To bant or not to bant?
I was not necessarily looking to diet but I have always been interested in experimenting on certain ways of eating. I am genetically exposed to diabetes and I have lost some loved ones due to this disease. Eating right and exercising should keep me off diabetes and shots I thought to myself… So I embarked on a journey to find a preventative diabetes lifestyle.
According to my BMI I was 5kgs into overweight zone, but still that didn’t bother me. I was very active in sports, ran close to 50 K a week , played social hockey on Friday nights and did some aerobics. I ate a lot of vegetables, lean meats and had healthy carbohydrates ; brown rice, whole wheat pasta the works. Even though I was on this high carb, low fat type of lifestyle I still felt bloated, developed acne and would automatically need a nap after most meals, sound familiar? 😂.
I developed a little belly and I realized that no matter how much I was dieting and doing sit ups I would still have that belly pooch. That’s when I self diagnosed myself as insulin resistant and I proclaimed carbs to be the enemy and completely eliminated them from my meals.
I found out about Banting on a friends timeline on Facebook in August last year and I stalked her and landed on a page called Banting 7 Day Meal Plans I liked the page, got accepted by the administrator and toured it. They have a Banting User Guide and I spent 6 weeks of studying it and contemplating whether eating a high fat diet was good for me. After viewing the success stories of people on the page, I was thoroughly impressed, that’s when I decided to Bant!
There are many Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diets you can follow such as Paleo, Keto, whole360 and Atkins Diet; it’s just that the popular one in South Africa is Banting. It is usually recommended for:
- overweight/obese people,
- infertile women
- and people with matabolic disorders.
Banting is a low carb, medium protein and high (healthy) fat lifestyle of eating. In simpler words carbohydrates should be less than 25-50 grams a day. We stay away from carbs because they spike insulin levels. Excess carbs that our bodies do not use are stored as fat in the body. In the guide there are 3 lists of what you can eat always (green), occasionally (orange) and never(red). Eat natural and whole foods, stay away from processed foods, fruit contains sugar, should be eaten occasionally and eat lots of healthy fat. People who are sick and those who want to lose weight are encouraged to eat from the green list only and those who want to maintain their weight or just want to eat healthy can eat from the orange list too.
The decrease in carbs allows the body to use fat for energy hence people lose a lot of weight on this diet. In Banting the golden rule is to eat only when you’re hungry. You don’t have to eat 3 times a day. That’s just a way food manufacturers and those who sell food brainwash our minds so we always have to buy food and groceries.
These are some of my personal experiences with Banting.
- If you are insulin resistant or diabetic, it stabilizes your blood sugar in the long run
- Better and more restful sleep
- Reduction or elimination of allergies
- Loss of fat and not muscle
- Improved focus and concentration
- Reduces puffiness and that bloaty feeling
- Reduces belly fat
- Better skin and teeth
- Reduced cravings
- Eating a greasy breakfast and still losing weight 🍳 Think fried bacon, fried eggs and an avocado, you will probably not have lunch if you smear that!
There are a lot of Banting Recipes and new Banting Restaurants in Johannesburg so that’s a good excuse to try them out!
- When you start Banting because of the switch from high to low carbs, your body might experience a shock in the system of looking for the usual carbs for energy. You might experience some headaches and stomach aches that can last up to 2 days.
- It can be expensive to buy some of the ingredients; for example coconut oil VS sunflower oil. Thankfully there is a there is a budget Banting List. It has low cost foods that one can buy.
- Most people believe that eating foods high in fat is bad for you so there’s very little support when it comes to Banting BUT Facebook has a lot of support groups .
- When you go out, you have to be quite picky depending on how technical you are in terms of your Banting. A lot of restaurants use sugar in their basting sauces, in some vegetables like butternut and if you’re highly technical you can’t have that either. Personally, date nights and family dinners exist, I eat what everyone else eats except for the carbs. That I will NOT touch. At weddings there’s a lot of meat and salads I stick to that. Movie nights are the worst , what’s a movie without popcorn, I’m yet to find an alternative
- There are no cheat days. After depriving your body of sugar and carbs , the moment you cheat you will get sick . The shock in your system will cause side effects like a running tummy, headaches and brain fog. No one is perfect. People do cheat a lot but some find it difficult to get back on the Banting wagon.
This is my second attempt at Banting . The first time I had a bad breakout on my skin and after trial and error I realized that I was allergic to coconut oil. So I switched to using olive oil, butter and holsum.
A lot of people have asked me if I will be Banting forever? I think I can safely say I will stick to low carb but the one thing I have learnt in life is “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Simple meals are sustainable. My meals take less than 15 minutes to prepare. Below are some of the meals I prepare and eat every other day.
Some of my favourite Banting foods include;
- Cauliflower, I make caulirice and caulimash
- Holsum/butter (both healthy allowed fats)
- Double cream plain yoghurt
- Grain free granola
- Ground beef mince
- Unprocessed Gouda cheese
- Chicken curry stew
Thank you for the very informative read Sheryl. I wish you well on your Banting Journey and I hope you will get the results you are aiming for. I would like to hear from you dear readers. What are your thoughts on Banting? Have you tried it before? Would you give it a go? Let’s talk about it.