Miami-based cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston made waves with his South Beach Diet in the ’90s, picking up a fan base full of low-carb Atkins defectors along the way.
And while the core values of his dietary approach haven’t changed—eat healthy fats, lean protein, and lots of veggies—his new book, The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution, is all about the trouble with gluten, and how it can influence digestion, weight-gain, and other health problems for many people.
“Gluten is ubiquitous,” says Dr. Agatston, who coined the term “gluten-aware” in the book to describe a way of eating that involves noticing how your body responds to wheat, rather than automatically ditching it.
“If you have Celiac, you have to be a gluten detective and avoid all of it,” he explains. “If not, it’s finding your own threshold. Gluten-aware is really a new concept, an important one, and a lot of people will feel better without gluten,” he says.
We used our detective skills to snoop inside Dr. Agatston’s very own diet and fridge. Here’s what we spied in addition to a lack of gluten…
You have a lot of berries. Do you eat them every day? Not every day, and it depends on the season, but I do like them because berries in general are super high in antioxidants. I like to eat pomegranate or blueberries or whatever is the berry of the month.
Got it. Your vegetable drawer is really colorful. Yes, what I try to do is have variety, that’s the most important thing. Broccoli is great for you but the idea of eating it constantly isn’t good. It’s clear that there are hundreds and probably thousands of micronutrients in fruits and vegetables, and you want to maximize how many you’re getting. You can’t eat badly and pop a vitamin.
What’s in the green bottle on the bottom shelf? A kale smoothie, which is made using lots of kale, lemon, apple, avocado, fresh ginger. and turmeric, and a little water. All the skin and whole fruits are thrown in. We started doing that recently and that’s just a convenient way to get a variety of fruits and vegetables. It’s not juice, so the fiber is still there. And I can take it to the office, because during the day it’s hard to make a salad.
Do you make salads at other times? Are you a home cook? I used to cook, but I’m so busy. Other than making eggs for breakfast, my wife does the cooking. But we believe very much in cooking our own food. Last night, it was salmon, cauliflower, and broccoli. It’s usually fish or a turkey burger or a lean piece of meat—chicken or fish and a variety of vegetables, sometimes a sweet potato. When you eat out, you generally are getting 500 extra calories. I don’t trust it. It’s easy to order extra salt and calories without realizing it.
True, but as a high profile MD, I’m sure you’re on the go a lot. What do you grab for a quick snack? I’ll have nuts and mozzarella sticks and South Beach Bars. They’re high in protein and fiber and have a low glycemic index, and low sugar. We’ll have eggs most days for breakfast, but if I’m running out fast, I’ll grab a bar and a banana. —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, check out The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution