How I Bant

bb3

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.

dinner2

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.

dinner1

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.

bb1I 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).

This is a good Facebook group if you are just starting out or have any questions.

pic
Happy and sparkly, with the energy to actually live life instead of just chugging along.
Advertisements

In Practice

So here’s the thing. The media and world have become obsessed with being thin and ripped and all of us looking like models and body builders. It’s a fad, just like being overweight and pale was a fad a century or two ago, and it will pass. A lot of Christians are quick to criticize this fad because it’s based on self, self, self and can very easily morph into making fitness and health your idols. Also, when people don’t reach their goals because they were too unrealistic given their lifestyle, biology, finances, and time, they get discouraged and their self esteem plummets.

But…what if we do it from a godly point of view? God has given us these bodies, and they are his temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Is it right, then, to poison yourself and to let yourself become soft and unhealthy? This is a hard one because most of us don’t think in these terms and because it’s extremely difficult to change your lifestyle, especially, I’m sure, when you have a spouse and kids and a job (I wouldn’t know). But, just like we take spiritual care of every other part of our lives, it’s our job to also take care of our physical bodies, and to do it for God’s glory. Think about this: what kind of testimony would it be if churches were packed with severely overweight, unhealthy, tired, depressed people be? Well…that’s kind of what’s happening.

We don’t have to be body builders and super models. But we have a responsibility to look after our bodies, just like we have a responsibility to look after our spiritual lives and everything else God has given us. We are stewards of HIS money, HIS property, HIS people, and HIS temples, our bodies. Look at the amount of effort and care Solomon took in building the temple; well, now our bodies are God’s temple, so shouldn’t we exercise the same effort and care?

God has been convicting me about this for some time, and I’ve started doing something about it a few times. Every time I’ve had to stop because of some serious sickness or injury, and then starting after I’ve lost all that ground is very discouraging. However, now that I’m on my own and am the only one responsible for what I put into my body and what I do with it, I’m starting again. I strongly urge you to pray and think seriously about this. And, if nothing else, think about this: the more energy and health you have, the more time and energy you will have to do what God wants you to do.

If you have no idea where to start, check out these links for some ideas.

How to Start Running
Eating Clean
Nutrition
Fitness

The Beginning

This is the first of the split posts, which the majority will be this month. India first, NaNo second 🙂 Take your pick or read it all. Oh yeah, this was from the 1st of November, after midnight, so I have more for you today…I’ll post it tonight or something.

 

INDIA

Well, wow. Where to start. Um…okay, the trip itself was surprisingly smooth. Emirates officially trumps all other airlines I’ve been on. When you have ambient purple and blue light, and a star field in the ceiling of the plane, and good food and amazing service, and over 140 movies, you pretty much rule out all competition in  my book. The only bump we had in the trip isn’t even worthy of being called a bump, especially in comparison with most of our other, rather bumpy trips. Dubai airport is awesome and I’m looking forward to spending more time there on the way back. The thing that hit me there, and that has continued to hit me since then, is how laid back these people are. These are day one impressions, so it’s possible that by some freak accident and coincidence we came into contact with the 5% of people in Asia that are laid back. but anyway. Dubai airport is a big, international, meeting-of-many-cultures place, much like Heathrow in London and Schipol in Amsterdam…and yet, none of the usual cutthroat, dog-eat-dog atmosphere was there. And we had Starbucks! Yay! I feel more like myself already.

 

So. India. When we got here it was nearing the end of dusk, and the sky was dark cerulean. People say that all the time, I know. But really. Picture the deepest, most fantastical shade of blue that you can, and that’s what the sky looked like. It got dark pretty quickly, so I can’t really say much about what Bangalore looks like yet. I will say this: it reminds me a lot of Ethiopia, except less…hostile? I’m not sure what the right word is. But it’s the same thing as at Dubai. I’m used to the ruthlessness of Africa, and I love it because it’s Africa, but this so far, is much different. As I said or at least implied, these are the comments of a slightly jet lagged African chick who has only seen a tiny part of Bangalore at night from inside a speeding minivan. Oh, yeah…so far, I have been able to ascertain one extra traffic rule that the US and SA don’t have. When you get to a turn in the road, a speed bump, a car (whether in your lane or in oncoming traffic), someone on a motorcycle, someone on a bike, a dog, a pedestrian, or basically anything that is not the immovable, straight and narrow road, honk. Honk twice for good measure. It’s just polite.

 

I have had my first real, authentic Asian food. WOW. My tongue is still on fire, but in a good, flavorful way. By the way…in the US when they say egg fried rice, they mean fried rice with little indiscernible scraps of fried egg, just for the flavor. In India (yes, SO FAR, please don’t shoot me because of hasty generalizations), they mean uno fried egg. Which was interesting because the yolk was neon yellow, but tasty all at the same time. Anyway…I’ll have more for you once I actually start seeing things.

 

Also, holy cow, I do not remember vaccinations hurting this much…I got them on Friday and my upper arms still hurt like it’s 2012 (what? I don’t know, go ask Mr. Jetlag over there.) Oh, and I was an ignorant tourist today! I’m not sure if this is cause for celebration or a severe shaking of the head. But…I can’t help it if I’ve never thought about what country Dubai is in. It’s just Dubai. However, apparently there is a “comma, United Arab Emirates” attached to it.

 

NANO

I confess, the excitement of NaNo passed me by a little bit this year because of packing, finishing school, and flying. However, I stayed up until midnight even though we’d been traveling for about 36 hours straight and wrote a grand total of 27 words. I need to get up to 5k by the end of the day, but I just couldn’t get more out tonight. Often I kind of feed on my tiredness when I’m writing, but travel tiredness is a whole other beast. SO how did you all do?? Remember, if you feel like you can keep going past the word count, then do it. You’ll thank yourself later, if you’re not too busy kicking yourself in the shins for signing up for this thing.