I've been getting a lot of e-mails from people who came to my blog from the article in Woman's World Magazine. And while I don't mind answering a question if I have the answer, I'm not really an expert on the South Beach Diet. I only know the way I did it and what worked for me. I strongly believe that the only way any diet can work is if you plan what you eat around your own food preferences. If you don't get to eat foods you really enjoy, you won't be able to stick to the diet.
I write back to everyone who e-mails me a question with my recommendation that you read The South Beach Diet book from cover to cover before you ever start this way of eating. The book can help you understand why certain foods are recommended and others are not, and how to choose the right foods for certain phases of the diet.
After you've read The South Beach Diet book and started on the diet, I strongly recommend The South Beach Diet Good Fats, Good Carbs book. It's small enough to fit in a purse, and gives listings of recommended foods for each phase, plus a comprehensive listing of foods. The foods are rated like this:
GOOD (eat as much as you want)
LIMITED (eat occasionally)
VERY LIMITED (eat rarely)
AVOID (don't eat)
I got my copy at Costco for less than $5.00 and I use it all the time to look up specific foods. For example, yesterday I looked up rutabagas when one of my favorite food blogs featured them. (Alas, they were rated "very limited".) South Beach also has a new little book out that rates restaurant foods, but I haven't seen it in a store yet. If anyone has that book, leave a comment letting us know how you like it.