Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kooky, Crazy, Nutty...And Everything In Between: E-mails To My Low-Carb Blog

Some of my readers must be related to Crazy Harry

I'm gonna be dating myself a bit with this reference, but do you remember the old Jim Henson television program called The Muppet Show? We all know Kermit the Frog, Fozzy, Beaker, Animal, and, of course, Miss Piggy. But do you remember that character named Crazy Harry? He was the strange one who always looked like he was up to no good as he looked for something to blow up. Does that ring a bell?

Well, I must have some long lost relatives of Crazy Harry embarking on my blog from time to time because some rather kooky, crazy, and nutty comments and e-mails have been coming my way lately and it certainly keeps life rather interesting to say the least. That's okay because I get enough of everything in between to help counterbalance the wild and the weird.

One of the most popular kind of blog posts I do feature some of the most intriguing e-mails and comments that come my way and you can see my previous ones here, here, here, here, and here, and here. But I do believe today takes the proverbial low-carb cake for the strangest e-mail I have ever received in the history of my blog. And that's truly saying something with all the bizarre comments that have been hurled in my direction. The good news is one freaky bit of feedback is always tempered perfectly by bunches of normal ones, so ENJOY!

The following was left as an anonymous comment at my blog this week:

Look around your mid-section, you could live off that fat for 6 months. I am highly skeptical that your body needs all that fat. I'm pretty sure your gall bladder will need removal within a few years. Though that's only if you survive the colon cancer from the 15 pounds of fetid low quality hormone laden mad cow meat adhering to you colon. Do you notice how bad your BO is and how bad the toilet smells after you go. If you don't just ask your wife. Chimp poo is nothing like that!

PS - and what is with your so called brother being in hospice and singing karaoke ? I've yet to meet a hospice patient released for a little karaoke R&R. I think somebody is looking for pity points. But if you weren't a drama llama you would not over medicate with fatty foods (formerly sugary foods in your younger years).

Looks like Dean Ornish let one of his wacko radical vegetarians out on the loose again! Does something like this even deserve to be dignified with a valid response from me? I think not (although I thought you'd get a good laugh out of it like I did!).

Now, on to more NORMAL e-mails...

Dear Jimmy,

I am a former vegetarian (16 years with no meat!) who has started eating fish and a hell of a lot more protein and fat due to reading Gary Taubes' book Good Calories, Bad Calories. I have easy access to all the research articles that he sites in his book, so in addition to being persuaded by Gary I have read all the original experiments as well and have changed my eating habits accordingly.

My reason for emailing you is to ask this: when you are talking to people about your diet and your opponent says: "I love sugar! I will never stop eating sugar! My boyfriend/girlfriend/ spouse tried it and they fainted/felt like crap/their heads exploded, etc." How do I defend myself? (I just had this conversation five minutes ago, so I am fuming just a bit.)

I could have been nasty and said, "Well, look at me, and now look AT YOU, YOU FAT SUGAR EATER!!!!" However, as irritating as this person can be sometimes, I did not want to hurt her feelings.

So, Jimmy, could you or any of your fans advise me how to converse nicely with the uninitiated proponent of carbs without sounding like a total jerk?

LOL! I think we all have people like this in our life. The thing I tell people is that you won't have to give up sugar for life if you don't want to on your low-carb diet. You just choose to go without it until your weight and health is under control. But what will happen is they'll reap the benefits of ditching sugar and will decide for themselves to never eat it again. What would you suggest?

Hi Jimmy,

I am hoping you can help me answer a question, or at least point me in the right direction to get an answer. First let me say, I love your blog! Thanks so much for keeping us updated on the low carb lifestyle. Let me tell you a little background about myself. I am a type 1 diabetic on an insulin pump and am a registered nurse. In 1994, I read a book by a doctor in NY, Richard Bernstein, which changed the way I managed my diabetes. Dr. Bernstein advocates a very low carb diet for diabetics, and he has used it to manage his own diabetes for years. I met with him and tried his low carb diet, which substantially reduced my insulin needs. Although I was not able to maintain his ultra low carb recommendations, I have continued to follow a much lower carb diet which has helped greatly improve my diabetes control.

In 2004, I decided to tackle my next health issue, which was my weight. I had about 45 pounds to lose, and decided to join Weight Watchers and follow their core plan. Although Weight Watchers does not advocate low carb, it was easy for me to structure my eating with the core plan and still eat a lower carb diet. Within 7 months, I had dropped the 45 pounds and have maintained the weight loss for the past 4 years. Now, on to my question...

I currently exercise every day. I love it and look forward to it. As is my routine, just prior to exercising I have my one treat of the day, which is ice cream. This helps to keep my blood sugar up while exercising and keeps me on track with my healthy eating habits because I know I get to eat that one sweet treat every day. Recently, Breyers came out with a new line of "Breyers Free" ice creams, which are fat free and have some added fiber. I have been buying this line because the Weight Watchers points value is 1-2 points, as opposed to 4-5 for regular ice cream. But what I have noticed when eating these fat free ice creams is that my blood sugar goes way up, which it never did with the regular ice creams. After looking at the carb values for both, I saw that the fat free had 25 gms of carbs and the regular has 15 grams, which is a big difference since I probably do not stick to the 1/2 cup serving. Because of the difference in the carb value, I end up having to take extra insulin, which I did not have to do with the regular ice cream.

So my question to you is do you think I should switch back to the regular ice cream? I am desperate to lose another 7 pounds, and am afraid that the regular ice cream, being higher in calories, will slow down this weight loss. However, my logical mind also knows that it is generally the extra insulin that the body makes or, in my case, that is injected, that causes me to gain weight. Can you please tell me your opinion on this, as I will feel better hearing it from someone who is familiar with the low carb debate. My doctor basically told me that lower calorie=weight loss, higher calorie=weight gain, but I am not so sure that is true since I have to take more insulin to cover the higher carb value.

Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

Do I need to say how wrong this is on so many levels? I couldn't believe my eyes when I was reading this e-mail. Let me address the reason why fat-free and low-fat foods have more sugar/carbs. When they take out the fat, the food manufacturers have to replace it with something--and most of the time that something is sugar or high fructose corn syrup. That's just the way it is.

Now, about that ice cream before your workout. WHAT?! It's a myth that you need to carb-up before exercise and I urge you to STOP eating the ice cream beforehand. That's not necessary when you are livin' la vida low-carb, eating adequate protein, and fueling up with fat. Read The TNT Diet by Adam Campbell and Dr. Jeff Volek to find out how to implement this way of eating into your regular exercise routine.

My experience with a very low carb, high fat diet.

Started diet at Age 57, weight 186 (highest ever), total cholesterol 207, triglycerides 149, HDL 41, and LDL 136. Blood pressure between high normal and pre-hypertension.

Lost 23lbs in 9 months, with total cholesterol 182, triglycerides 79, HDL 46, LDL 120. Sounded pretty good to me!

3 months later, still on low carb diet, had lost additional 4 lbs, and feeling real good...then I had a heart attack. They placed 2 stents in 2 blocked arteries, also the main coronary artery is 40% blocked and I'm looking at bypass surgery in the future.

Now I'm on a full regiment of drugs. Lost additional 10 lbs, and stayed on low carb, but now also low fat. With the drugs, total cholesterol 110, triglycerides 50, HDL 44, LDL 57. Blood pressure is now very very low.

Ok, what happened?

It's funny how people are so quick to blame their low-carb diet on health calamities when differences suddenly manifest themselves. But you never hear people talk about how much that low-fat, high-carb diet they were eating damaged their health. I've never understood this double standard, but it is what it is I guess.

Anywho, as for this person who says their heart attack happened because of livin' la vida low-carb, he needs to read this recent blog post from a 31-year old man who also had a heart attack. The thing is you cannot underestimate your predisposition for having a cardiovascular event especially at your age and in the short amount of time you've been on low-carb. All those years of high-carb eating can take their toll. Eating low-fat is NOT the answer, but continuing low-carb living is vitally important to preventing ANOTHER heart attack in the future.

Dear Jimmy,

I have a few comments. EVERYBODY says and thinks that they are never gonna be fat again or gain their weight back. Yet many, if not most, do just that. You may be too young to remember when Oprah dragged 90 lbs of fat in a wagon on stage and declared she would never be fat again. She may not be very fat now but she was between then and now, with losses and gains in between. Forgive my skepticism. It comes from my own experiences. I have lost weight, between 50 and 100 lbs several times, and kept it off for an average of three years. So I couldn't take seriously anyone's advice until they'd made it past 5 or 10 years.

I pray that you succeed. I think this must be the first time you've lost a lot of weight or you might not be so sure you won't gain it back. Gaining it back is worse than being fat in the first place. Because I do want you to succeed, I am going to follow your progress. I think it may be wise for you to cultivate a little humility. In my opinion you sound like you are sure that you have THE answers. I wish it were so simple. I do agree that the questionnaires generally are asking the wrong questions, but the one about how you'd feel if you gained the weight back is an important and quite legitimate question that you need not to dismiss so cavalierly, perhaps to your own peril.

Did I mention there was only one psycho e-mail? Okay, I was wrong. I have no idea what this person is talking about, but this is America and he has a right to his opinion. THANK YOU for, I think. :)

Hi Jimmy,

I'm a long time listener of your podcast show and I love it!

I've been restricting my carbs for several years - my diet is probably not "low carb" as I eat around 100g total carbs per day (fibre included). However, I'm also vegan. I'm intolerant to dairy and I've never liked meat all that much anyway.

I know that a lot of vegans are opposed to low carb diets and are very vocal about it. I personally don't push my vegan diet onto anyone, mainly because I don't like people trying to force me to eat meat and dairy products. I still prepare meat for my husband and children, I just don't eat any of it.

Just wondering what your opinions are of vegan low carb diets, and whether you think it's even possible! My diet consists of: fruit, vegetables, tofu, seitan, wheat bran, nuts, and seeds. I also boost my protein intake with soy protein supplement because I weight train 4-5 times per week. My non fruit/vegetable carbs are from 1 serving of wheat bran per day, and 1 cup of pea soup 2-3 times per week.

It sounds boring to most people but I genuinely enjoy eating this way.

Just wondering what your thoughts are, and whether "vegan" and "low carb" can actually be compatible!

Thanks and keep up the great work!

I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with a vegan wanting to eat a low-carb diet, but there are many benefits to eating animal fat that you miss out on when you go totally vegan. Plus, you can't eat eggs or other sources of healthy fat and protein that your body needs. I couldn't personally handle a low-carb vegan diet personally, but more power to ya. I just wish the really crazy vegans would just calm down with their rhetoric.

I've got plenty more e-mails to share with you and will do that soon. In the meantime, I always love hearing from my readers whether they agree with me or not. So feel free to drop me an e-mail anytime at

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Blogger size8jeans said...

Re: the type 1 diabetic: he most likely NEEDS the ice cream (as in, medically needs it [or another form of sugar]). Healthy people don't, but type 1 is a whole different matter. If he doesn't get his blood sugar up beforehand, he will most likely experience low blood sugar with all the attendant problems.

I saw a woman go into this state and it's ain't pretty - it's scary and dangerous. She started acting totally different, and not in a good way. She went from the professional I knew to a blathering idiot in a very short time span.

7/31/2008 11:44 PM  
Blogger Kay said...

My hat's off to you, Jimmy! My skin is too thin to take the emails from the Crazy Harrys of the world!
Keep up the good work!


8/01/2008 6:04 AM  
Blogger Amberlee said...

Yes we still love ya! :)

8/01/2008 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Kathleene said...

I have to give you credit Jimmy, I don't see how you maintain such a positive attitude when dealing with thoughtless jerks like these. I know you love your lifestyle and know what you are doing is right, so I applaud you for keeping the faith. Keep doing what you believe in and the rest will follow. Take care!

8/01/2008 9:27 AM  
Anonymous AM said...

Being in the semi-public eye must generate a lot of weird emails. The very nature of email, I think, causes people to say stuff they wouldn't say out loud to someone.

I wonder why the vegan low-carber was looking to you for validation. She seems to be okay with the meat eating world and her diet in general. I too, couldn't handle her diet but more power to her.

8/01/2008 9:50 AM  
Anonymous lowcarbhealth said...

Okay Jimmy, I love you, I love Christine, I love your blog, and I love how motivated you are, but it's not nice to call people psychos. Be the bigger person! :) Maybe the first one was warranted, (lol) but the second one that you called that... I think he had good intentions.

I was just wondering if you suggested to the ice-cream girl alternatives to her treat. She said she looked forward to it and that it helped her eat healthy the rest of the day because she had it to look forward to. Fruit "smoothies" (fruit, ice, protein powder) are yummy and great for us! Sugarfree jello is an okay option, though it admittedly isn't my favorite. Maybe you should send her some of your low-carb cheesecake recipes! :)

To the girl who is vegan and needs to know what to tell people who can't dream of life without sugar, there are sugar substitutes for those that absolutely CANNOT go without sweet stuff, but it had been my experience that giving up sugar and using artificial sweeteners sparingly makes fruit that much more delicious... :)

Have a great day!!

8/01/2008 10:28 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Just having some fun, lowcarbhealth! I find it interesting what people write to me sometimes and just wanted to let you all in on it. No animosity in my heart and I know some of them mean well. Most people are VERY normal in their responses so these stick out a bit.

I did offer specific alternatives for the ice cream lady when I wrote her back. I just don't think having ice cream is the best option for "helping her get through the day." YEPPERS!

You are so right about fruit and even nuts and veggies. They are so much SWEETER when you give up sugar. :)

THANK YOU again for your comments!

8/01/2008 10:32 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Hi, I'm commenting for the first time, although I drop by your site regularly.

I'm a low-carb advocate myself, although I've never had weight or health problems. I'm a bit of a health nut, though--long-time tai chi student, for instance--so you might say I'm interested in keeping myself as healthful as possible, and a diet low in processed carbs seems the most sound and sensible to me.

It sounds like the guy/gal who had the low-carb vegan question is in the same boat; perhaps s/he is merely interested in being as healthy as s/he can and is always looking for the latest info and opinions. I do agree with Jimmy that eating animal fat is good for us, it's what we evolved on, but some folks have ethical objections to doing so, and I don't try to beat my head against that particular wall!

With regard to the guy who had the heart attack after lowering his weight and cholesterol on a lowcarb diet, I just want to add my story:

My dad had a heart attack last December. He was 54, maybe 15 lbs. overweight but certainly no one you'd look at and consider fat. He had no prior or family history of heart problems. He golfed and played racquetball a couple times a week.

When he had the heart attack, all the medical staff in the hospital came around and asked him about his personal habits. He didn't smoke. He wasn't particularly heavy. He exercised regularly. His diet was better than most (not up to my standards, but still better than 80% of the people I know). His cholesterol levels were fine.

Frankly, I think he gave himself a heart attack out of stress. My parents own a small business and like many others in the country right now, their business and income has suffered. They are struggling to hang onto the house they've lived in for 20 years.

But of course, all the nurses and doctors were looking for that magic cholesterol bullet. I was there when the dietician came around and told him he should limit himself to skim milk and two egg yolks a week. Bah! It was all I could do not to jump down her throat.

I'm happy to say, after that incident, my sister and I convinced my parents to change from margarine to butter. I think that will do them both some good; I'm still working on them about breakfast cereal.

Anyway, sorry for the long post, I just got inspired. I do enjoy your site, Jimmy!

8/01/2008 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jimmy,

You do get your share of interesting emails! That first one was definitely baiting you...glad you just ignored it and did not answer her. I always think of HD with those kinds of emails...but I could be wrong.

As to the poster who is a Type I diabetic...she needs to eat something to bring her blood sugars up before exercise! I have 3 adult kids who are Type I diabetics and must do the same...the low blood sugar episodes they have otherwise are frightening. I've actually seen 2 of them have seizures from a rapid drop in blood sugar with more exercise than they had sugar in their blood to sustain. Now they use glucose tabs (yes, pure sugar) or something like that before exercise.

NORMAL people do not need to carb up, but Type I diabetics do. I'm not sure ice cream is the best way to go, but she has to eat something to bring up her blood sugar. Personally, I would suggest to her to go back to her original type of full-fat ice cream if she enjoys it. What's the difference between eating ice cream before exercise or having to use glucose tabs?

Just my 2 cents,

8/01/2008 11:36 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Welcome out of Lurkville, Holly! I appreciate your comments and personal story. We cannot underestimate stress as a role in cardiovascular health and I try hard to live as stress-free as possible to supplement what I am doing with my low-carb lifestyle. So far, so good. :)

THANKS for the info on Type 1 diabetics and exercise everyone. That's fascinating!

8/01/2008 11:47 AM  
Blogger Tom Bunnell (TB)--TB said...

Hybrid carbohydrate addicts are a vicious lot but we can't blame them. -- You take, lets say a Kingdome sized group of people, maybe 50,000, that are hybrid carbohydrate addicts or cigarette addicts or caffeine addicts or alcoholics, and that are thoroughly addicted and have no intention of quitting, and you be the one guy standing right there in there face that could and would 'actually' take there addictive drug away from them and you are going to be in deep, deep, poo poo. -- You are the evil reincarnation of the devil himself and are to be destroyed!

8/01/2008 12:36 PM  
Blogger Tom Bunnell (TB)--TB said...

Try standing in front of the marijuana addicts sometime if you want to see what a real onslaught is like!

8/01/2008 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would suggest that the ice-cream eater go back to her Dr. Bernstein books, or buy his latest versions. She's worrying about calories and fat; if she needs some carbs to exercise, it seems that the 15 carbs in the ice cream is not too far off from what Dr. Bernstein would allow, but I think she could find a healthier option.

8/01/2008 3:29 PM  
Blogger SusanJ said...

Jimmy, the saying "don't feed the trolls" is a wise one. You are encouraging these people by giving them publicity. That is a bad idea. I know your posts on this issue can be amusing but it likely exacerbates the problem, especially since you are a highly-visible professional blogger.

8/01/2008 7:50 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS Susan! I didn't really give a comment, post their name or URL or anything. So any "publicity" they might have wanted from it never materialized. I appreciate your response, though. :)

8/01/2008 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jimmy,

I say "do not respond to that cruel and stupid e-mail" you will only be adding power to their words and stooping to their level. You are much better then that.

Katie Seltz

8/02/2008 12:56 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Which is PRECISELY why I DIDN'T respond, Katie. Have no intentions of doing so whatsoever. :)

8/02/2008 2:50 PM  
Blogger Vesna VK said...

I would suggest to the nurse to look into Breyer's line of low-carb ice creams, sweetened with Splenda and other non-caloric sweeteners.

8/02/2008 9:36 PM  
Blogger size8jeans said...

About the vegan low-carber - I wouldn't consider soy a health food. I was recently diagnosed with thyroid problems (and the lovely slow metabolism that comes with it). I am supposed to cut out soy as it is not good for the thyroid gland, and I have manged to cut way back.

Perhaps the vegan could look into lactose-free dairy options? I just don't believe that much soy is good.

She's "controlled-carb" at 100g a day. I eat 100g of carbs a day, NOT counting fiber.

8/03/2008 8:48 PM  

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