For the past few months I have been following this seemingly odd diet/eating program called the Banting Diet. The bottom line is high fat, Low carbs. This way of thinking isn't new, with past diet trends like the Atkins and the Paleo Diet.
I am guilty of the 'eat all the fat' mindset that most people enter into when they first hear about this eating plan. I went cream cheese crazy for the first week, but have since been trying to increase my veggie intake so that I can keep the 4kg's I have lost so far. And I am happy to report that I have had no problems keeping the weight off, even when I slip off track every now and again.
I am not working out as nearly as hard as I used to (it's terribly cold and dark here in Korea) but I am amazed at the changes in my body that have come about from this eating plan. I have never been one to diet, and in the past have simply upped my exercise to combat flabbier areas, but the changes I have seen and felt so far in my body have been so dramatic that I am going to be 'Banting' for a long time to come!
So for those of you who have yet to hear about the latest diet craze to hit South Africa, let me introduce to you two ladies (one of them being my sister) who are taking South Africa by storm. Don't they make Banting look sexy?!
1. Who are the Banting Blondes?
We are! Two girls who have been friends since high school and have always been a massive part of each others lives while still pursuing our individual goals and dreams - together every step of the way! Roxane Hayward is a proudly South African actress, model and singer working in South Africa and London, and Julia Pietersma is a passionate pilates instructor currently working in London - both physically demanding careers where being in shape and healthy is a top priority! This Banting journey of ours started when we both moved to London in May 2014 - inspired by the incredible Tim Noakes book 'Real Meal Revolution' and all the success stories we had heard. We became super creative with our meals and treats in order to make this lifestyle change a bit of an easier transition, and through doing this, created some incredibly delicious recipes that we thought we just HAD to share with other banters out there! Pancakes, Nutella, cinnamon buns, low carb bread, but to name a few. It started as an Instagram page and then grew to a Facebook page with nearly 5000 followers in just over a month! It's growing everyday and we are loving the journey.
2. What exactly is Banting/The Banting diet?
We like to look at Banting as a change in lifestyle rather then a 'diet' - ewww, we hate that word! Banting is known to be a Low Carbohydrate, High Fat eating plan - but we stress wherever we can that it is, in fact, a 'No Sugar, Low Carbohydrate, Moderate Protein, High Fat and SUPER High Vegetable' eating regime. Yip! You heard right! NO sugar. Sounds impossible, but it is not! There are so many delicious meals and treats you can make using healthier, lower carbohydrate substitutes - and that is what we share with you on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Banting also cancels out any processed, synthetic or refined foods from your diet, leaving you healthy and glowing from the inside out!
3. What makes it different from Paleo?
They are actually very similar in theory and both extremely healthy ways of eating. Differences would be that Paleo says absolutely no dairy, whereas Banting you are allowed dairy in moderation. Paleo doesn't limit you on your daily fruit intake, but Banting does. Other differences would be that with Paleo you are still allowed sweeteners such as agave, coconut sap, honey and maple syrup - all sweeteners which are not allowed while Banting (honey in moderation). Reason being, these foods are still relatively high in carbs and therefore going to spike up your sugar levels, causing your pancreas to release insulin - insulin being the fat producing hormone; no thanks! Banting is also safe for diabetics whereas we wouldn't recommend Paleo if your sugar levels are already high.
4. What can I eat? What can’t I eat?
That is quite an extensive question, haha. Simple answer and without going into too much detail would be that you have to avoid anything and everything that is toxic to your body (processed, refined or synthetic) which includes sugar, margarine, artificial sweeteners, soya etc. You'll also have to cut out anything that is high in carbohydrates which includes all grains, legumes, fruit juices and starchy vegetables like potatoes, peanuts and peas. Instead, you would want to fill your plate with food that nourishes your beautiful body. This includes green leafy vegetables and other vegetables grown above the ground. You can also eat 80g of protein with each meal. And lets not forget the fat! Mmmm...nuts, seeds, animal fats, coconut oil, butter and olive oil are all things that will help keep your body, tummy and mind fully and satisfied. Sweet tooth? You are allowed fruit in moderation as well as natural sweeteners such as xylitol, stivia and erythritol. If you want the full list, we recommend going to www.realmealrevolution.com/real-food-lists
5. Why is it good for me?
Where do we begin! Firstly, lets not forget that your body is a machine and in order for it to run smoothly, you need to give it the correct fuel. i.e. don't fill your diesel 4X4 with petrol and wonder why it breaks. Blondes talking cars hey? Yip, we're that cool. But seriously, with Banting you are only filling your body with nutritious basic foods that our bodies were designed to process. You are eating actual FOOD, no more 'food like products' and the benefits that go with doing that are insane! Hold onto your seats cause here is a list of just a FEW of those benefits (if you want to find out the rest, you'll have to start Banting!) - increased energy levels, clear skin, healthy nails and hair, stronger immune system, no carb or sugar cravings, and of course (the one everyone wants to hear about) weight loss!
6. So what you’re saying is I can stuff myself silly with cream cheese and still loose weight?
Haha, well not exactly. That is where a lot of people go wrong with banting. They read 'Low Carb, High Fat' but all they see is 'HIGH FAT! HIGH FAT! HIGH FAT!'. They forget that this eating plan includes tons of vegetables and moderate protein. The fat is permitted and included in order to keep you satisfied and sustained for longer until your next meal. So yes, eat your cream cheese, but have some steamed spinach or broccoli with it. Don't overeat, don't snack, only eat when hungry and focus on the nutrition that is going into your body.
7. And eggs? I see that you're allowed to eat as many as you like. Wouldn't that increase my cholesterol?
This is actually a really interesting question, which calls for a super interesting answer. Time to put our brunette wigs on... haha. Firstly, cholesterol isn't all bad. Our bodies naturally produce it, because without cholesterol, we would die - gasp! There are two types of cholesterol in your body - the bad kind known as LDL (which can clog your arteries and lead to heart attacks and strokes) and the good kind known as HDL (which actually removes LDL and sends to back to the liver to be processed). BUT, there are two subtypes of LDL:Small, Dense LDL (ewww) and Large LDL (yay).
Recent studies have shown that it is the Small, Dense LDL that you want to watch out for and try lower. Saturated fats (such as eggs, coconut oil, animal fats and butter - all which are 100% from nature and 100% yay while banting) increase the Large LDL and HDL cholesterol and decrease the Small, Dense LDL. So eat your eggs, make sure they are free range and organic, but also don't get stuck in a pattern of eating the same thing every day (seperate from the cholesterol issue).
You're body is designed to be a hunter gatherer and graze on different food types that it can find for that season. So mix things up a little and give your body a change up every now and then. This is a very concise answer on quite a detailed subject, so if you'd like some more info and would like to do your own research, make sure you do this by searching 'Small Dence LDL Cholesterol, Saturated Fats'.
8. Isn’t it expensive? What if I live somewhere that I can’t get hold of the ‘good’ foods easily? Are there things I can substitute?
You'll definitely be able to get hold of the correct food easily. That's because they are all food types that are in their most basic form - no processing and no specific commercial products. So no need to stress about that! It can be expensive if you are eating tons of the expensive fats such as avocados, nuts, cheeses and coconut oil, but you shouldn't be eating TONS of these in any case - only enough to satisfy you. Another tip is when you go to your local butcher to buy your grass-fed meat, ask for the fattier off-cuts - these will be cheaper and are perfect for your high fat banting meals! Also, don't forget the most important ingredient - vegetables! If you are banting correctly, this should be a large part of your eating plan; something which is relatively inexpensive. As you body goes into ketosis you will find that you don't need to eat as much as you used too. The fat helps you body feel sustained for long periods of time, so we find that we're only having to eat two meals a day - another factor that saves on money (and time) big time!
8. Do I need to exercise too?
Definitely! Exercise is a must if you are trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle. It starts in the kitchen, but it ends in your sweat pants! And you'll want to show off your sexy new banting bum in those yoga tights you've been hiding at the back of your cupboard. Exercise is the cheapest, most underused anti-depressant, so get moving! Find something you enjoy like yoga, pilates, kickboxing, surfing, dancing, or even ping-pong!
9. Where can I find recipes and inspiration so I don’t get bored?
You came to the right place! Follow us on our Instagram page @thebantingblondes and our Facebook page 'The Banting Blondes'. We post tasty and delicious Banting friendly recipes, meal ideas, health tips and motivational quotes. We also answer any questions you might have whenever we know the answer!
***TheBantingBlondes have recently launched an incredible E-Book packed full of all their recipes posted on their Facebook page, as well as loads more! Click here to order one for yourself!
10. What is your favourite thing about Banting?
Oooo, we have so many favourite things! But if we had to pick just one it would be this - because you are having to cook your meals, treats and yummy eats from scratch, rather than just buy already-made, store-bought products, it forces you to become more creative and experiment cooking with ingredients that you would never normally look twice at, like coconut flour and flaxseeds for example. Therefore, you create and try out recipes that are delicious, guilt-free and packed with nutrients and goodness. So come and join us on this Banting journey! We have a cheesecake in the oven and it serves 8 people - who's joining us for tea? ;)
You can find The BantingBlondes at the following places:
And for those of you here in South Korea, I am going to be using the #BantingInKorea hashtag when I post recipes that I have made right here in Korea, using local ingredients that I have been able to find here. I hope you'll join me in this journey to a healthier you!