This is not a food or health blog, but I have shared the occasional health related post, and since this is an important one that’s what’s happening today.
Let me start by saying that I am not overweight, and I generally eat pretty healthy (at least according to generally taught nutritional standards). However, I have been tired my whole life, have had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) since I was 8 or 9, and lately have been struggling with energy and concentration. After watching some videos and reading some very real positive experiences with Banting, I thought, what the heck, nothing else is working, so I might as well try it.
Banting (recently made popular by the very controversial Tim Noakes) is a high fat, medium protein, low carb way of eating. No sugar, no grains or legumes, and no processed foods. It is commonly misunderstood by people as a high protein diet (like the Atkins diet), but this is a misconception: protein is not the priority – fat and vegetables are.
I’m not going to go into the science of Banting or the controversy surrounding it, because a simple Google search will give you lots of reading material on that. What I will do is tell you about my personal experience so far. I was at the point where I had about 4 good hours in a day, and the rest of the time I felt tired, sluggish, blurry-eyed, and foggy-headed. I would have to take an hour or two long nap after lunch and I drank coffee all throughout the day in an attempt to keep myself awake. My concentration was terrible and getting my mountain of work done was a challenge.
From day one of eating this way, my energy has been ridiculous. The first two nights I actually had trouble falling asleep and I woke up a few times during the night because of all the excess energy. My eyes feel like they’re wide open all the time and they’re back to their lovely, sparkly selves. I no longer have to snack all day long or combat unstable blood sugar. I’m not the least bit tired until late evening, and even then sometimes it feels strange that I have to go to bed. My concentration is absolutely unreal: I started Banting during what is normally termed ‘Hell Week’ at UCT and on the first day I worked for six hours before I looked at my watch and realized I’d been working for that long. In short, I feel amazing. Even my anxiety is better – everything just feels stabilized and more normal than it’s been for me in a very long time. And I don’t miss the sugar.
I strongly suggest that you read the arguments for and against Banting before you jump in, but do ask yourself who benefits from speaking out against it: sugar, diets/diet food, and medicine are massive industries and they all take a giant blow when people start being truly healthy. Do some research about how the traditional food pyramid was developed, and by who. Think for yourself. If you come to the conclusion that this is all nonsense and that everyone doing this will die of renal failure and heart problems in five years, that’s fine – I came to the conclusion that this is the way to go for me, and my experience so far has confirmed it.
I don’t eat any of the “replacement” Banting foods like the bread, crackers, etc. My day typically consists of the following, plus 1 or 2 cups of coffee in the morning and black rooibos tea or water throughout the day:
Breakfast: 1 avocado, along with 3-4 pieces of bacon and 3 scrambled eggs fried in about 2 tablespoons of butter.
Lunch: a thing of the past.
Afternoon snack (only some days, usually if I didn’t have enough salt in the morning): a small piece of feta cheese or another avocado.
Dinner: 1 palm sized protein such as salmon, chicken (with the skin on), or a nice, fatty chop, and at least 2 cups of low-carb vegetables (often broccoli cooked in butter, some tomatoes, and occasionally half a gem squash).