1 week of #Banting

I’m a bit of a trend junkie, and the latest one I’ve hopped onto is Tim Noakes’ Real Meal Revolution. Now you guys know, I’ve tried everything to lose weight- personal trainer, dietitian, diet pills, training for a 10km, working out everyday at home, and nothing works. Because I eat out all the time, and my weaknesses are carbs and sugar.

It’s like I know exactly what I need to do, but actually doing it is another story. Recently, I’ve actually been focusing less on my weight, so I surprised myself when I decided to try out this diet. It’s not really a diet, more a way of life that you’re encouraged to adopt. Noakes’ belief is that we’ve been conditioned to believe that fat is bad for us, when actually it isn’t. Fats are good, it’s carbs and refined sugar that cause damage. He’s done tests and research and I don’t want to get into all the technical stuff because it’s like religion- everyone has an opinion and who knows who is right?

If you’re keen to know more about the science behind the eating plan, buy the ebook or the actual book (it is really hard to get so the ebook may be better) and have a read.

I’m currently on lockdown at home, studying for a very big exam in June, so I’m not going out much, which is the only reason I’m able to do this. I’m under no illusion that it isn’t practical or sustainable long term, so I’m doing it until we leave for the States in mid June, and then I’m going to smash a cronut (or 5) in my face. JK (not really)

I’m hoping that 2 months without carbs or sugar will at least help to curb my cravings. I am the girl who clears out the bread basket before starters even arrive. That girl who can easily have 2 pieces of cake for dinner. Who reaches for the bag to have 1 Chuckle and before I know it the entire bag is finished. My self control is lacking- it would be great if I could not WANT to eat this stuff.

So, after speaking to a doctor who advocates the diet, plus my friend Emma, who has seen great results with it, I bought the book from Kalahari (it’s surprisingly cheap- around R250 and really nice, part recipe book part theory) – it arrived at my door the next day.

I spent some time reading through the recipes, which all looked delish. Parmesan crusted chicken breasts (pictured at the top of this post), blueberry and ricotta hot cakes, chocolate milkshake… It honestly didn’t seem too bad. I’m so over diet food- salads and fat free everything sucks.

It took me some time to organize everything I needed. No carbs means no flour, potatoes, bread. No sugar means very little fruit, and obviously nothing like cake or biscuits. So what was I actually going to eat!?

I stocked up on coconut flour, almond flour, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, plus a crap load of nuts and seeds, mostly from Dischem or online at www.freshearth.co.za who have a great selection. Man, the initial outlay was expensive, but it did make me feel pretty good that I’d know exactly what was going into everything I ate. No more packaged stuff. The book gives you carb free alternatives for bread (made using flax seeds), rice (using cauliflower) plus wraps (also with cauliflower)

I started last week Friday night, with this delish garlic and chilli prawn dish, and I haven’t cheated at all. I’m actually down 2kg in a week (not sure if this is real weight because I’ve been pee’ing way more than usual and not drinking that much more water). I don’t FEEL any different though. If anything, I’m more miserable dreaming about garlic bread and baguettes.

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For breakfast,you’re encouraged to have eggs and bacon. I don’t eat bacon, and it’s weird for me not to have toast with my eggs, so I made the carb free bread which was gross (it’s made of milled flax seeds- go figure). I then started having 2 eggs with mushrooms on the side, and I wouldn’t even think about food again until 2 or 3pm which was SO weird. Food is such a focus for me, I’m always thinking about the next meal, and it something I look forward to. But hey, if the editor of Eat Out can do this diet, so can I!

On the first day, I felt almost empty not scavenging around the kitchen for food. I also realized how much I eat out of boredom / for the sake of it. I’d have a lull in my studying and immediately think of having a biscuit or a block of chocolate. When I realized I couldn’t, I was like, “ok, now what do I do with myself”

So post breakfast, I’d end up eating again at around 3 and I wouldn’t be hungry enough for dinner, meaning I effectively only eat 2 meals a day. I initially went by the book and found the quantities of butter and oil a big excessive, so I was feeling heavy and nauseas. I’ve since toned it down.

For breakfast during the week, when I don’t have time for eggs, I have homemade nut granola with some double thick Greek yoghurt which is delish. I’ve tried the smoothies but find them a bit too heavy, so I’ll stick to granola.

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I then quickly fry up some prawns, chicken or haloumi, pack some seeds or nuts, and take those to work to have with a salad. It’s been a bit harder at work because it effectively equates to having a cold salad for lunch which is depressing, especially in this weather.

I’ve been spending a lot more time in the kitchen (not my fav place), but I’m interested to see how I feel after these 2 months, and if eating all this butter will really make me lose weight. The key for me lies in planning. If I know what I’m going to eat and have the ingredients to make it, I’m likely not to cheat. Today, I made a banting cheesecake which actually tasted pretty good, surprisingly, as I’ve found that when trying to replicate non-banting food I usually end up with a sorry excuse for whatever I was trying to make. I spent a fortune on buying quality ingredients for the blueberry and ricotta hotcakes and they were horrible.

I know lots of people out there have made this a way of life. But, for me, food is so much more than just nourishment. It’s a way to explore the boundaries of your senses, a means of celebration, a comfort, a daily expression of happiness. A way to connect with people. And I’m not sure if all of that is possible without carbs and sugar. I don’t know if I want it to be. So this will remain purely an experiment.

For inspiration, check out this blog I found, called Low Carb is Lekker – which has loads of cool ideas. If you’re stuck for a recipe or feel like something in particular, literally just google “low carb ___” (pizza base! cheesecake! biscuits!) and you will find that there is a low carb alternative for everything under the sun.

Have any of you guys tried Banting? I’d love to know your views! I’ll keep you posted as things develop…

Yours in carby cravings

H