Dana Carpender shifts from "Low Carb For Life" to "Cook Well, Eat Well"
This Fort Wayne Journal Gazette story featuring the nationally syndicated column from bestselling low-carb cookbook author Dana Carpender called "Low Carb For Life" contained startling news this week for people who support livin' la vida low-carb -- a major name change removing the phrase "low-carb" from the title.
Carpender, whose personal low-carb weight loss success story was featured in her debut book "How I Gave Up My Low-Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds,” said changing the name of her column to "Cook Well, Eat Well" is a move that "broadens [the] focus" of what she writes about.
"I’m excited about it, and I hope you’ll find [the name change] both useful and fun," Carpender wrote.
As a big fan of Dana Carpender, I must admit I'm a bit disappointed. Just as I wrote earlier this year when Jonny Bowden decided to distance himself from "low-carb," the sad part is that both he and Dana STILL believe the low-carb life has helped people like me change our lives forever. Otherwise, neither one of them would have written the books they have about this wonderful way of eating and how it can be just what someone is looking for to get healthy for themselves.
Carpender is quick to point out that if you are someone who has found success on the low-carb lifestyle, then keep doing it!
"I still eat low carb, and, indeed, I expect to eat low carb for the rest of my life," she wrote. "And if you are doing well and are happy with a low-carb diet, I urge you to continue eating that way for the rest of your life, too. Why mess with success?"
In her column this week, Carpender said she has "thrived and continue(s) to thrive" on a low-carb diet, but...
"Many of us have come to learn that the quantity and quality of carbohydrates we eat (or don’t eat) has a vast effect on our health, energy, and weight," Carpender explained. "But it’s no longer a case of 'I’m on Atkins,' or 'I’m on South Beach' – there are nearly as many variations of carb control as there are people who are paying attention to their carb intake."
While the term "low-carb" is indeed difficult to peg these days with so many different meanings, that is why I believe it is important for people who believe in this way of eating to stand up in defense of it and take back the term from the media and so-called health "experts" who have twisted and perverted what low-carb living is all about.
That is one of the reasons I started my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog. I noticed that the media was having a field day on low-carb without anyone willing to stand up to them and call their bluff on all the lies and deceptions they were spreading about the low-carb lifestyle. When your life has been changed as dramatically as mine has, you can't help but want to share the truth and hope that this way of eating has given you with everyone you know. That passion has never left me and I hope it never will.
But if the major leaders of the low-carb movement, including Bowden and Carpender, abandon the "low-carb" label, then who is going to be left to explain this healthy nutritional approach to a world of overweight and obese people? We need strong voices willing to be the ambassadors of the cause to the millions of people desperately looking for a way to lose weight for good.
I can certainly understand to a certain extent what they are doing by removing the "low-carb" label affiliated with their names. The fact is they have become successful authors advocating healthy living on the back of low-carb's popularity, but now there's a shift in thinking regarding the use of the phrase "low-carb." Publishers are urging their authors to move away from using that phrase now because it's no longer chic and "in" like it was two years ago. Terms like "healthy carb" are more acceptable than the much-vilified "low-carb."
Too bad for people like Bowden, Carpender and my friend Jan McCracken who have been forced to exclude using the phrase "low-carb" in their books and columns despite the fact that they earnestly believe in it wholeheartedly as a sound approach to weight loss and healthy living.
The fact of the matter is that book publishers only want to continue seeing the dollar signs and don't give a rip about the heartfelt convictions of their authors. It's a sad state of affairs, but it is what it is. I used to work in the retail end of the book industry and it's a ruthless, cut-throat business that is extremely competitive. They are scared to death that nobody is gonna buy a "low-carb" book and don't want to get stuck stockpiling thousands of books they believe won't sell.
Are they right? Should publishers be worried about a "low-carb" book not selling? Perhaps. But I wouldn't think using the term "low-carb" would be a negative thing at all. I used it for my book and I intend on using it again for my next book. After all, "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" sounds so much better than "Livin' La Vida Cook Well" or "Livin' La Vida Eat Well." Not quite as catchy, is it?
Ever the optimist, Carpender said her new column will "serve the larger community of people who limit carbohydrates while also keeping an eye on calories, and those who primarily count calories but also avoid junk carbs."
"Too often, we focus simply on carbohydrates or calories and forget that the most important function of food is to nourish our bodies – to supply not just protein, fats, and carbohydrates, but vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients that are essential for both physical and mental health," she added.
Committed to using only "good carbs" in her recipes, Carpender said she'll choose foods that have a low glycemic load, contain zero trans fats, and exclaimed proudly that she will be "shunning sugar, corn syrup, white flour, hydrogenated vegetable oils and other sad excuses for 'food.'”
Well, THAT sounds like the Dana Carpender I know. Although she has removed the "low-carb" label from her column, she'll still be offering low-carb recipes that will keep you happy on your low-carb lifestyle.
But it does make you wonder: Who's the next BIG NAME low-carb celebrity to ditch the term "low-carb?"
3-21-2006 UPDATE: Well, fans of Dana Carpender may be pleased to see the name she uses for her new web site: http://lowcarbohydrate.net. Perhaps she hasn't given up on it altogether just yet.