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Safe starches - not for most of us

Thursday, November 08, 2012

That is my conclusion after doing some additional research on Ron Rosedale's blog.
The reason is this:
While I believe that so-called "safe starches" are not as toxic as grains and beans and sugar, they will still raise insulin-levels and raised insulin levels always lead to fat storage and inhibit fat burning. Anyone who is overweight or obese or has a tendency to become overweight has probably been exposed to enough fructose and glucose from their diet (even if they eat low-carb now) that they are to some degree insulin-resistant and leptin-resistant. I had my personal example of this when I found out yesterday that my daughter's H A1c blood test came back at 5.7, right on the border to pre-diabetes. She has been eating no grains or beans and far less sugar than most kids her ago for the last 8 months and her weight is normal, her body fat percentage lower than average. But the occasional chocolate bar or larger serving of fruit or dairy must have been more than what her body needs.
Rosdale argues, convincingly, that there is a direct correlation between long life expectancy and low carbohydrate consumption.
The other disadvantage of consuming more than about 50-60 grams of carbs/day is that you lose the advantage of not feeling hungry or having any cravings for food, something that really helps with weight loss and weight maintenance.
So for anyone planning to experiment with adding safe starches to their plan I would suggest to have an H A1c test done to make sure that you are not in or very near the pre-diabetic or diabetic range.
If you are considering adding safe starches because you feel hungry this could be because your carb levels had not been low enough (under 50 grams/day or even lower for some) or your protein levels were too high and/or fat levels too low. It is also possible that someone is not feeling great on ultra low-carb because they are not fully keto-adapted, a process that can take between 2- 6 weeks, depending on the person.
I learned the hard way that every time I am out of ketosis (as I am at the moment) that even once I am back in ketosis it takes several weeks until I get all the benefits of increased energy. I'll really try to stick with it from now on, even if I get sick.
There are individual differences of course but I think they may not be as big as I used to think.
Here is Ron Rosdale's blog on this issue :

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUSSELL_40 11/9/2012 9:11AM

    I agree Birgit, and am cutting protein a bit, and upping fat. I couldn't find the Rosedale diet book, but having it shipped to me.I can't go above 40 net carbs without hunger, and weight gain. I think safe starches is just another attempt to get people to do a "low carb" version that does not work. If enough people fail at low carb, the SAD doesn't look so sad ( pun ).

The other interesting part of yesterday's blog was Dr, Cate Shanahan's diet. She has her patients on a 30-70 total grams of carbohydrate diet. How many people, and what are the results? How long have they been eating this way? Wouldn't that be something to convince others to do a controlled study with the same parameters?

Comment edited on: 11/9/2012 9:12:14 AM

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ERIN1957 11/9/2012 7:05AM

    I so agree keeping carbs under 50-60 I believe is ideal long term.
I do not think once and awhile a bit higher isn't that harmful, depends on where the carbs come from.

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GOPINTOS 11/9/2012 12:56AM

    Very interesting take. I havent read Rosdale yet but I would agree that if you have an underlying health issue like pre-diabetes/diabetes, there's no such thing as safe starch.

However for those that are otherwise healthy and fat adapted, a starch like a potato is hard to beat. It's pretty paleo/primal if a person is into that.

If you are interested in reading about some experimenting around with it, nothing scientific though, there is a monster thread at MDA called Eat MOAR Taters, and another one just starting up that will probably become monster haha

Anyways, the first one is about a 90 page thread where we shared our experiences and there are pros and cons discussed. Sometimes civil, sometimes not so much but for the most part :) Again, it was not intended for those with health issues. Plain and simple, it is just a fat hack. A fat hack used by otherwise healthy individuals who experienced success with fat loss and satiety. :)

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EGALITAIRE 11/9/2012 12:54AM

    Thanks for posting Birgit - always interested in more good info

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Safe starches - yes or no

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


This shows a range of different opinions on starches among the low-carb community.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JSTETSER 11/9/2012 5:37AM

    Lots of information!

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-LINDA_S 11/8/2012 8:10PM

    Thanks! Interesting stuff.

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ARMSPORTS 11/8/2012 1:19PM

    Starches post workout with protein are the ideal time to help reduce cortisol, replenish glycogen, etc. This is your recovery meal and it is designed to halt catabolism and start the process of recovery and muscle anabolism. Plus with the muscle being more permeable to glucose after exercise, less insulin is needed in the process. If you are working out intensely (circuits, HIIT, Crossfit, weight training, etc.) this should be done or your body will end up tapping into your muscle reserves to get the amino acids it needs for gluconeogenesis. If you are just doing mild cardio then fat and ketones are fine as fuel. Not trying to offend the ultra low carb folks just stating metabolic facts.

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RUSSELL_40 11/8/2012 11:29AM

    Very interesting. I eat high protein, high fat, so will look into Rosedale's high fat diet. . I don't think there are any safe starches. I do get cold feet and hands, but I did before, since I became diabetic. I also don't have dry eyes/ mouth. I DO have to drink more, because low carb has a diuretic effect. The same could be achieved by dehydration. Quitting a diet with many health benefits because of cold feet, or not drinking enough water is not very smart. I think cancer, obesity, and diabetes are bigger issues to avoid.

I also admit that I am in a rut, and eat the same meals day after day. I am constantly trying to make changes in the vegetables I eat, but a lot of vegetables are higher glycemic. I don't suffer from anxiety, depression, or lack of energy.

I loved Dr. Rosedale's arguments, and hated Paul Jaminet's. A diet of 30% carbs is optimal? Please! The other 2 were at least thinking about their answers, and seemed genuinely interested in nutrition, without pre-conceived notions. I don't care that they have different opinions, as long as they can admit they are wrong, if proof is presented. I liked the idea that Jimmy Moore said we need to have these discussions. We do. Without a debate, we can never refute the myths about low carb, and people will continue repeating them.

As a diabetic, I was intrigued with the idea of Jaminet putting sick people on a ketogenic diet. I have been off diabetes meds for 30 months with low carb, ketogenic diet, so I agree with that practice. Many of these diseases we face in greater number, started increasing as we changed our diets. The idea that reverting back to what we ate before, might also reverse the volume of those diseases sounds simplistic, but reasonable. I only have to wonder... If these diseases were caused by our changes in diet, and the cure is to return to the diet we thrived on for centuries, why wait till we are sick to eat that way?

I thought Rosedale was actually quite nice about it, but lost some people by not simplifying his message. He's a doctor, but most people are not. What he said is important, but you also need to get people to listen.

The last thing that interested me was discussion on fermentation of vegetables, to reduce sugar. Not sure I would do it, but it is very interesting.

I also have never heard of Jimmy Moore till a few days ago, so will have to look him up on You Tube. Hopefully they aren't all an hour long..lol.

Thanks for the vlog Birgit.

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ERIN1957 11/8/2012 5:59AM

    I listened to this yesterday and have been really looking into more information.
I am not one who does a lot of high exercise or intense activity...not saying I won't some day just not as of yet. I have to watch my carbs closely.
I was checking out a lot of things these last weeks with complex carbs as well. I say be careful. Grain is grain. Just like sugar is sugar....well at least for me. I do believe we have to decide for ourselves and I don't mind being my own test dummy. I believe we need to know our bodies well enough to see the effects/affects and weigh it all out...literally.

Comment edited on: 11/8/2012 6:00:03 AM

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GOPINTOS 11/8/2012 1:58AM

    Thanks for sharing. I have the world's slowest internet, and this computer doesnt even have speakers but I have been reading and in on other discussions so I know this is a hot topic. Another big deal NASA scientist is getting ready to release some information/studies on the benefits as well.

I know for me personally, adding safe starches back in has made all the difference. My weight loss is moving again after experimenting with very highfat/VLC. I just plain feel better - more like doing stuff. And therefore I am, it is like stepping out of a fog. I am faithfully doing both ST and Tabata along with other things. And my body is responding with about .5lbs lost per day.

Dh has lost about 5lbs in the last few weeks also.

I was afraid of eating potatoes since I went low carb but I could not help but remember 20 years ago when I was a manic at the gym and I ate alot of potatoes. Mostly because they were cheap and I was broke. I had lost over 50lbs, in the best shape of my life, and squatting 300lbs and just starting to bench press and I can remember starting at 100lbs. Potatoes were my main food supply. However fast forward 20 years - since I was not that young manic at the gym, I was afraid to eat them again. I am so glad that I followed Paul's (Perfect Health Diet author) advice to add them back in and to dial back on the fat while I get the rest of the extra weight off.

I still keep my carbs in check. Potatoes are so satiating so you really just cant overeat them even if you try :) A little bit goes a looong way especially if you eat it w/o fats. Now I am not saying everyone should but for me, they make me happy and I am doing quite well. I have them most daily. Some days none, some days several.

Thanks for sharing!


Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda (gopintos)
Perfect Health Diet Team
Country Living Team
Dr Oz Show Fans Team
Wheat Belly Team

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DJ4HEALTH 11/8/2012 1:02AM

    Thanks for the info!

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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

This has become a classic but it seemed a good time to talk about sugar and what it does inour bodies again.

Comments welcome, both here and in any spark teams. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NDTEACHER1 11/8/2012 10:45PM

    I'll save it for later, thank you for sharing.

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JSTETSER 11/7/2012 6:03AM

    Thanks for the post. I learned something.

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-LINDA_S 11/6/2012 10:02PM

    An oldie but a goodie! Thanks!

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GOPINTOS 11/6/2012 5:47PM

    Thanks for sharing!


Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda (gopintos)
Perfect Health Diet Team
Country Living Team
Dr Oz Show Fans Team
Wheat Belly Team

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DIANEGLORIA 11/6/2012 3:50PM


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ERIN1957 11/6/2012 1:43PM

    If people did nothing more than zero that out of their lives we could probable stop so much disease in it's tracks. As well as many other issues. Processed foods would be number 2 on my list of things to rid ourselves from. I am almost 100% compliant in these two areas.

I hope others truly look at ridding themselves of it!

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How many carbs are ideal for health?

Monday, November 05, 2012

The first question we need to ask is whether this is even the right question, because if we ask the wrong question we will certainly get the wrong answer.
So let's back up one more step. Does the number of carbs matter to determine the best approach to ideal health?
My own answer to this is that the number of carbs we consume does matter for ideal health because of the effect that carbohydrates of any kind (except fiber, which is not digestible) have on the energy available to our bodies and the hormone levels in our bodies, in particular insulin.
But the number of carbs is not the only issue when it comes to carbs. Where these carbs come from makes a huge difference, something that some low-carb followers don't pay much attention to because low-carb, regardless of where the carbs come from that we do eat, will almost always lead to significant weight loss for anyone who is significantly overweight. Once people get closer to a healthy weight this can change. The dramatic and fast weight loss has often stopped and people realize that there are still health problems that did not disappear.
Paying attention to where the carbs we DO eat come from now becomes critical. Grains, sugars or other sweeteners, beans and starches are often not a good idea, even some fruits are loaded with sugar, because even small amounts of these can maintain a carb addiction.
I'm talking from experience here because I was a fruitaholic for a long time after I gave up most sugar and candy. Lower carb vegetables on the other hand are nutrient dense but free of addictive substances. For people who have lost a lot of weight on Atkins the issue of eating a lot of vegetables has often not come up yet. They may have used their carbs to get low-carb processed foods or even small amounts of sugars and starches. Unfortunately this does not allow for very many vegetables and many of the benefits our bodies get from vegetables are lost. This is especially important for people who have immune disorders or a genetic predisposition to cancer. Also, vegetables have a lot of fiber which is helpful to main gut regularity.
So assuming that the carbs we eat come mostly from vegetables and maybe a little from fruit, dairy and nuts, HOW MANY CARBS ARE IDEAL FOR HEALTH?
Given that the answer will vary with the individual to some degree is there a level that is too high or too low for almost anyone?
I think that Mark Sisson gives a very balanced approach when answering this question over here:

Many people who want to lose weight and be healthy can do so easily if they stay between 50-100 grams of carbs/day.
People with diabetes or insulin resistance may always have to stay under 50 grams of carbs/day.
There may be a significant number of people who exercise a lot and/or have a genetically higher carb tolerance who do better on more than 100 grams of carbs.
The number of people who do best over 150 grams is probably very small. Even distance runners who burn thousands of calories in training can fuel their bodies primarily with fat.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEL27P 11/7/2012 8:58PM

    I have keep my carbs less than 50 since June. Most of the time they are below 30. I do not eat bread, rice, pasta, or potatoes. I eat very little fruit. I get some carbs from veggies, and some come from dairy. I have done this with the blessing of my doctor. I keep the fats and proteins in the SP suggested ranges. Occasionally they go over, but never under.

I have lost 35 pounds so far, and am losing at the rate of 1 pound every 4 days. I am happy with that rate of loss. I still have 25 more to lose, and set April as my goal month.

I have more energy than at any time in my life, and I am 62 years old. I walk 45 minutes a day, either outside or in the gym, and never miss a day. I am delighted with the low carb lifestyle.

Thanks for asking the question.

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MANDIETERRIER1 11/7/2012 3:55PM

    Everyone is different. If I [don't] get plenty of carbs. I feel sickly and sluggish. I realize though that plenty of people are the opposite of me

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NDTEACHER1 11/6/2012 11:31PM

    I don't count carbs just calories, don't have the patience to do it I guess. Good luck to you.

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KALIOPPE 11/6/2012 1:18PM

    I've also asked myself that question, particularly now that I've upped my carb intake from 20 grams/daily to under 50. I'm finding the eating is more pleasurable now that I can have more veggies and a little fruit. In fact, veggies are something I tend not to be too strict with, as a life w/out them would be awful and I'd probably end up quitting.

When I started eating Primal, I did as Mark did and my carb intake was closer to 100 - 120. I lost no weight but it was a good introduction to dropping the sugar and carbs. I read his book and articles and heeded the advice on how ppl who are unhealthy weight wise and who have insulin and cholesterol issues (me, me, me) should go lower carb. I tried limbo-style (how low can you go) low carb, losing the weight quickly, but some days I was dizzy and didn't always have the energy I needed for good workouts.

I'm losing the weight slowly now, even with all the exercising. BUT and this is an important factor, I've not felt this good, healthy and strong in such a long time! Believe me, I need it in order to withstand the daily stress I put my body through. So while it may take me longer to lose weight this way, I'm healing. Every bit of me is happy and feeling challenged. The aches, swelling, bloated, lethargic, cranky-carb-craving me has disappeared. Most importantly, I'm learning the right balance for my particular body and how I can learn to keep this up for life, rather than a few months to lose weight.

So thank you for writing this post and reminding me that we all need to do what is right for our bodies and also to understand that longevity is what we need to be thinking about rather than short-term solutions. emoticon

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JSTETSER 11/6/2012 6:22AM

    Very interesting!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/5/2012 8:59PM

    Interesting. I've been maintaining at around 200 grams of total carbs per day.

But they are generally from vegetables and limited fruti; rarely grains or starches or beans, with the exception of a couple Flat Out Light wraps per day.

I keep my total sugar below 100 g per day, though. That includes fruit.

Comment edited on: 11/5/2012 9:02:04 PM

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UMUCGRAD 11/5/2012 6:34PM

    Thanks for the analysis

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GOPINTOS 11/5/2012 4:25PM

    Enjoyed this.

So true. The how many, the what kind, the health of the person, the goals of the person... it is so individualized for each one. I can remember being so frustrated at times, not knowing what in the world I was suppose to eat. Why couldnt someone just tell me :) So I spent a few months, most of the summer, sort of spinning my wheels. THe more I learned, the more I didnt know. I did learn alot but no real forward progress in the weight loss department.

Then I changed my macros around and it started moving along again. I seem to do better for weight loss at about a 3 way split. Sometimes more or less on any of them, but trying to keep fat to under 40% helps me the most for weight loss and I have been trying to up the protein a little more also. That naturally helps me to keep carbs in check. However once I reach maintainence, I can see increasing fats up to maybe 60-65. I was losing about 4-5lbs in that range. At 70-75 weight loss crawls pretty much to a stop. The trouble was, I just didnt seem to want to do as much exercise in that range, but it might be different once all the excess is gone. Will see when I get there :)

Anyways, my carbs vary daily. Some days lower. Some days higher. I try to stay in the 75-100 range now though. It just seems to be where I function the best. But of those 75-100, none of it is wheat. No breads, no pastas, etc. In the last month I added back in starches and for me, I just feel so much better and losing about 2-3lbs a week now since I started doing that. (about .5lb per day the last couple of weeks actually)

If I want to fast, I can easily if I eat lower carb a day or two before. However I can still IF just about anytime I want regardless of where my macros fall.

The other thing about carbs, it just depends on who you talk to. Some say don't count your veggie carbs. Don't count veggie carb calories. I just count it all regardless. Especially since I don't eat junk, I classify all my carbs as "good" carbs but I do still watch where they come from. I don't eat more than 1 or 2 fruits per day, so I am not sure what that would even do to me if I were to eat more. I don't eat the really sweet fruit anyways, I stay with apples, bananas, strawberries & blueberries. Once in awhile grapefruit and I havent bought oranges in a very long time.

Loving the seasonal squash now also. I cook it like it's a veggie, but it is really a fruit, right? Those really rack up the carbs in a hurry too, but I seem to do okay when I add in those kinds of carbs. Thank goodness :)

Thanks for sharing!!

Comment edited on: 11/5/2012 5:15:41 PM

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ERIN1957 11/5/2012 4:23PM

    I think when all the dust settles and people have tried everything, many will land, where Mark has known for awhile now. His plan to me is one of the best out there and so do able. Sound and I know I can live on it and I still need to tweak to find my best spot, but that is all just figuring out who we are and what we need.

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Is my plan sustainable?

Sunday, November 04, 2012

This is what I want to find out over the next 37 days.
I already know what I need to do and how to do it. I will no longer monitor weight, carbs, water consumption or the foods I eat on a daily basis as this would actually waste energy and time that I need to get back into good exercise habits. Instead I will weigh myself weekly to get a rough idea how I'm doing.
This morning my weight was at 131 lbs. after consuming a fair amount of carbs in the form of cough syrup the last two days. Unfortunately neither this nor any other of the home remedies I tried worked at all and I had trouble sleeping the last couple of nights because of severe cough. The only thing that finally worked was hydrocodone.
Today I have some time to go for a hike and/or ride. I might even make it to the gym this afternoon.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ERIN1957 11/5/2012 11:42AM

    I am back at it and working on finding some more clarity in my choices. So I too can make this more solid in my life.
I hope you get better soon too.

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MAGGIE101857 11/5/2012 6:36AM

    Feel better soon!!! emoticon

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HOUNDLOVER1 11/4/2012 11:25PM

    Thanks for the well-wishes and the neti-pot recommendation. I looked it up online and it seems to be using warm salt water. That's something I tried and it worked great for the congestion. I also had a hot steam vaporizer in the room which almost always works for cough better than over -the counter meds, but in this case it did not help the cough.

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NDTEACHER1 11/4/2012 10:19PM

    I hope your plan is successful.

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JAZZID 11/4/2012 8:38PM

    Sorry to hear that you aren't feeling well. I have had congestion where codeine was the only thing that worked. In between doses, if you can consume hot pepper, the following is great for congestion. My dad's family recipe:

1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp red cayenne pepper (more if possible)
1 glove of garlic, sliced thinly.

Pour broth in a cup and add the red pepper and garlic and let steep for a couple of minutes. Drink.

It is very spicy but it has helped me. I am asthmatic and when I catch colds they tend to get in my chest, with thick mucus (sorry).

Also, I agree with GRACEMCDOG and using a neti pot. If you are not familiar with them, here is an article about how to use them correctly:


They are great for nasal congestion. emoticon ~ Dee

Comment edited on: 11/4/2012 8:40:14 PM

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GRACEMCDOG 11/4/2012 7:25PM

    I swear by the neti pot. I had to power through a cold that knocked neighbors and friends into bed for a week or more. Got by with Dayquil (actually a generic version of it). Hate taking that stuff but couldn't pamper myself because of work that had to get done. Got a residual cough/congestion/post nasal thing, did the neti for three days and it's gone. Hope you feel better really soon, Birgit. Don't forget to up your vitamin D for these short, dark winter days coming up.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 11/4/2012 4:37PM


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-LINDA_S 11/4/2012 4:29PM

    emoticon I hate coughs like that! Very difficult to deal with. Hope yours ends soon...

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GOPINTOS 11/4/2012 4:26PM


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CHRISTINASP 11/4/2012 3:05PM

    Feel better soon. Everything goes better once you've caught up on sleep!

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HOUNDLOVER1 11/4/2012 2:36PM

    Kricket, I think it's more that there needs to be a better way of dealing with severe coughing, LOL, I consumed so much of the over-the counter-stuff plus some raw honey in my tea that I thought might help that my carbs were over 50 grams just from that. I won't do that again.

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KENDRACARROLL 11/4/2012 1:46PM

    Feel better soon.
There has got to be a better way/plan than having to worry about carbs in cough syrup.
(Just sayin').

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WILLOWBROOK5 11/4/2012 1:29PM

    Good luck and hope you feel better very soon! emoticon

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