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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Paradigm Shift from Writing Regular Diabetic Cookbooks to Low-Carb

This is essentially the story of how I switched my focus from creating recipes for people with diabetes following the traditional diabetic diet to recipes for people on low-carbohydrate diets, whether they have diabetes or not. In diabetic circles in Canada I was seen as a bit of a heretic for rejecting the tenets of the traditional diabetic way of eating. Even the Splenda company (Johnson & Johnson) in Canada and the U.S.A. as well were no longer interested in my cookbooks. Still, undaunted, I continued on, because I so firmly believed that it was a better way to go, not only for the people I wanted to help, but also for my family.

My Story:

My husband and I needed to lose weight! I was the first person in the world to write a Splenda cookbook (within 6 months it became a best seller in Canada)and from there things snowballed over the years. You see, I'd just written my 3rd Diabetic low-fat Splenda cookbook (I subsequently did not have it published but abandoned it completely - read on!), and after eating all those low-fat desserts, Ian and I were both quite overweight! Anyhow, many years ago now in 1998, when I was living in Ontario, Canada, for a brief 2 years, I kept getting e-mails asking me whether I had low-carbohydrate recipes made with Splenda Granular. This was the first time I had heard about low-carbohydrate diets, and I thought these people must feel incredibly deprived - poor things!

Ironically, my husband and I were addicted to carbohydrate-rich foods. This was possibly the result of producing three high-carb dessert cookbooks in quick succession with many, many recipes to test and consume. It was not uncommon for my husband, the chief taste tester in the house, to come home from work to be faced with 3 cheesecakes, a pile of muffins and a pie - and that was supper! He took his job seriously and we both began to get heavier.

When I inquired about low-carbohydrate diets, I was horrified. I could not imagine my life without my desserts with Splenda and what about giving up high-carb bread and buns. It seemed unthinkable,however, when folks pointed out how well they were feeling, how much weight they had lost, how their cholesterol and triglycerides had fallen, and that, in fact, good fats are perfectly okay on the low-carbohydrate way of eating, my horror turned to sheer curiosity.

I rushed to the nearest bookstore to buy my first low-carbohydrate diet book - Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution! I followed the reading of that wonderful, informative book, with Protein Power, the Carbohydrate Addict's LifeSpan Propgram, Go-Diet, Schwarzbein, Somersizing, Sugar Busters and the Zone. I also read Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution.

My horror, which had turned to curiosity, now blossomed into admiration for these people, who had the resolve and courage to follow this rather controverisal way of eating. After reading the books, I understood for the first time that my husband and I, too, had been struggling with hyperinsulinism, and hence our middle-aged spread. Hyperinsulinism simply means in layman's terms that the body is producing too much insulin in response to eating carbohydrates. This hormone is also responsible for storing fat and favors storing fat in the abdomen.

Next, I tried Atkins induction. It took probably 5 or 6 days to finally kick into ketosis, and from that point, I counted my 2-week induction stint. I lost 6 pounds and was sold on the diet! I had never lost that much in such a short time in all my life. It was exhilarating, but even better than that, I had incredible energy, and I felt on top of the world. However, even although I enjoyed the sudden liberation to eat eggs and bacon, nuts, seeds, fancy vegetables and salads with creamy sauces, red meat, cheese and real whipping cream, I sorely missed bread!

Instead of going through with the diet, I stopped at a 10-pound loss and decided to postpone my dream of reaching my goal weight. I switched my creative focus to writing a low-carb cookbook, which would address some of the comfort foods my husband and I missed so much. I wanted a complete guide to low-carb eating, which I could reference daily for our own use as well. That's when I began writing Splendid Low-Carbing, which later became a national best seller.

My husband who was 45 years old at the time and 5' 10", went from an unhealthy 217 pounds to a healthy, lean and muscular 187 pounds, while I developed my recipes. He went down very close to his marriage weight of 179 pounds.

Jennifer Eloff


Amy Dungan (aka Sparky's Girl) said...

Hi Jennifer!

Your cookbooks are fantastic! Congrats on you and your hubby's success with low-carb living!

Jennifer said...

THANK, you, Amy! You're a sweetheart! I was so thrilled to find your post tonight.

I feel like I am writing to myself at the moment, but maybe that will change in time. :-)

Marcus said...

I like your blog and have discovered your cookbook as a result. I also enjoy your "conspiracy theories" about the very clear reasons for lining up experts against the low carb diet. It's a shame that conspiracy theory has become a dirty word but that's just another tool implemented by the status quo to help maintain a predictable future.

I've seen my future and it was becoming far too predictable indeed. At 28 it's flatly irresponsible for me to not be in my prime. But there I was, way too fat and gaining by the day. I've changed my ways and have sworn off the evils of sugar and carbs in a permanent kind of way. If I ever "fall off the wagon" in the future then I'll know I'm intentionally trying to get fat again for no good reason.

Can't wait to reach my goal as I'm half way there and looking forward to maintenance. Please keep up the good work.

Jennifer said...

Hi Marcus!

THANK you for your interesting comments. I was wondering what "conspiracy theories" I wrote about. LOL I suspect it was the piece that was written by my husband. I'm so glad you have found the low-carb way of life. You're doing very well by the sounds of things. Congratulations!

Thank you also for the encouragement. Hope you like my cookbook. I have 5 low-carb cookbooks, but I bet you got the first one, Splendid Low-Carbing. That's an excellent choice, if you only want one book.

Please visit my blog again.