Dana’s New Years Special, Episode One

right-click to save

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Hello and welcome to the premiere episode of Dana’s Low-Carb For Life!
In today’s episode, Dana discusses the idea of this show and what you can expect. She also shares letters from many of her blog readers and follows this up with a fantastic interview with Mr. Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb, Jimmy Moore!

Dana gets Jimmy hungry with this recipe:

Bacon Butter

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard (or Dijon)

Lay your bacon on a microwave bacon rack, or in a glass pie plate. Microwave on high for 4-5 minutes, or until crisp.

In the meanwhile, throw your butter in your food processor, and add the mustard. Pulse until well-combined.

By now your bacon is done. Pull it out of the microwave, and use your kitchen shears to snip it into the food processor in little bits. Pulse the food processor to mix in the bacon. The more you pulse, the finer the bacon bits will be; go by your own taste.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

8 servings, each with: 120 Calories; 13g Fat ; 1g Protein; trace Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber

(From the upcoming 300 15-Minute Low-Carb Meals, by Dana Carpender, due out Spring 2011)

Dana also shares the following letters from readers of her blog; call us up and leave a message at (412) 385-DANA, that’s (412) 385-3262, and we just might feature you in an upcoming episode!

Hi, Dana – I’m a 55-year-old woman who wants to tell you that, as cliche as it sounds, you changed my life. As I’m sure is true with tons of other low-carbers, I lost weight on Weight Watchers a few times and have spent years trying what I thought were sensible diets (nothing extreme), but I had a big sweet tooth and my carbs were entirely out of control. I’ve never been obese (5’1 and highest weight was 147) but I was very rarely near where I should be, and as menopause started, I found that I couldn’t even lose it anymore enough to “yo-yo”! I have spent a fortune on diet books, recorded weight loss shows on TV, bought exercise videos, went to sleep listening to hypnotism messages on my iPod, tried visualization, but nothing worked. My husband (a diabetic) and I have in the last few years tried to eat more whole foods and less processed stuff, using butter, whole raw milk, etc., but my weight didn’t budge. I managed to give up Cokes 2 years ago, and as proud as I was of that, my weight didn’t fluctuate. I just couldn’t understand it. Last November, I even took an exercise challenge online to commit to exercise every day, and my weight stayed the same. I was about to chuck the whole weight loss thing, accept the fact that I would be overweight for the rest of my life, when I saw your book about losing the 40 pounds. The minute I read it, everything clicked. I didn’t go on a formal Atkins; I just took your advice, bought your carb counter, and started eating low-carb. I bought Jim’s books (good too, but you’re a better writer), bought the New Atkins and a few others to read all I could. I did not even exercise for the first few weeks, because I didn’t want anything to confuse the issue and I wanted to see if low carb worked on its own. I have not deprived myself, really. We gave up homemade bread, pasta, baked goods, sweets, starches, all that stuff, but I’ve learned to enjoy almonds and eggs and my husband sure is happy we’re eating more meat! I realized I’d always been eating fruit because it was healthy but I ate WAY too much of it. (I also used to have a muffin for breakfast and wash it down with hot chocolate!)

Now it’s a few months later and I have lost 20 pounds, have gone from size 12-14 to size 8 (even can fit in a pair of 6 pants), and I feel fantastic! I’ve lent your book to two people already, and when people compliment me and ask what I have done, I go on and on about low carb and always recommend your book. You’re so right about how things taste sweeter now. In the cafeteria at the hospital where I work, they have wonderful food and it’s always fresh. I used to get a styrofoam cup of grapes and eat them with my lunch – in probably 5 minutes. Now, when I allow myself some grapes (rarely), I pick out about 6-7 and eat them slowly. One time I ate them so slowly, I had to throw a few out because they were too old! This will be my first summer on low carb and I am feeling my way through the fruit minefield carefully. Now every day for lunch I get a big salad with mixed greens/peppers/cucumbers/cauliflower, etc., and put a lot of turkey on it and a nice boiled egg and use full-fat dressing – it’s the highlight of my day! One hospital employee who works nearby (who doesn’t really know me) asked me what they had for lunch in the cafeteria as I was bringing my salad back to my office. I told her I didn’t really look at the menu anymore, just get my salad, and she said, “Oh, of course, look at you, I should have known you only eat salad.” Little did she know that I kept a bottle of full-fat dressing at my desk for this salad, and had already had a natural peanut butter/jelly on low-carb tortilla, an ounce of almonds, and some cheese already that morning and would have a small square of dark chocolate for dessert! LOL

One irony is that I wanted to lose weight because I was so tired of going to my closet every morning and finding that nothing fit. Of course, now the same thing happens – nothing fits, I need new clothes, but everything is too BIG.

I’m exercising again (even trying yoga videos!). I’m 121 pounds now and want to get to about 118; as I get lighter (and older) the weight loss is slower, but that’s fine by me. I’m looking great and feeling great, have energy, don’t avoid mirrors, and I’m doing my best to spread your message of “it doesn’t have to be this way…” Now that I’ve been successful living the low-carb lifestyle for a few months, I’m re-reading your book from the perspective of experience. THANK YOU SO MUCH. I hope it makes you feel wonderful to realize you have changed so many lives as you have mine. God bless you!

One more update – I did indeed reach my goal of 118 pounds and am still going strong. I made it from size 12 pants to consistently size 6. Wonderful way to start off the new year!


Hi Dana,

Saw your blog post and thought I’d drop you a note about how low-carbing changed me – 60 lbs for the better J Waaaay back, I was a smoker and relatively thin and active. When my mom died of cancer about 13 years ago, I decided that even though she didn’t die of lung cancer, I didn’t want my child to lose me any sooner than necessary because it was so awful losing Mom. So I quit smoking and started packing on the pounds because I didn’t want to fail at quitting smoking so I allowed myself to eat instead. Fast forward a few years, and I had gone from a size 10/12 Misses to the largest Big Lady size there is in Walmart. And I was absolutely disgusted with myself, how I looked, how I felt, how I couldn’t walk anywhere without huffing and puffing. But I’ve never been much for will power or going hungry, and since I never had to worry about it in my youth, teens and 20s, I didn’t get used to making wise nutrition choices.

It was my sister who suggested I try Atkins. At first, I was under the misconception that lots of people are – fad diet, crackpot, unhealthy, eat nothing but bacon and butter all day, etc. But she told me to get the book, read it, and give Induction a try for a few weeks. And if I didn’t like it or couldn’t do it, then I could just stop, right? So that’s exactly what I did. A year later, I was down 60 lbs to my original 10/12 size and happy as could be. And I love eating this way.

Interestingly, my primary care physician – who wasn’t totally sure about this low-carbing when I first started – now regularly tells all his patients to steer away from processed/refined flour foods and any sugars, which is basically saying to stay away from most carb-loaded foods. He just doesn’t call it low-carbing, but it is. There still seems to be a negative surrounding the concept of low-carbing, but at the same time high-protein/low-starch diets are okay. Whatever anyone wants to call it, getting carbs out of the diet really does help.

My tip for sticking with it would be to get into all the online sources and forums – there are so MANY ideas out there for low-carb snacks and recipes and ideas that I never thought of but have been a huge saver to me on many occasions. Just yesterday, I made a batch of Laura Dolson’s Walnut-Cranberry cookies (1 net carb per cookie!). I never would’ve known about them had I not joined her forum online a few years ago.


Dear Dana,
In November last year I weighed 71.5 kgs and needed to lose weight. I found your book How I gave up my low fat diet and lost 40 lbs; what an inspiration and a wonderful help that has been.
I got stuck in June and from then on seemed to be unable to loose weight- now 65kgs. Last week I bought another book of yours, Every Calorie Counts.
Thank you so much it is a great book with great recipes and now I am beginning to enjoy cooking and eating interesting meals.
I just wish people would stop pushing carbs at me , but I am getting used to saying it looks great but no .
Hope you have a very happy Christmas. Thank you again for your advice and recipes.


I’ll try to make this short…

In 2004, I was in my late 20s. Largely due to antidepressant use that I believe damaged my metabolism, my liver, and many other things, I weighed 300 pounds, and wore a size 28, and I had high blood pressure and no energy. One night, my husband took me to the emergency room for reasons you don’t want to know about, and my arm was so fat, they couldn’t find a vein to put the needle in for the IV. That was the moment when I realized I had to do something to make sure I would live to see 30.

I walked into a drug store a few days later for some hand lotion or something, and the store had Atkins’ New Diet Revolution displayed near the entrance. Of course, that was when the “low carb craze” was a big thing, so I bought a copy, not really knowing what else to try. This is going to sound silly, but I took it with me to read during dinner that night at Long John Silver’s – fries, fried fish, Coke, you name it. All of a sudden, I hated that I was eating what I was eating, and proceeded to try Induction. I remember throwing out everything in the house I usually ate that had HFCS in it – and that was a lot of stuff! Over the next couple of years, eating different variations of low carb plans, I got down to 180 pounds. After a while, I foolishly added grains and sugars back in my diet, especially on a business trip I took to Australia in August 2008. It was an amazing trip, but I ate “everything” that my Australian colleagues wanted me to try, leaving me feeling bloated and lethargic by the end of most days there. I gained 12 pounds in the 2 weeks I was there.

In September 2008, I became very ill. I have had stage IV endometriosis for many years, and on this occasion, a 7 cm cyst filled with endometriosis had overtaken my left ovary and left fallopian tube. I had to have surgery as quickly as possible, with an associated surgery to follow in April 2009. During that time (and in some of the time that followed), I felt too ill to prepare appropriate food, and I was depressed about my health, so I ate whatever was available. I didn’t go what some people might consider overboard, but I’m so sensitive to carbs, it was enough to go back up several sizes in clothing.

A few months ago, as I was continuing to feel quite ill, my reproductive endocrinologist diagnosed me with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition linked to insulin resistance. He prescribed metformin for me, a drug used for type 2 diabetes patients, and also frequently given to women with polycystic ovaries. It is used to help regulate insulin levels. He urged me to lose weight, and said the metformin would help with weight loss since it would help me get my insulin under control. With insulin in mind, it didn’t make any sense to me to keep eating carbs, so I switched right back to what I knew is right for my body. I am already feeling much better, and am down about 3 sizes in clothing (with more to go, but that’s ok.) It doesn’t feel like a struggle – with my insulin under control, and adequate protein and fat in my body, I don’t get excessively hungry or crave things all the time!

Although I do feel pressure to eat carbs (for example, I really hate the perplexed looks I get at Asian restaurants when I ask for a stir fry without rice, or when I politely decline lasagna, bread, and cake at a family birthday celebration), I can’t worry about it. I have to do what is best for my health. As a result, my gynecological pain and menstrual cycles are better, I am less tired, it is easier to exercise, and people keep telling me how great I look. (I am a university professor, and people on campus mistaken me for a student!) I really think that grains and added sugars negatively impact not only my gynecological conditions and my insulin levels, but also my complexion, my mood, my energy levels, and my ability to cope with life in general. I am determined that this time, I will not go back. Just having “a little bit” of grains and sugars here and there does not work for me – one thing I can’t decipher is why we are driven to eat things that make us feel bad, other than the possibility of addiction? I have to avoid grains and sugars like a recovering alcoholic has to avoid alcohol. My life depends on it.


I’ve never been obese, but have carried around a firm “beer belly” for a few decades. In my early to mid 40s my doctor found out that my liver carried a lot of fat and my blood numbers showed it. She put me on a low fat diet that did absolutely nothing for the belly, liver, or the blood numbers. My own research found the Atkins Diet and I tried it. My blood number immediately got to normal. I even lost about 30 pounds. Yeah, I cheated a bit and wasn’t very strict about it, but pretty much kept to low to kinda low carb diet for a long time. I felt better in almost every way when I was on the diet.

I had a different doctor convince me that I needed more fiber in my diet, so I added more oatmeal and other fiber rich carbs. That certainly improved “output” for a few years, but I gained weight, didn’t have the energy, and didn’t feel as well either. I also noticed that I was much more susceptible to colds and flues. Also the weight doesn’t help with a job where I’m on my feet all the time. So, I knew I had to get back to a low carb diet. This time I read a little more widely. I liked and picked the Glycemic Load Diet as the one that fit and sounded the best for me. It was simple enough and worked.

Once again I was back to feeling great and losing weight (with very little exercise). This time the diet worked even better. In a year I’ve lost 45 pounds and the belly is pretty much gone away. Before I still had it and it was the hard/dense kind of fat. This time the belly’s pretty much gone and it is very soft. (OK, I’m not bragging about that, but health-wise soft is better.) I’m thrilled and have made my wife very jealous. (Low carb hasn’t worked very well for her vegetarian lifestyle.)

I think the keys are to find a diet that is a lifestyle rather than a temporary way of getting rid of fat. It also has to be simple. Now my basic rule is no grains, potatoes, or sugar. It’s simple and easy to make a lifestyle. I eat a lot of meat, fruit (not all), and most vegetables. (OK, never as many veggies as I should.)

One thing I’ve notice about my current way vs. my previous tries and those of others, is to cut out the “edge cheating”. By that I mean always looking for ways to push the diet as close to carbs as you can. It means trying to recreate all your comfort foods in ways that are as low carb as you can get away with. Doing that still focuses the mind on foods you shouldn’t be eating. It also pushes you to cheating with more and more carbs in your recipes to get them to taste like your comfort foods of old. Next thing you know you’ve slowly crossed back into a higher and higher carb lifestyle. I’ve found it works much better to make new comfort foods. I’ve tried to do that with meats, cheese, and fruits. It’s fun, inventive, tastes good, and feels good.

[BTW, your books on low carb slow cooking and barbecue have really helped with new ways to create new meat comfort foods. I kind of see a lot of your other recipes as edge cheating with an eye back to the high carb comfort foods. However, I’m sure that’s great for most people.]


Hey Dana,

So I suppose I should start at the beginning. I have genetic thunder thighs, lol, and I’ve had them from infancy. I have the pictures to prove it. Anyways, I was never a super skinny person but never too overweight either. I was what the current standard is of average my whole life. Then my parents divorced when I first started college and I gained a ton of weight from stress eating. I would go to the dining hall and have dessert ALL the time. It was socially accepted among freshman so didn’t feel weird about it. Then I was still doing it my sophomore and junior years. I had gained 50 pounds and wasn’t happy. My boyfriend told me that I should try low carb eating because he had lost 90 pounds doing that years ago. After making myself physically ill from eating no carbs for a while I needed to try something else and someone gave my your book, 500 low carb recipes. I really enjoyed reading the introduction and trying the recipes that even my teenage brother enjoys. Long story short, I’m 30 pounds down and feeling great. My seasonal allergies are under control without medicine and I’m down to a dress size 6 after being a 16 for a long time. I hope to inspire others with my story as my boyfriend did for me.


Special thanks to our sponsor, CarbSmart
Visit Dana’s blog: Hold The Toast
Visit Jimmy Moore’s blog: Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb

13 Replies to “Dana’s New Years Special, Episode One”

  1. I love the format and looking forward to listening to your podcasts on my iPod, Dana. Loved your views on Hank’s podcast, and agree that the variety in low carb approaches is a benefit to all different types of people taking up the lifestyle. What resonates with some won’t with others.

    Thanks for the recipes!

  2. Awesome, Dana! Thanks for your service to the Low-Carb community. Will this be on iTunes or Stitcher Radio anytime soon?

  3. Any chance you can get this to show up on iTunes since it will be an ongoing podcast?
    IT would be great.
    Keep up the good work.. A great start!
    CJ Adams

  4. Oh, Dana, what a great show. Ms Radio Voice!

    I really like the photo you have up. I think it is even more flattering than the one on the Hold the Toast blog.

    Thanks for putting this together for all of us fans. Bacon-Butter indeed.
    Wonderful to hear Jimmy too. I’ll be eagerly listening for each addition. Future topic idea: Low carb for cats and dogs (a natural). Good luck and thanks again.

  5. Just finished listening to the show and I absolutely loved it. I have been trying to do low carb since before Dr.Atkins passed away. Low carb has always worked for me and made me feel better, but I would always fall into the ” not healthy for you trap” and get off the low carb life style. Most of my family and friends are vegeterians or low fat eaters. It is so refreshing to find this blog. I go to it everyday and have deceided it is the life style for me. This year is the first year of the rest of my low carb life style. Thank you so much Dana (I have all your cook books).P.S. When I make your Chocolate Chip cookies all of my low fat friends beg for them.

  6. Dana,
    Listened to both podcast and they are great. Looking forward to having you on I Tunes so I can listen while doing my treadmill time.

Comments are closed.