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This is not a faq on low-carb dieting in general. There are plenty of those out there, and the best source of basic starter information for your particular plan is found in the book that matches the plan — ie: Atkins, Protein Power, South Beach, etc.

The reason for the faq is found in the title itself — frequently asked questions. We get tons of mail, and many of them are the same questions often repeated. So the need for a faq to cover these answers is being met here. This will be an ever-growing work. Remember, many of these questions come from people very new to low-carbing.

The questions below represent actual e-mail questions and comments or a mix of almost the same questions that are asked very often.

Quick Links to Questions:
 1. Where can I buy (or how can I make) almond flour?

 2. Can you send me a list of foods I can eat?

 3. Can you send me a list of foods I need to avoid?

 4. How can I keep temptation away when I have to
     keep sugar in the house for my kids?

 5. I cannot find your "Before" and "After" photos?

 6. Do you know if 7 pounds in 2 weeks is normal?

 7. I'm not cheating and I feel like I'm doing
     something wrong.

 8. Why don't you list "xxxx" in your shopping guide?

 9. Can I have your phone number? I'd like to
     talk to you.

10. Is there a book that contains the information found
      at Low Carb Luxury?

11. Can I have any food I want as long as I keep the
      carb count below 20?

12. Do you know where I can buy low carb foods in
      Australia? (or other countries?)

13. What are your feelings on aspartame?

14. I've heard that Splenda has chlorine in it!
      Is this true?

15. I'm from the UK and having problems with U.S.
      measurements you use.

16. Any good ideas for containers and storage?

17. Do you find that this plan takes a lot of
      time and energy?

18. How have you been affected financially by
      this diet?

19. I heard that cutting out carbs is dangerous.
      Does this really work?

20. I would like to try the Luxury Carb Diet.

21. Where can I buy these low-carb items locally?

22. I am allergic to soy. All low carb things contain it.
      What can I do?

23. You don't mention exercise. What is your exercise

24. I feel weakness, nausea, and having terrible
      headaches! Why?

25. Do you have any job openings at
      Low Carb Luxury?

26. I like the graphics at the site. Can I use them on
      my site?

27. What about this "Stacking" I am hearing about?

28. What are bioavailable carbs? Can I subtract fiber?

29. How many carbs do you eat per day?

30. Do I need to clear my cupboards of all
      "illegal" stuff?

31. I would like a copy of the low carb diet plan.
      Please email me a copy.

32. Do you have a database of previous recipes?
      Can you email me recipes?

33. I read that we should avoid Diet
      Mountain Dew. Why?

34. How many carbs are you consuming on
      your maintenance program now?

35. Do you have any suggestions for relieving

36. What are cyclamates?

37. Do you ever go off your plan now and then?

38. I love nuts and seeds. Do you allow these
      in your program?

39. Do you allow yourself any fruit?

[ n u m b e r   o n e : ]
I would like to know how to make or where to buy almond flour, and other nut flours. I see them in lots of low-carb recipes that I really want to make. I have called all over and no one has heard of it! Can you help?

You have two choices where the nut flours are concerned since most people will not be able to find them at the corner grocery. You can buy them from one of the many vendors we list in our Marketplace that carry nut flours (King Arthur Flour, The Low Carb Connoisseur, etc.) Check their pricing and availability to match your budget and needs.

The other choice is to make your own. You do this by grinding the nuts yourself in a burr-style coffee grinder (grind twice to get a very fine flour.) You can use either roasted, blanched, or raw nuts depending on what you'll use them for. Blanched almonds work best for most almond-flour uses, but adding in a percentage of toasted almond flour gives a nice warm flavor. Almonds, pecans, macadamias, walnuts and hazelnuts make the best (and lowest carb) flour, but other nuts can be used as well. Keep unused nut flours refrigerated or frozen to avoid spoilage.

[ n u m b e r   t w o : ]
Can you send me a list of foods I can eat?

Here's a question I get a lot. No, I can't. The answer with most low-carb plans is to stay away from high-glycemic items, all sugar and white flour, plus potatoes, pasta and rice. From there you count carbs, but all plans are different. Please refer to the book that lays out the plan you're following. (And if you're trying to do this without buying a book, break down and spend the $5 for a paperback!) It's also a good idea to keep a carb counter on hand — especially if you're new to this. (And if you write asking for a list of foods you can eat, you are new to this.)

[ n u m b e r   t h r e e : ]
Can you send me a list of foods I need to avoid?

See question/answer above.

[ n u m b e r   f o u r : ]
How can I keep temptation away when I have to keep sugar and baked goods in the house for my kids?

I am wondering why people feel they "need" to fill their beloved children (and often spouses or other loved ones) with sugar? If you could go back in time and not have started a lifetime of the devastating effects of sugar consumption in your own life, wouldn't you?

Unless they already have a weight problem, no one's saying the kids should be on strict low-carb diet, but how can you justify a minimum daily requirement of sugar and bleached flour? Clearing your home of these "temptations" is only good sense. For everyone.

[ n u m b e r   f i v e : ]
I cannot find your "Before" and "After" photos?

Another oft-asked query. There are no before and after pics because I haven't reached "after" yet. When I hit goal, you can betcha they'll be here. I know I could put up the "before" now, but sheeesh, who wants to do that? Besides, I think the real impact lies in seeing the then-and-nows.

[ n u m b e r   s i x : ]
Do you know if 7 pounds in 2 weeks is normal? Should I stay on the induction for longer than 14 days?

This is one of many very similar questions that arrive in e-mail quite often. There is no "normal." Everyone loses at a different rate. It depends on a great deal of factors, not the least of which is how much you have to lose. If your induction nets you an appreciable loss, I'd call that a victory. Don't get hung up on comparing your results to others you know or posts you've read. As for prolonged induction... it's an individual choice. Induction in Atkins means 20 grams of carbs or less per day. Many of us go back to induction many times off-and-on during the course of our ongoing weight loss.

[ n u m b e r   s e v e n : ]
I started the Atkins diet 13 days ago. I've only lost 7 pounds, which on any other diet would be great, but from what I've read, doesn't seem to be enough on the Atkin's induction diet. My testing strips have never gone dark purple — they're in the moderate field. I'm not cheating at all and I've started to feel like I'm doing something wrong.

As I said in the previous question, we are all different and comparing results is often counter-productive. I have known more people than not who never get to a "dark purple" on their ketone-testing strips. You don't need to. Any shade of pink/purple means you're burning fat and are in Ketosis. Read more about this at our page dealing with Looking for Purple?.

[ n u m b e r   e i g h t : ]
Why don't you list _______ in your shopping guide?

We don't list everyone that sells anything of a low-carb nature. What we do list are those merchants that have a proven track record of quality, customer service, packaging, honesty and reliability.

[ n u m b e r   n i n e : ]
Can I have your phone number? I'd like to talk to you and Neil.

No. We don't give out our private number.

[ n u m b e r   t e n : ]
Is there a book I can buy that will contain the information found at Low Carb Luxury?

Not yet. I am working on two books. Both a special edition Low Carb Luxury cookbook — all recipes kitchen tested. And a book of my personal journey and a lot I've learned along the way. We'll post more about the releases of these as soon as possible.

[ n u m b e r   e l e v e n : ]
Is it true that I can have any food I want as long as I keep the total carb count below 20 for the day?

Nope, not true. If you eat no carbs all day and then eat 20 carb grams' worth of sugar in one hit, you'll wreck your diet pronto. The 20 gram limit (usually ascribed to "induction") or any personal daily limit, is assumed to be spread somewhat throughout the day. And some foods are so highly glycemic (cause such a huge insulin spike) that they are always no-no's. These include (but are not limited to) sugar in all forms, white flour, pastas (other than the low-carb variety), potatoes, white rice, and corn products.

[ n u m b e r   t w e l v e : ]
Do you know where I can buy low carb foods in Australia? (or other countries?)

I get a lot of questions asking where items can be purchased in various countries or locales of the world. The sad news is, there are a lot of areas that have been slow to see the advantages of low-carbing and it is therefore difficult to find some of the "specialty" products for this way of eating.

The answer is usually to order online. However, I do realize the drawbacks are that some of you are not comfortable with this, and others are hit with huge shipping costs. You might look at two options then:

If you have friends in your area that are also low-carbing, perhaps you can get together and split costs on ordering in quantity. The other option is to take the time to sit down and write to one of our merchants listed in the guide and ask them &mdash "if I order all my products from you exclusively and give you my loyal patronage, will you in return help me by giving me exact shipping costs to my country and helping me keep these costs in line?" I'll bet one of them just might be willing to work with you.

[ n u m b e r   t h i r t e e n : ]
In looking through your recipes, I see a lot of Splenda use and some other sweeteners but very little mention of NutraSweet (aspartame.) What are your feelings on this?

I try to not get into the aspartame debate since everyone has their own ideas about preferences and safety. For me personally, I try to keep aspartame to a minimum for a number of reasons. One — I am a migraine sufferer and it exacerbates them. Two — I can't bake with it. Three — the safety warnings worry me enough to err on the side of caution. The worries: It is 50% phenylalanine, 40% asparatic acid, and 10% methyl alcohol (wood alcohol.) It breaks down into formaldehyde, and DKP (a possible tumor agent). At least one major airline has sent a directive for pilots not to drink an aspartame sweetened soda before flying. At high elevations the methane in nutrasweet can cause dizziness, fainting, and even seizures.

As for Splenda (sucralose), yes, I am a fan. It's easy to bake with, tastes great and has no known side effects.

[ n u m b e r   f o u r t e e n : ]
But I've heard that Splenda has chlorine in it! Is this true?

We have heard this confusion about Splenda (sucralose) many times. People read about its manufacture and assume it contains "chlorine" or that it's "chlorinated" — in the way that water is "chlorinated" (chlorine added) to disinfect bacteria-ridden well water or swimming pools etc. Splenda is made by selectively replacing three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule with three chlorine atoms. There are millions of chlorine atoms in our bodies at any given time. Common table salt (sodium chloride) will separate into sodium and chlorine atoms. The presence of these disolved salts are found in our axoplasm and extracellular fluid.

As I've always said, your sweetener choice is your personal decision made by knowing the facts and weighing the options. Our family has decided that Splenda is our favorite and works best for most sweetener uses we have. We also make use of smaller amounts of other sweeteners that are good in specific things. We use a number of Stevia containing products, we use Ace-K (especially in mixtures — it's great for synergistic effects) and we use a little saccharin and/or cyclamate (I personally like it mixed with a pkt of Splenda in my iced tea.)

[ n u m b e r   f i f t e e n : ]
I love the look of the recipes at your site, but am from the UK and am having problems with many of the US measurements you use. A "stick" of butter? A Cup? Help!

One "stick" of butter is 1/4 of a pound — or approximately 1/2 cup.
One cup of liquid is equal to 0.24 litres, or .95 metric cups, or 8.33 UK fluid ounces. Basically, it helps to have a converter. Here are two wonderful cookery unit converters for international equivalences that I use all the time:

These will help you convert each ingredient. Then save them in your equivalent measures to use next time or print to save.

[ n u m b e r   s i x t e e n : ]
I have trouble getting organized in the kitchen. Finding ways to store all the new low-carb condiments we now make has made it even harder. Do you have any good ideas for containers and storage?

Carol Childress of the Low Carb Connoisseur Recipe Exchange has come up with some wonderful ideas and gave us permission to reprint them here.

1 - Heinz ketchup bottles (plastic ones with the screw off squeeze top) or French's plastic squeeze mustard bottles. Wash and put your salad dressings in these. It helps to make your 1 or 2 T serving cover a lot more salad, because it comes out in a tight little stream. Also useful if you buy or make your own ketchup or other sauces. Another benefit is they are droppable!

2 - Davinci syrup bottles (large or small), Slim Jones soda bottles, or any narrow-neck bottle with a re-usable cap. Use these to make, shake, and keep your own vinagrette dressings or meat marinades.

3 - Any size shaker top containers (with screw-off lids)from Kraft Parmesan cheese, chives, parsley, any herbs or seasoned salts. Large ones are great for keeping a whole bag of crushed pork rinds handy for shaking on as breading for meats, etc. Do the same with powdered egg whites or a custom breading mix if you like that instead. (Pork rinds, parmesan, salt and herbs are a great mix.) Use the smaller jars for keeping a mix of cinnamon/Splenda or cocoa/Splenda on the table for toast and whatnot. Also make up an herb mix for shaking over steamed vegetables. If you have used the Darrell Lea chocolate bars as a grated topping for desserts, you know what a messy chore that can be. Grate a whole bar or more and keep in one of these jars in the freezer ready to top desserts.

4 - Cream cheese tubs are really useful for leftovers and packing lunches, but also for experiments. I make my own flavored cream cheese spreads with Davinci syrups and Splenda. You can use a tub to mix and store the harder (and lower-carb) block cream cheese into fruit spreads or into herbed spreads for celery and veggies. The lids on these tubs are vastly superior to margarine tubs. You can literally throw one across the room and bounce it off a wall, and it won't come off. They make great freezer containers for chili, soup, anything you want in a single portion. Also I use them to keep a little leftover paint from every room I paint in my house. It will keep latex paint fresh for years, and you can then do touch-ups with Q-tips when the dog/kids/DH scratch a wall.

[ n u m b e r   s e v e n t e e n : ]
I work long hours and also have children and a house to take care of. I don't have time to cook time-consuming meals. Do you find that this plan takes a lot of time and energy?

Yes, this diet (as with any life-changing commitment) takes time and energy. Especially in the beginning while you're learning the ropes and finding new ways to structure meal planning and cooking ahead. If you are thinking in terms of this way of life being "too much bother" or inconvenient, then you might not be ready to take this on. Nothing worth having is ever a quick and easy task. If it's important enough to you to save your health and change your life, you'll find the time. Most of us — me included — work long hours, still have a home and family to care for, and devote time and energy to this eating plan. I also give all the time I can to this website, group gatherings and cooking & testing sessions. I do it because it matters. Make the commitment to do it and you will succeed.

[ n u m b e r   e i g h t e e n : ]
You have a lot of recipes at the site that call for real expensive items. How have you been affected financially by this change in diet?

Yes, there are a lot of luxurious things at the site. I do that, not intending for people to eat day after day like that, but to provide a wide variety of "treat" meals and specialties to keep the diet interesting.

Yes, I love steaks and lobster and crab, etc, etc, but the expensive stuff only makes it my way 3 or 4 times per month. Frankly, my design client load affects my purchasing in both directions. When I work more, I have less time to cook anyway and rely more on meals I make up earlier in the week or adapting take-out. But after a long bout of extra work, there's also extra money, so when things slow down I can treat myself a bit more.

[ n u m b e r   n i n e t e e n : ]
I heard that cutting out carbs works but can be dangerous. I want to do this and have been very good about keeping my fat intake low, but does this really work?

If you've read my journal, you can see it works. You can see it in thousands of stories all over the web. But let's address the first question. Although you can read this in each of the books outlining the popular low-carb plans, let me stress here once again, that our way of eating is low carb; not NO carb! The advantage to low-carb is that it allows for plenty to eat, really rich and delicious foods, and lots of variety. In addition to meats, eggs, cheeses, etc, we still have plenty of veggies, a large list of acceptable fruits, and a varied diet. There are low-carb versions of breads, desserts, pastas, cereals, and even potatoes. We give up very little, are never hungry and lose weight pretty easily. Our health improves, our blood pressure and cholesterol goes down and we have tons of energy. What more could you ask? And don't try to keep your fat intake low — your body needs a healthy level of fat in the diet to properly function. Don't attempt to do low-fat and low-carb at the same time. Now that's not healthy! And remember, this is not a "high fat" diet either ... it's a "normal fat/high protein/low carb" diet. (Although the low-fat folks would see eating a normal amount of fat each day as reckless and "high fat"!)

[ n u m b e r   t w e n t y : ]
I would like to try the Luxury Carb Diet. I am getting married in three months and need to lose at least 10-15 pounds... please help and give me tips what to do and recipes.

Two answers to this one — first, there is no "Luxury Carb Diet." We have no plan of our own that we promote. As I've said, I do Atkins (modified with a number of Protein Power plan elements.) As for tips and recipes, they're right here on the site!

[ n u m b e r   t w e n t y - o n e : ]
I don't like shopping online. Where can I buy these low-carb items locally?

Some items are now available pretty mainstream. That surely wasn't the case when this site debuted in 1999. Most items can be found in health food stores and similar areas within larger stores. Some, however, must still be ordered online. Rest assured, though, our Marketplace only lists vendors with an excellent track record of honesty and great service.

[ n u m b e r   t w e n t y - t w o : ]
I am very allergic to soy. All low carb things contain it. What can I do?

Actually, not all low-carb specialty items contain it, but it's true that many do because it affords extra flexibility and baking options for a very few carbs. Read ingredients well and look for items and shakes made with whey protein or egg protein etc. I've also seen people who appeared to have an allergy to soy that later totally disappeared after being low carb and no sugar for awhile. There is some evidence that sugar intake exacerbates food allergies.

[ n u m b e r   t w e n t y - t h r e e : ]
You don't mention exercise. What is your exercise plan?

Actually, we do have an article about exercise at the site. You can read it here. However, we don't overly stress exercise here for two reasons:

1.) While exercise is always a useful adjunct to any dieting regime, it's a personal thing. Advocating a specific form of exercise implies that sort of plan is best with low-carbing. In reality, it's your choice. If you're not comfortable with the exercise plan, or the level, you won't do it.

2.) Some people are not ready. I've known many low-carbers that lost their first 30 lbs, 50 lbs, or even 100 lbs before they were small enough or energetic enough to not only be comfortable with a regular exercise plan, but actually crave doing it! Remember, this diet brings with it lots of extra energy. When you're ready, you'll know, and there are plenty of places on the web, on TV, and in books and video to get structured in your chosen plan. (Walking is often the best plan for beginners or those very overweight.) Remember, you may lose a bit faster when you include exercise as well as toning those muscles as you get smaller, but it isn't a necessary component of the plan.

[ n u m b e r   t w e n t y - f o u r : ]
I thought this diet is supposed to make you feel good. One week in and I feel weakness, nausea, and having terrible headaches!

This is very common. Many people go through this anywhere from the first three days to the first 2 weeks. They blame the diet for making them feel awful; decide it's "unhealthy" and they quit. In reality, the symptoms are withdrawal from sugar. Sugar acts like a drug in the system and on brain function. Make no mistake about it — you will go through some form of withdrawal when you remove it from your diet. How severe the symptoms depends on the person and how much sugar you were routinely consuming in a day (and remember, the body considers white flour, bleached rice, etc. the same as a sugar.)

[ n u m b e r   t w e n t y - f i v e : ]
Do you have any job openings at Low Carb Luxury?

We have positions in advertising sales only at this time.

[ n u m b e r   t w e n t y - s i x : ]
I like the graphics at the site. Can I use them on my site?

No. Please respect copyrights and don't steal items — either graphics or content — from the site. Long hours go into the creation of both for Low Carb Luxury so that we can provide a comfortable, pleasant experience to our visitors and to establish a unique identity. All our graphics are copyrighted through Accent Design Studios, and all photographs are the property of Neil Beaty Photography.

[ n u m b e r   t w e n t y - s e v e n : ]
What about this "Stacking" I am hearing about? I have seen products advertised for this, but I am very skeptical. The active ingredients in the most popular one are Ephedra (Ephedrine Alkaloids) from Ma Huang extract and Caffeine. Plus it contains rice flour. Can you tell me any more?

The product you refer to was primarily made up of ephedrine (what's often known as "herbal speed" — ma huang. Ephedrines are supposed to suppress appetite and increase the body's metabolic rate. Alas, they also increase blood pressure, and trigger anxiety and insomnia. Ephedrine has been banned by the FDA and should no longer be for sale.

[ n u m b e r   t w e n t y - e i g h t : ]
What are "bioavailable", "net", or "effective" carbs? You mentioned subtracting the amount of fiber from the amount of carbs! Can I always do this? Would you mind explaining how this works?

The helpful, workable "theory" of deducting fiber grams from total carbohydrate listed comes primarily from the work of Drs. Michael R. Eades and Mary Dan Eades and their Protein Power plan. Also known as "effective carbohydrate content", it is the total carbohydrate content of the food minus the fiber portion. Carbohydrate calculations for food labeling includes the fiber. However, fiber isn't absorbed and should not be counted as a carbohydrate for the purpose of weight loss. This includes both "soluble fiber" and "insoluble fiber." Whether or not fiber is soluble in water does not alter the body's inability to use it as a carbohydrate (or nutrient of any sort!) Therefore if an item's Nutrition Facts label states Total Carbs: 6, Fiber: 5, the ECC is actually 1 gram.

Over the last several years, most manufacturers have also begun deducting sugar alcohols (polyols) and glycerine from carbs counts instead and calling the result "net carbs" on the package. While this is workable for some people, others have strong reactions to such ingredients and cannot use such "net carbs" and still lose weight. Be cautious.

[ n u m b e r   t w e n t y - n i n e : ]
How many carbs do you eat per day?

I personally vary from 15 to 20 grams per day when I am doing induction (as I have mentioned before, I go back to induction from time to time to keep things going smoothly), to about 35 to 40 grams on average days. But remember, everyone is different and will be able to handle differing amounts of carbs in order to stay in "losing mode." Some people can have up to 60 grams per day and lose fine. Others can never go past 20 grams. Hence the oft-used saying, "your mileage may vary."

[ n u m b e r   t h i r t y : ]
Do I need to clear my cupboards of all "illegal" stuff: cookies, chips, pasta, rice, sugar, etc?

Yes, if at all possible — depending on your life, family, and residential situation, it's ideal to not have temptation on hand. It's just good sense.

[ n u m b e r   t h i r t y - o n e : ]
I would like a copy of the low carb diet plan. Please email me a copy.

You'll need to choose a plan (Atkins, Protein Power, South Beach, etc.) and purchase the book for the plan. All plans vary. Choose what's right for you. We have no pre-printed plan to mail out.

[ n u m b e r   t h i r t y - t w o : ]
Do you have a database of recipes which you have posted on your website previously? Or, if not are you able to email them to me?

We don't "retire" or archive recipes... they can all be found by category at our main recipe menu. There are hundreds of great kitchen tested recipes and more are posted every week!

[ n u m b e r   t h i r t y - t h r e e : ]
I read that we should avoid Diet Mountain Dew. Why?

Diet Mountain Dew lists out as 0 carbs per serving like all diet drinks, but that's because it's measured at 2.5 servings per can or bottle to get it below 1/2 carb per serving. However, the carb count alone is not the problem. Diet Mountain Dew contains real orange juice (high glycemic!) as well as bromated vegetable oil — a health hazard. There are other drinks with this same make up. These have been known to stall weight loss more quickly than any other diet soda and we recommend avoiding them.

[ n u m b e r   t h i r t y - f o u r : ]
How many carbs are you consuming on your maintenance program now?

I'll let you know when I get to maintenance. [grin]

[ n u m b e r   t h i r t y - f i v e : ]
Do you have any suggestions for relieving constipation? Even with the added veggies I still have trouble with this... I drink lots of water each day as well.

First, make sure the veggies you're including are the high-fiber ones like salad greens. Second, try including some wheat bran or other (no sugar, low carb) brans (like a few Bran-A-Crisp crackers every day.) There's also psyllium husks and flax seed that can be a great help. For most of us, the addition of a good amount of healthy vegetables each day is enough.

[ n u m b e r   t h i r t y - s i x : ]
What are cyclamates?

Sodium cyclamates are a sweetener that comes in granulated, brown, and liquid form. It's no longer available in the U.S. but is widely available in many other countries including Canada. They taste far better than saccharin and the Canadian version of Sugar Twin (liquid, granulated, and brown) is cyclamate based instead of saccharin based as it is in the U.S. It's heat-stable and can be used in baking. It, like saccharin, offers a synergistic effect when mixed with another sweetener — such as Splenda — to allow a sweeter taste using less sweetener. A quick note — here's a quote about cyclamates from the FDA's site: "First introduced in foods and beverages in the early 1950s — before there was a law requiring premarket review of food additives — cyclamate was used in the United States until FDA announced a ban in 1969 effective Sept. 11, 1970, as a result scientific studies that FDA and the National Academy of Sciences reviewed. The studies appeared to indicate that the chemical could cause bladder tumors in rats and mice. The Cancer Assessment Committee of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition concluded in 1985 that cyclamate is not a carcinogen. At FDA's request, the National Academy of Sciences conducted a comprehensive review and also concluded that cyclamate does not cause cancer." Reintroduction of cyclamates to the U.S. is currently under review.

[ n u m b e r   t h i r t y - s e v e n : ]
Do you ever go off your plan now and then and if you do how do you handle coming back to it?

I never go off the plan. I found in past diet failures (and I mean failures with low-carb dieting years ago) that going off — for a special occasion, when I was depressed, for vacation, etc, etc, was always my downfall. I was one of those people (and I see this all the time) that rationalized that since I was off anyway (even if I'd had just a day where I messed up), I "might as well" have that bowl of Frosted Flakes I'd been missing. Or a baked potato. Or a plate of spaghetti. And that was it for the diet. It would often be months or years before I got back on the plan. And of course I'd not only gain back the weight I'd lost — I'd gain back about an extra 15% each time. Now, I never go off. Never. To me, I look at "those foods" as poison. I'd never consider having poison, so it's not an option. It keeps me successful this time and is the reason why, finally, the plan works for me.

[ n u m b e r   t h i r t y - e i g h t : ]
I love to snack on nuts and seeds. Do you allow these in your program?

As I've said, I don't have a "plan" of my own. Yes, most low-carb plans allow for nuts and seeds. I love them and work them into lots of my recipes as well as snacking! They are calorie-dense so you want to not get crazy, but I find that this makes them self-limiting and they keep you not-hungry for a long time.

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Do you allow yourself any fruit?

Sure. Fruit adds variety and pleasure to the diet. But it must be used with caution because it can stall you faster than anything else. The safest fruits are the berries (especially strawberries) but other good low-carb options are a small peach, a small plum, melon (especially cantaloupe, but stay away from high glycemic watermelon.) A small amount of unsweetened pineapple and tart apple is also good for ingredient adding in recipes. Tart cherries are also an option. But the high sugar fruits are pretty much always out. You can never sit down and eat a banana, or a big navel orange. But that's where flavorings and extracts come in — when you crave one of these, flavor a shake or an almond flour cake etc with these great flavors and enjoy!

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