The South Beach diet: Not just a fad

I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the South Beach diet when I first heard of it. I’m not much for diet fads. And the name sounds like something written for a bunch of wealthy society ladies.

This spring, as we’ve been getting to know Bob Knosp, I discovered that South Beach is not just a fad. I never asked Bob how old he is. I just know that he’s got a grandchild, and he doesn’t look old enough for that. He credits South Beach for a lot of his health and vitality.

About a month ago, we went on a weekend sailing trip with Bob. I did the shopping, picking up things that would work with his dietary restrictions. Barry and I decided that we’d been hitting the sauce a bit too much lately, so we warned Bob that we were not going to bring any wine or alcohol. He said that was fine; Bob’s a very light drinker, and the diet doesn’t allow much besides a little wine, anyway.

Raftups with the Puget Sound Cruising Club are usually pretty wild floating parties. There’s often a potluck, with too many people crowding onto one boat, lots of decadent cheese- and sugar-laden dishes, and too much wine, beer, or tequila. I figured our plans to eat healthy and eschew alcohol might cause some eye-rolling among our friends.

Mike and Nita, on Odessa, tied alongside us. Nita is a fabulous cook who’s recently discovered that she’s allergic to wheat. I’d kept Nita’s allergy in mind as I planned my potluck dish, but I was totally surprised by her latest announcement.

“We just went on the South Beach diet,” she said. “We’re not allowed to drink this weekend.”

“Woo hoo!” Instead of a negative reaction, I was delighted. “Great! We’re not drinking, either!”

We ended up having two potlucks, with the five of us plus Rob and Anita from Decatur. They seemed taken aback by the South Beach dieters, but admitted that they were actually following a very low fat diet, required by Rob’s doctor after some heart trouble.

It was a wonderful weekend, with good company, great conversation, and excellent food. Who would think that giving up sugar, alcohol, and processed carbohydrates could make a party so much fun? If South Beach is the latest diet fad, please, Dr. Agatson, sign me up.

Note: The South Beach diet has recently gotten very commercial, with a subscription website and lots of commercial products in the grocery story. However, if you’re interested in learning about it, your best bet is to pick up a copy of the book at the library and read the first half. It’s only about 100 pages, and it can do wonders for your health, especially if you have a family history of diabetes or heart disease.