I am always wary about new gluten-free books that come out on the market, especially when they are published by a “diet” doctor. I always take care to make sure I read the whole book, as I have seen other books, even written by Celiacs, that have incorrect and harmful information.
However, I’m glad to announce that this book gets an A.
Dr. Arthur Agatston, author of The South Beach Diet and The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution, found that he, along with many of his patients, felt better on the first phase of the South Beach Diet, and decided to delve deeper into the issue. It turns out that Phase 1 is basically gluten-free since it’s mostly grain-free, with a few exceptions like soy sauce. He spent a lot of time researching the issues in order to write this book.
While Dr. Agatston did say that if you think you have a problem you should be tested for Celiac Disease first, I think it could have been said a few more times, especially since people tend to only skim through books or just read sections. Thankfully, he mentions many many times that if you have Celiac Disease, you must be super vigilant about eating gluten-free.
So what is the Gluten Solution? Dr. Agatston has turned the South Beach Diet into a way for people to find out if they have some level of gluten intolerance other than Celiac Disease, since there is currently no established test for gluten intolerance. We still do not know what ill effects, other than symptoms (like bloating, gas, diarrhea, brain fog, etc.), happen when people with non-Celiac gluten intolerance consume gluten, so Dr. Agatston advocates becoming “gluten aware”: learning how much, if any, gluten your body can tolerate.
In the South Beach Diet Gluten Solution, the first four weeks of the diet are completely gluten-free, in order for non-Celiacs to find out if they have symptoms caused by gluten. The first 2 weeks are Phase 1 that is grain-free and fruit-free (among other things), in order to curb cravings.
Now that I understand the South Beach Diet (not just what I had heard others say about it), I feel much more comfortable with it. Furthermore, I think Dr. Agatston makes a very good point that MANY people are suffering some ill effects from gluten and could use at least a reduction in their diets.
Remember, though, that if you think gluten is a problem, you should be tested for Celiac Disease BEFORE going gluten-free, since the tests only work when your body is reacting to the gluten that is in you. Since Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder and must be taken seriously, you cannot “have just a little gluten”. But for the general population, it might make things better to be gluten aware.
From THE SOUTH BEACH DIET GLUTEN SOLUTION by Arthur Agatston, MD with Natalie Geary, MD. © 2013 by Arthur Agatston, MD. Reprinted by permission of Rodale, Inc. Available wherever books are sold.
Spiced Carrot Cake
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes • Total Time: 45 minutes plus cooling time
A little bit of toasted sesame oil in addition to ground cardamom gives this cake a slightly exotic flavor. If you prefer, you can omit the cardamom and increase the ginger and cinnamon to 3⁄4 teaspoon each. If you do, swap in extra olive oil for the sesame oil. The buckwheat flour (which, despite its name, contains no wheat at all) is high in fiber and protein and adds a slightly nutty flavor to the cake, providing a nice contrast to the sweetness of the carrots.
- 1⁄2 cup 100% buckwheat flour
- 1⁄2 cup gluten-free oat flour
- 1⁄3 cup granulated stevia (baking formula)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon light (1.5%) buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 11⁄2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
- 11⁄4 cups grated carrots
- 4 ounces light cream cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a round of wax paper and coat the paper with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the buckwheat and oat flours, stevia, baking soda, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, xanthan gum, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 1⁄3 cup of the buttermilk, 3 tablespoons of the agave nectar, the egg whites, olive oil, and sesame oil. Stir the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture. Fold in the carrots. Scrape into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the sides pull away from the pan, about 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a rack. Run a metal spatula around the sides and invert the cake onto a serving platter.
In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk and 2 teaspoons agave nectar. Spread the icing on top of the cake. Cut into 10 wedges.
Makes 10 servings (1 wedge per serving)
Per serving: 154 calories, 7 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 5 g protein, 20 g carbohydrate,