Calories; 7g Fat; 34g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 2g usable Carbs.

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the one-two-three punch

My heart goes out to you for all you have been through. I watched a friend lose her husband, mother and then dog over the course of 18 months, and it was the dog that hit her the worst I think, simply because she hadn't recovered from the one-two punch before. Many petless people don't understand the bond humans can have with their animals. I have two furry children and my heart breaks to look at them and think of them passing.

Prayers and thoughts are with you for continued healing.

Welcome back!

You have been missed! We were in Bloomington just before the holidays and I thought of you and wondered how you were doing. I feel like a long-lost friend has returned. I know that all your difficulties have made you stronger. Looking forward to reading your blog for inspiration.

After several years of successful low carbing, I had several surgical problems. Hospitals are the WORST places to try to eat low carb. After my appendix ruptured, I spent 10 days in-patient. When I asked for a low carb diet, they sent the dietitian in, who lectured me on the "dangers" of my "fad" diet, a diet my own doctor approved of. The only concession I could get from her was a diabetic diet, at least it was sugar free. After my last spinal surgery, I had to depend on my hubby and son for meals and their idea of cooking is frozen dinners and takeout. I have gained some weight, but am getting back on track, though I cannot do some of the physical stuff I did before - including my job for the last 25 years. I am using your books and others to get myself eating right and doing physical therapy 3 times a week and my exercizes everyday. Reading your blog and the comments from others trying like me will be a big help!!

Dana, it's a THRILL to see

Dana, it's a THRILL to see you back and to know about your wonderful website!

You have been through so much....please know you are loved by many people you have never even met! I am one of them, and I wish you all the best. May you receive all the strength and support you need to sustain you.

This is an exciting new enterprise, and I am so happy for you! And I'm even happier for those of us who have enjoyed and appreciated all you have shared over these last years!

Can't wait until the new cookbook comes out! All the others have been my mainstays!

Very, very, very best wishes!

So good to see you online!

Hi, Dana,

My husband was just asking me if "your Muse, Dana" had published anything new lately. Now I can tell him she's back!! I am so sorry to hear about your mother. My mom died in 1987, at age 64, and my dad said at the time that he was grateful that he'd never have to put her in a nursing home. I didn't get it then, but I have since learned that nothing could be harder when your parent doesn't want to go... My condolences on your father's passing, as well.

My 11 year old is pug-crazy (we can't have animals with fur--it's either darling computer geek Dad or a fur-bearing animal, and I'm really fond of him!) and I hope you'll post some pictures on your blog. Not much of anything cuter than a new pug.

Lots of warm thoughts coming your way from an IU grad in Herndon VA--


Nursing home


Glad to see you again. We also had a family member who had Alzheimers. My relatives tried but she could not live at home and a nurse could only be hired during the day. Thank heavens she gave my aunt power of attorney or things would have been a real mess.

My condolences on the loss of your baby (my opinion, pets are children too!)and sympathy on the landlord situation. I assume in Bloomington, there's several college students? Best of luck as some tenants can be destructive. Then there's those like me who landlords like.

Hope to see some new recipes soon. Your books are still referred to often. Your barbeque book was the best gift my father has received.

Nursing Home

I never thought I would put my Mom in a home. If she were frail but sane, I would have built a mother-in-law suite and had her here -- though I would have had to compete with my brother and sister for the privilege. But Alzheimer's is different. Mom became paranoid, and you can't care for someone who doesn't trust you, unless you can lock the doors -- and even then, you have to watch them 24 hours a day.

All of which you know. I'm so sorry you've been through it, too. Or as they say at alt.support.alzheimers -- "Welcome to the club nobody wanted to join."

Molly was, indeed, my baby. :-( But I still have Jed, my shep/Lab, and have since adopted Nick The Pug, who is too cute for words.

And only one college student currently. I haven't had terrible tenant trouble -- just a lot of repairs that needed to be done. Last February I acquired a 7-unit complex that was a Festival of Deferred Maintenance. (Or, in clearer terms, a real slum.) I spent most of the summer driving our beat-up pickup truck around town, hauling flooring and kitchen cabinets and vanities and such.

Which was fun and satisfying, but time-consuming. And now it's decent affordable housing.

My sympathies

Dearest Dana,

I'm a Locarbezine reader who had been wondering where you were. It's so good to find out that you have a blog.

My heart goes out to you with all the loss you've gone through recently. When I read about Molly, I had to post a comment here. We lost our dear Boston Terrier, Pepper, in Dec. '06 at the age of 14.75. We'd had her our entire life, and losing her was so very difficult. She'd had a wonderful life, but health problems finally got the best of her. What a loss it was. I also lost my father in Oct. '05, without a doubt the toughest challenge I've ever faced in my life. Thankfully, my mother is still doing well; I can't imagine what you've had to go through with your own mom.

Here's hoping that the new year brings you reasons to smile again and that more Boston Terrier kisses are in your future.


Not a Boston, but a pug.

Not a Boston, but a pug. Gotta love snorting!

I'm sorry about Pepper. I only had Molly for 3 1/2 years or so; she was a breeding dog, and grew up in a cage for five years. She was a sad, depressed, timid little thing when I got her, and she never did learn to play. (Jed tried and tried. He even tried dragging her around by one leg (which we stopped, of course.) She never did figure out playing.) But she loved being held and petted. And she loved sitting in the sun.

Nick the Pug is silly and snorty and funny and brave, and he loves to play. He's not terribly bright -- or perhaps he's just too stubborn to let on he understands -- but he makes up for it in good looks and charm.

glad you're here

hi dana,
i know how it feels to deal with your parent issues. my mom passed 3 years ago and had dementia. i struggled daily with figuring out the right things to do. in the end i realize that every decision i made was the right one because it was made from love.
now I'm going to do this thing again and for always because i've spent too much time being sick and miserable. the first thing i did was look for your website and found the last entry was in march. but today i got an email about your blog.
good for you-good for me!

I'm sorry about your Mom.

I'm sorry about your Mom. It's so very hard to know if you're doing the right thing. I'm afraid that dementia is a situation where there are no good options -- only "sucks," "sucks worse," and "sucks so bad you're afraid the universe will implode." You aim for "sucks." And you hang on to the good things with all your might.

My heart goes out to you

Dana, You have been through so much, and you are still eager to help others--what a blessing you are! I was particularly moved when I read that your Boston, Molly, died in your arms. Back in 2001, our beloved Boston, Lady, died in my arms at 11 1/2 years of age. She had cancer for the second time. We still miss her. We now have 3 chihuahuas, but it was a while before I could open my heart and my home to another pet. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

Dogs rule. I adore my cat

Dogs rule. I adore my cat and my ferrets, but I'm convinced there is nothing in this world quite so good as dogs.

I'm sorry about Lady -- but, as people reminded me when Molly died in my arms, there was no better place for her to finally let go.

Welcome back!

So glad I thought to Google after wondering what happened to your group emails. Great to see you are back and blogging! :)

Glad you're back

I'm sorry about the passing of your father and about dealing with your mom's Alzheimer's. We went through that with 3 grandparents (the other died of emphysema).

I did notice that you were gone, and am so glad to have you accessible more frequently through this blog!

Now to get myself back on track!

Enjoying your new blog

I am happy to be able to read you about low carbing again on a regular basis. I tried to follow your column online but never knew whare to find it. But I haven't been completely "Dana-less" beause I am a member of the CBS soaps usenet group and really enjoy your comments on it. I always know you will have something interesting to say! I am so sorry about all you have been going through the past year. I knew about your Father's death from the group and send you my sincere condolence. Keep on blogging and I will keep on reading.

Hah! It's another CBS soap

Hah! It's another CBS soap fan!

GO NUKE! (Only As The World Turns fans will understand...)

THANK GOD you're back!! I'm

THANK GOD you're back!! I'm so glad to see that you're blogging. My goodness, no wonder you haven't been writing. I am soooo happy to see your daily menus and tips. I really need it!!

It's good for me, too.

It's good for me, too. Forces me to pay more attention to my own menus. It gets embarrassing to post the same stuff day after day when you're officially a Best Selling Cookbook Author. (Do you have any idea how many days in a row I can eat fried eggs for breakfast?)

Glycemic Load Cookbook

I'm so thrilled to see that you're in on this one!! I just bought Dr. Thompson's Glycemic Load Diet, which I haven't read yet, but I like the science I'm seeing behind the glycemic load. I know that with you working on the cookbook, it's going to be fantastic!


I love love, love, LOVE Dana's book "500 Low Carb Recipes" but I have a feeling that the Splenda used there is the bulked 'granulated' Splenda. What is the conversion for packets? Or do I have to go buy the 'granulated" type?
Life is NOT a dress rehearsal, enjoy it!

Splenda granular versus packets

You're right, the book is standardized on Splenda Granular. The stuff in the packets doesn't have as much malto-dextrin bulking agent in it, so it measures differently -- and has fewer carbs. Let me do a little arithmatic. (You may whistle the Jeopardy theme here.)

A packet has the equivalent sweetness of two teaspoons of sugar. So let's convert 1 cup into teaspoons. A cup is 8 fluid ounces. 1 fluid ounce = 2 tablespoons, so there are 16 tablespoons in a cup. 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons. 16 tablespoons x 3 = 48 teaspoons in a cup. The packets are 2 teaspoons worth, so that means that 24 packets would equal 1 cup of sugar in sweetness.

All of which means you're going to be doing a lot of tearing open of little packets. But you'll get fewer carbs than us lazier souls!

And I'm glad you like the book!


And how did you know I love Jeopardy? The more I know you the more I love you! Thanks ever so much. So what we're going for is the "sweetness of" ... that makes sense. And I'll get to tearing open the packets.
Much love & hugs,

Life is NOT a dress rehearsal, enjoy it!


Dana, I'm so happy you're back! I just managed to get myself back on track with low-carb and I was telling my mother how hard it would be without you everyday.

That was about a week ago, and last night she told me you had updated! I can't tell you how happy we are to see you back. That said, we offer our sympathy in the loss of your father and Molly.

As I was prepping for my low carb makeover, I was combing through your website (before it was updated) and I came across this quote - "Indeed, it frightens me to contemplate how quickly and easily I could become morbidly obese - 18 months inattention to diet and exercise, and I'd be a size 24, I'm certain of it."

Dana, that is sooooo me. Lots of things happened that I let myself use as excuses to eat all those carbs I love.

Thankfully, you're back, and I'm on track. I've lost 8lbs, about 75 to go.

Love you!!!

Yonni, 23

Will Your New Cookbook Still be low carb?

Will your new glycemic load cookbook still be low carb?

I have tried the glycemic load diets and they are not for me. I need truly low carb.

I am back to carb-counting and follow a plan similar to Atkins. So, will the new cookbook be considered low carb as well as low glycemic? There's a difference. Thanks in advance for your answer.

Glycemic Load Cookbook

Good question.

First of all, I would like to be very clear: A true low glycemic load diet will always limit total carbs, because glycemic load is glycemic index X total grams of carbohydrate (fiber included.) I keep seeing ads and articles touting their "low glycemic diet" only to find that they're full of whole grains. Most whole grains don't have a low glycemic index to begin with, but range from a middling glycemic index (brown rice, steel cut oats) to quite a high glycemic index (whole wheat bread, whole grain cold cereals.) Furthermore, they're so carb-dense that if you eat more than a teeny serving you simply can't have a low glycemic load.

Too, a lot of these plans seem to feel that so long as a carbohydrate food has a low glycemic index, it's fine to eat as much of it as you like, and you'll be eating a "low glycemic load" diet. This is simply untrue.

I've known for a long time that there's a big range of carbohydrate intolerance, and different people need differing degrees of carbohydrate restriction. The thing I like about Dr. Thompson's plan is its simplicity. He divides carbs into two main groups: Starches and sugared beverages, and everything else. You dump the starches and sugared beverages, and don't worry much about the rest.

Why? Because starches -- bread, pasta, rice, cereal, potatoes, etc -- and sugared beverages (including juices, which are full of natural sugar) are so dense in carbohydrate (have so many carbs per serving) that they are by far the greatest contributors to American's glycemic load, and because they contribute little nutritionally. Yes, sugar is carbohydrate-dense, but in most cases sugar is consumed either as a beverage, or in combination with starch -- as in cakes and cookies.

Further, Dr. Thompson makes the great point that we have no taste receptors for starch -- if you doubt it, put a pinch of cornstarch on your tongue. This means that starches contribute very little to taste satisfaction.

So the recipes in this book include milk, and a wider variety and greater quantity of fruit than most of my books. Too, some recipes include sucanat (dried sugar cane juice ground up into a powder; tastes like brown sugar but has a much higher nutrient content,) generally combined with Splenda. However, you could easily substitute an equal quantity of brown sugar-style maltitol, brown sugar Splenda, or -- lowest in carbs -- Splenda, plus a tiny bit of molasses to get the brown sugar flavor, a trick I've used in all my cookbooks.

Too, I haven't limited quantities of root vegetables like onions, carrots, and rutabaga, which are higher in carbs than the green vegetables.

As a result of all this, there's a greater range of carb counts in this book than in the others. However, many recipes are truly low carb.

Why don't you wait till it comes out and ask your library to buy it, and borrow it for a couple of weeks? Then you can decide if there are enough recipes in it that will work for you to merit buying a copy for your home library.

Glycemic Load

Hi Dana! Welcome Back!

How do you feel about using sugar or honey in small quantities in recipes--such as a tablespoon or teaspoon in a stir-fry recipe?

How many servings is that

How many servings is that stir-fry?

I think that total carb load is the biggest issue. If the sugar or honey you're using only add, say, a gram of carb to each serving, it's not a huge deal, so long as you're within what your body can handle. Better a teaspoon of sugar in your stir-fry than a cup of rice underneath it. (Though a teaspoon of sugar would be 4 grams of carb, not one.)

That said, I reflexively reach for Splenda. For my own body, I just have an inherent distrust of sugar.

I'm unconvinced that honey is a nutritional improvement on sucrose. And fructose, though it has a low glycemic index, jacks up triglycerides like nothing else, which is why I'm not a big fan of agave nectar.

(I also suspect that fructose has a special ability to trigger fat storage; I don't have hard evidence for this, but the switch from sucrose to high fructose corn syrup in beverages has been accompanied by a big rise in obesity. I suspect that our hunter-gatherer genes see fructose as a signal that it's late summer/early fall (fruit season) and time to fatten up.)

The two sugar containing sweeteners that have any nutritional edge, as far as I'm concerned, are molasses and Sucanat. Molasses is what's left after they take most of the sucrose out of sugar cane juice; the minerals are concentrated in it. It's still sugary, it's still carby, but at least it's not totally nutritionally vacant. Sucanat is unrefined cane juice that's been dried and ground to a coarse powder. Again, it contains all the nutrients that were in the sugar cane. It's still a fiberless, high-impact carb, but it has some nutrients. Sucanat tastes much like brown sugar.

I've long used Splenda combined with a little blackstrap molasses (the least sweet, highest-mineral molasses) to give a brown sugar flavor in recipes.

In keeping with The Glycemic Load Diet's philosophy that the big things to worry about are starches and sugary beverages, I have used modest quantities of Sucanat in some of the recipes in the upcoming book. It could easily be replaced by brown sugar-flavored maltitol (if your gut can take it), by Splenda Brown Sugar (which does have real sugar in it, but is actually lower in carbs than the sucanat) or by the Splenda-molasses combo.

Which is more information than you wanted!

Hey Dana, Was I ever happy

Hey Dana,
Was I ever happy to read on Jimmy Moore's site that your back in the blogging saddle again. Just wanted to say you have been dearly missed.
I'm terribly sorry about the rough couple of years you've had.
My sister and I had to find a place for my mom to go to in order to recover from hip replacement surgery a few years ago. She was "away" for over 5 months. It was the hardest thing I have ever done besides bury my father. I can't even imagine it being a permanent placement. I truly feel for you.
But a resounding WELCOME BACK!

Welcome Back

Its great to have you back again. Look forward to reading your blog!

good to see you back again

I'm so glad you are back. I'm dealing with being the primary caregiver for my mother who is in the severe stage of Alzheimers so I can understand the stress you are dealing with there.

Being a new yr many folk will be looking for a new weight loss plan to fulfill their New Year's resolution. I hope they all find healthy low carb plans and do not become victims of any of the rip off sites out there.


Dana. I am so happy to see

Dana. I am so happy to see you back. What a Year you had, it can only get better.
You sure have been missed. My Hubby and I have been LCrbers since 2004 exept for last year and a friend gave me your book 500-low carb recipes which is well used. Last summer I made your Carrot Cake from it for a Cardparty and did not tell anyone it was low carb, it disappeared in no time and everyone loved it.( my Hubby's favorite ).
Thank you again and all the best,
Monika Polly

Hi Dana! Welcome back!

Dana, I have to admit, I just cried when I read your blog. So much to go through in one year. A prayer went up for you.

I am thrilled to see a book coming out co-authored by Dr. Thompson. I am on his Glycemic Load Diet. I was previously following South Beach, but the saturated fat and other restrictions were ridiculous. Months ago I heard Dr. Thompson was coming out with a cookbook, cowritten by you, and I searched on the internet, but found little about it. I'm so glad it will be released, even if I have to wait many months!

Welcome back, Dana. I am sure I speak for many, many others, as well.

Welcome back!

Dana, it is so good to have you back. I wasn't able to get your syndicated column, so I missed reading you. I've missed your advocacy of healthy lowcarb as well.

I'm very sorry for the losses and struggles you've had recently. You must be completely spent. I hope that nice boy you married is taking excellent care of you!
OhYeahBabe - Kimorexia Blog


once upon a time


So glad to "hear" from you

Dana - I have been wondering about you and recently "googled" you and was happy to find out you are back! I am so sorry for your recent losses. Prayers, peace and good wishes to you and your family.

I am a Weight Watchers advocate now so I don't do low carb anymore, but your recipes are still so very good and adaptable, and I have many of your cookbooks which I enjoy.

Good luck with your blogging, cookbooks, articles and everything else! :)