banting life | better with butter

Settle down, grab a cuppa (no bikkie), this is a long post!

If you’ve been following me on Insta, Twitter or Facebook, you will have noticed that I’ve been eating rather differently for a few months now.

It all started when Mr Meow attended a talk given by renowned exercise and sports science expert, Professor Tim Noakes. The key message in Prof. Noakes’ presentation was that carbohydrates, particularly from grains, are the cause of many modern diseases (such as adult onset diabetes, obesity, inflammation, digestive disorders etc), and that to live long, healthy lives, giving up carbs was the way to go. AND, get this, we should be consuming more fat instead.

Now, if you don’t know this already, Tim Noakes was a big advocate of carb loading (see his published books), has changed his stance, and has been honest and humble enough to say he was wrong. That certainly earned my respect. If you listen to him talk, he really comes across as a modest, personable character, but what sold me was the science behind it all. I know, because I watched a recording of said presentation.

It really turned everything on its head. High fat? The very thing we are told to avoid if we want to be slim and healthy. The very thing that is demonised in most dietary advice out there. Why else is there a billions-of-dollars industry centred on low fat? Look at the food aisles and chillers in your supermarket. Most of the food on there is low fat!

The problem with nearly all low-fat/ low calorie food is that it is absolute crap. When you alter food by taking out the fat content, it tastes different, unappetising. To make sure it tastes delicious and has a good mouthfeel, it is often pumped full of sugar. I am not exaggerating here and I’m not talking about the usual suspects either.
There is added sugar in everything from baked beans, sauces and marinades, breakfast cereals, soups, dips, curries to dressings. Sugar is everywhere and the scary thing is that there is so much more of it in there that you could imagine.

I watched That Sugar Film recently. Although I knew of the damaging and addicting effects of sugar in the diet, I had no idea how much sugar we unknowingly consume. There is more sugar in a single-serve tub of low-fat yogurt than in a bar of chocolate. On average, in Australia, we consume 40 teaspoons of sugar per person per day! Even if you take away natural sugars from fruit and milk, we are eating 16 teaspoons of added sugar. The worst part is that this sugar is in so called ‘healthy’ food, not commonly known junk food. If this isn’t staggering enough and blowing your mind, you might as well stop reading now.

If you’re still reading, may I encourage you to do yourself a favour and go watch That Sugar Film?

So low cal/ low fat diets are certainly not the way to go. I’ve been on several of them in the past and they are both difficult and unsustainable. So maybe there was something to the low-carb-high-fat theorem. Even then, I couldn’t fathom a life without bread, pasta, potatoes, rice and dal. It seemed too hard, too lofty. I had been eating these things all my life, and I thought of all the social situations where I would starve on account of this low carb thing coupled with my personal preferences. Ugh! Life is difficult enough as it is with me being bundled into the ‘vegetarian’ group.

The catalyst was this. My family has a history of diabetes. We also have obesity in the family. My week-long migraines and hypoglycaemia were not improving and although my blood work in September 2014 showed up fine, it wouldn’t be long before I’d be running into problems with cholesterol and insulin resistance.
Mr Meow posited we simply try to eat low-carb-high-fat for three weeks. No pressure, no eternal commitment. Just a go. If it didn’t make us feel any better at the end of three weeks, we could always go back to eating the way we did.

I reluctantly agreed to do it. Banting, it is called and is also known as a low-carb-high-fat (LCHF) diet. It isn’t quite Paleo but the two share similarities including no grains. Essentially, we gave up carbs and increased our fat consumption. There are lists of what is good and what is not good to eat on the Real Meal Revolution website. Oh, by the way, Banting has taken South Africa by storm!
Out went the seed oils (canola and sunflower) and in came butter, ghee and extra virgin olive oil. We ditched lean cuts of meat for fattier ones and kept the skin on. I threw out my stash of Pop Tarts, chocolates and biscuits and filled the fridge with grass-fed yogurt, cream and cheese. And we bought an obscene quantity of pastured eggs (we eat 6-9 a day).

We didn’t just jump in though. We did the research for a month, understood the science, planned ahead, went on holiday in Japan and ate whatever we wanted. But when we came back, we gave it a red hot crack. That was in October 2014. Here I am now, more than four months later telling you that what started out as an experiment, is now a lifestyle. Mr Meow and I have been so pleased with the results and ease of eating, that it is no longer a diet for us, simply how we eat.

Low-carb-high-fat goes completely against the grain of what we have been taught for decades, the messages we see on TV and hear from ‘experts’. It really takes a while to change your set of beliefs and understand that the dietary guidelines out there are wrong and have been wrong for so long. Mr Meow and I get strange looks and obvious questions/comments from others when we mention our lifestyle: what about your cholesterol levels; what do you eat for breakfast; sounds too hard; I love bread too much to ever give it up etc . . . .

But we did it and continue to eat this way without major challenges. The hardest part of this diet is being prepared. If you don’t plan ahead especially when travelling or eating out socially, you will run into difficulties and struggle to eat right. Once you’ve overcome this hurdle, the rest is a breeze.

We eat well, we don’t count calories and we are never hungry. Our pantry shelves are not as full anymore but our fridge is bursting with greens from our weekly market shop. The most processed food item we eat is aged cheese. I don’t get as many migraines, my energy levels are stable so no more 3pm slump, my teeth are in better nick, I no longer get hangry and I’ve lost about 6 kilograms. Mr Meow has lost more than 12. There is no bloating or feeling of lethargy any more. Go figure!

Our grocery bills are about the same but we are eating real food, not stuff out of cans and jars. We have discovered new recipes and tweaked some existing favourites. We are also getting pretty good at creating new ones like the Nachomelette. Simple, clean eating. And it is as delicious as it is satisfying.

Check out our food porn below, most have clickable links to the recipes. A lot of these are thanks to other bloggers out there. Please support them.

sweet dreams are made of cheese who am I to dis-a-brie?
sweet dreams are made of cheese
who am I to dis-a-brie?
eating out | cauli-rice
eating out | cauli-rice
tahini and wholegrain mustard crackers | at the australian open 2015
tahini and wholegrain mustard crackers

| at the australian open 2015

chicken, eggplant and paneer curry
chicken, eggplant and paneer curry
low carb carrot cake
low carb carrot cake
blueberry sauce
blueberry sauce
frittatas to go
frittatas to go
banting bread
banting bread
insalata caprese
insalata caprese
eating out | the works, hold the bread
eating out | the works, hold the bread
fat bomb, fat bomb, you're my fat bomb!
fat bomb, fat bomb, you’re my fat bomb!
eating out | banting on the go
eating out | banting on the go
experiments | chocolate cake
experiments | chocolate cake
occasional treats, sugar free, of course
occasional treats, sugar free, of course
my life blood
coffee, my life blood
Nachomelette
nachomelette, the best!
prawn zoodles with roasted kabocha
prawn zoodles with roasted kabocha
mr. meow's cinnamon nut granola
in the making | mr. meow’s cinnamon nut granola
cabbage and gruyere gratin
cabbage and gruyere gratin
oopsie rolls with nuts, berries, vanilla mascarpone and coconut
oopsie rolls with nuts, berries, vanilla mascarpone and coconut

You really can’t say it is a boring spread. A typical day consists of a cooked breakfast such as omelettes, bacon, avocado and asparagus. If we get a little tired of this, nut granola with hung yogurt helps shake things up a little. Lunch might be a leaf salad with tuna or chicken, dressed with an olive oil vinaigrette or mayonnaise. Dinners vary between curries, steak + veggies, larb salads, zoodles and kebabs. All with some form of vegetable or leafy salad. No chips, mash, rice or bread. And we don’t miss it.
Sometimes we make some snacks for particularly active days, special occasions or when we’re travelling: fat bombs, cakes, crackers, bread, ice-creams and chia puddings – all of which are low carb, grain and sugar free.

It is not difficult at all and it is absolutely worthwhile because the results are so immediate and noticeable. Banting is suitable for those on a Paleo diet (that allows dairy) and coeliacs as well.

The minor issues I encountered since changing my eating habits are: leg cramps at night (I take magnesium to help with this), light headedness in the first week from not enough salt, and dry skin/hair in the first three weeks which has since cleared up. So much gain for really little sacrifice. I genuinely cannot complain. I am planning to get some bloodwork done once I hit the 6 month mark so I can see whether the external effects are being translated inside as well. I’ll keep you posted.

I’m no expert or dietitian and this post is not meant to preach or sway you to change your eating habits. It is meant to provoke thought and get you to question what you have been taught and whether there is enough solid science behind it. There is a lot of information out there if you are really keen to know more about LCHF. But challenge what has been drummed into us, what is advertised as healthy and what is convenient, and where that information comes from.

I’d be happy to answer any questions from my experience and will point you in the direction of published, peer reviewed articles and journals for any evidence-based reasoning.

Have you had any experience with LCHF? Or are you curious about it?

Please share your thoughts.

Ps. some recipes are in development but will be up soon on mGm.

banting life | better with butter

16 thoughts on “banting life | better with butter

  1. Wow, this diet is really interesting! I am actually looking for a diet that I could follow since I have PCOS (and I am having a hard time losing weight). I’m researching more on this kind of food preps and I think I’ll start asking my parents to start eating this way as well! hehe! 🙂

    Wonderful and informative post!

    Like

    1. Jhanz, give it a go for a few weeks and I am sure you will notice a huge difference. Please make sure you read up on it first and plan your meals ahead so you don’t end up falling off the wagon. All the best with it and the PCOS. I hope it all works out for you.
      Do come back and let me know how it all went 🙂

      Like

  2. I really have noo idea about the LCHF diet. To be honest I don’t know anything about diet at all 😦 As much as I want to make a healthy living,I dont have time at all plus I am living on a dormitory where food supply is limited D: I am suffering from dermatits and I should be careful of the food. I need a diet that is rich in Vitamin A. What diet can you recommend to a girl like me who is just living in a dormitory? 🙂 Im glad that i came across your blog, it gave me idea about proper diet 🙂

    http://typenblog.me/

    Like

    1. Hello Jean, I wasn’t suggesting anyone should go on a diet. By all means, if you are healthy and happy, please don’t feel the need to change anything.
      Dealing with dermatitis when living away from home can be a challenge and I sympathise. Have you consulted a doctor/dermatologist?
      Vitamin A is essential for growth, a healthy immune system and eyesight.
      It is a fat-soluble vitamin which means you need dietary fat in order to absorb the vitamin from your food sources. So if you are avoiding fat, please stop. Fat is essential and fat is healthy. Common food sources of Vitamin A that you should be able to find in a dormitory setting are: liver, eggs, carrots, green & yellow vegetables, garlic, papaya and butter (not margarine)! You could also take cod liver oil capsules as an inexpensive way to up your intake – http://www.olx.ph/index.php/classifieds+directory/pricelist/1/q/COD+LIVER+OIL/province/Metro+Manila?x=2?x=2

      If you are >18 years old, you should aim to consume ~ 700 μg of Vitamin A per day.

      As much as I love to help, I don’t know your health background and I am not a dietitian or dietary expert – so I encourage you to get advice from a doctor/ dermatologist if you aren’t noticing a difference through change in diet.

      All the best and I hope you can get your dermatitis under control whilst enjoying nutritious and delicious food.

      Thanks so much for your comment, Jean 🙂

      Like

  3. I am so glad you have discovered LCHF and how health changing it can be. For me it has totally revolutionised my appetite control. I would always eat a ‘healthy’ diet, but I sadly ate enough for 2 healthy people 😉 Gone are the low fat yoghurts, muesli bars, dried fruit and cereals. My children have never eaten so many vegetables and real whole foods. Thank you for including so many of my recipes. I’m so happy you are enjoying them. Libby 🙂

    Like

    1. Libby, thanks so much for dropping by mGm. I do love your recipes and feel a need to share them!
      I used to be a compulsive eater so I can relate to the lack of appetite control and inability to be healthy whilst still eating ‘healthy’ food.
      LCHF is definitely the missing piece in my health and weight loss puzzle.
      Thanks for sharing your story and being so generous with your delicious recipes 🙂 x

      Like

  4. This post definitely makes you go “wait a min…what??” but kudos kudos kudos to you for writing it.
    I read every word (haven’t watched the Sugar film though) and love this post even more.
    Good on you guys too for being so thorough in your research ahead of time instead of just venturing out and shoving it down people throats like all these other idiots.
    My favorite part though, is that you called it a lifestyle.
    Yes!
    I love when I hear that because dieting isn’t sustainable unless it IS a lifestyle.
    Bravo babygirl!

    Like

  5. I cut out grains, potatoes , sugar and processed food as a fat loss strategy at the start of this year, cos I’d taken up weight training and put on muscle but not lost the fat so was feeling uncomfortably bulky! But I wasn’t doing low carb, I used to eat a shad load of fruit without really factoring how much fructose was adding up. I also wasn’t slimming down any.

    A month ago I knew nothing about LCHF/Banting at all, someone told me about some of the health claims and I started to research. Oh my! Totally converted!! I’m just 2 weeks in to LCHF. For me the most difficult adjustment is psychologically going against a life time of being told low fat, whole grain is the way to eat. Even thought I’m still adjusting, I can’t imagine going back to how I ate for all those years.

    Love your site, TYFS all this 😃

    Like

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment and for sharing your story, Ephemeral Gecko. So pleased to hear you are finding success with Banting. And you’re right, it really is quite a headspin at first because this way of eating goes against the grain (pun intended) of what has been preached to us for years.
      All the best with your wellness journey. I am sure you will find greater benefits than just the fat loss.
      x

      Like

  6. I just started doing this on 1/1/17 and love it! I’ve lost 32 lbs but that isn’t the best part. I have so much energy, my hair and skin are amazing and my life long stomach issues are gone! I think I may have gluten issues. Either way, this lifestyle is a life changer for me and really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I do miss bread but the benefits outweigh my love of bread.

    Liked by 1 person

Say g'day. Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s