Banting, the art of good eating

Friday, 19 January 2018
Banting, the art of good eating

Like every other year, losing a few kilos or getting back to ‘hot bodies’ is top of the list for most resolution makers.

However, not many follow through due to lack of consistency. Some relapse within a short period of time back to their old ways. The newly-discovered phenomenon of ‘banting’ is the next best resolution as it does not only offer incredible weight loss but a complete lifestyle change.

Banting or the banting diet, is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet, named after William Banting in the early 1800s, the first known person to adopt this style of eating. William was an undertaker and the story goes that he was absolutely massive. His doctor, William Harvey, proposed this radical way of eating and so, banting was born.

South African Professor and Scientist Tim Noakes who has participated in over 70 marathons and ultra-marathons, and has published over 750 scientific writings is a banter. He has been cited in over 16,000 times by his colleagues, and he has revolutionised the nutrition world in terms of how people perceive fat. Noakes was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes after living a very active life and eating what he thought was a healthy diet.

“After diligent research, I found that my high carb, low fat (HCLF) meal plan was the root of his consistent prognosis. He began to bant, and soon after, Noakes regulated his blood sugar levels, improved his insulin resistance, and regained his strength and energy,” he wrote in one of his books.

He also shares that a diet high in refined carbs, sugars, highly processed foods and vegetable oils causes high blood sugar, high insulin levels, hormone disruption and general metabolic disorder.

“The main focus of Banting is to eliminate food that contributes to lifestyle disease, including refined carbohydrates, processed foods, grains, harmful additives and sugar.

Here in Botswana, the Banting lifestyle has been popularised by those who have tried it out, with multiple groups on Facebook created to assist banters. These days, almost all major supermarkets will stock some sort of “low carb” version of people’s favourite treats.

Minkie Sabone caught up quickly with the hype and opened Chronicles of Health Shop in Rail Park, that specialises in banting products and foodstuffs, specifically made for banting, and locals have received it with open hands.

Choosing to live a healthier lifestyle through banting - a hugely popular eating trend - 32-year-old Poppy Letsha* has lost a whopping 27kg in 17 months. Letsha was once unable to walk down a flight of stairs and suffered from several chronic conditions.

“I suffered from everything you can imagine. I had asthma, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers and osteoarthritis in the knees. I couldn’t stand for long periods of time, was in constant pain and taking six lots of medication.”

She became frustrated with herself, and when doctors told her she would need to undergo an operation for her knees, she knew something needed to change. She was then introduced to Banting, which changed her life.

“Banting is basically a low-carb, high (healthy) fat lifestyle, not a diet but a lifestyle change. In order to successfully embrace this lifestyle, I had to have a positive mindset - attitude and commitment is required,” she says.

She said her husband was also a chronic diabetic and she told him if she was going to change the way she ate, he would have to do so as well. “I sat down with the ‘green’ list and wrote down everything I needed to get. I eliminated all carbs from our diet.

“At first it was a bit tough because we were so used to cooking pap, rice and the usual starch, but three and a half weeks in, it was like putting a hot knife through butter. It was effortless.”

Letsha said that by day 10 she noticed the difference. “I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. Oh my God, I could avoid the lift, and use the stairs to work,” she laughed, pleased with herself.

“I was saving almost P1000 a month. I was over the moon.”

She said her husband no longer had a problem with his sugar levels and was more active.


Her advice to beginners

“We have to be disgusted with our ill health. We must be shocked at the health risks we will face if we don’t change our lifestyle”.

She recommends seeing a nutritionist to give advice about the best eating lifestyle and what our bodies can and cannot take. “Good eating habits are far better than diets,” she adds. “Start with small changes; Change your sunflower oil to coconut oil, change from margarine to butter. It is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. “When shopping, prioritise your dairy, meat and vegetable aisle first. When dining out, ask for flavoured water instead of cool drink. Have fish grilled in butter and cut out all the carbs.”

She said that when people are thinking of changing to a healthier lifestyle, mindset and attitude are important. “We need to eat more healthily. Exercise is very important. Simply walking 30 minutes every day has many health benefits.”

*Poppy Letsha-not her real name

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