There are loads of helpful resources out there to help you on your new Banting journey, but here are just a few tips that really helped me in the early days when it came to navigating the minefield of what is and isn't "allowed".
1. Fruits are not always your friend.
This blew my mind when I first started Banting, I had been told all my life that you needed your five fruits a day, and the old adage of an apple a day keeps the doctor away, when in fact that apple I'd been having every morning had made the doctor's visit all the more necessary for me. Sweet fruits like apples are high in Fructose, which even though it's a natural sugar, is still bad for a Banter. There are certain fruits, specifically berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries etc), that are totally okay to eat as long as it's in moderation.
2. Vegetables are definitely your friend!
Now vegetables are the complete opposite to fruits in this regard. You should be including vegetables into as many meals as you can because not only are they filling but they are also nutritious and super-healthy. They are considered a Banting Bulk Food, meaning you can really eat as much as you like until you're full. An important note on veggies however is to avoid as much as possible all ORANGE vegetables, eg. Carrots, Butternut, Pumpkin etc.
3. Make sure you're eating enough fat.
This fact is one of the core principles of the whole Banting lifestyle. This is also the most controversial point of the eating plan as people still believe it to be very unhealthy. I personally am kind of on the fence but choose to keep my fat intake between moderate and high for now until my future blood tests come back and we can accurately map it’s effects on my own body. As your carbohydrate intake goes down, so you can increase your fat intake. It is a myth that eating fat makes you fat. Eating too much of it will, but so will eating too much of anything. Include small amounts of fat into your meals through eating animal fats, double cream yoghurt, avocados etc. It goes a long way to making you feel full and will help to decrease your appetite in the long run.
4. Sugar needs to go too!
It’s no good cutting out the carbs but still having sugar in your tea/coffee, or slurping down a Coke. Cutting out sugar as well as carbs is often the hardest part for those new Banters with a sweet tooth. They can sometimes develop what is called “low-carb flu” because it presents with flu like symptoms when in fact it is actually their body going through withdrawals from their sugar addiction. If you feel like you can’t go cold turkey with this then you can transition your lifestyle by substituting in Xylitol or Stevia etc.
5. No processed foods.
You want to try as much as possible to eat foods in their most natural form. The trick is to buy foods that look like what they are and then cook them from scratch. You want to stay as far away as possible from any form of processed meat or dairy as you can which means no more viennas or polony. There are plenty of ways to do this well with most shops having an organic range of meat and vegetables, and while this can often times be an expensive route to take, be wise with where and what you’re purchasing and make adjustments that suit your wallet.
6. Don’t over or under eat, and avoid bad snacking!
Often times many new Banters, myself included, freak out at the beginning of this journey and fill their plates to the brim because they’re worried they might go hungry. On the Banting diet it is possible and in fact incredibly easy to cook delicious meals that fill you up. Another important thing to keep in mind is that if you don’t feel hungry, you don’t have to eat just because it’s what your routine dictates. If you don’t feel like lunch, then don’t have lunch, eat when your body tells you it needs more fuel. However it is also not wise to under eat in the hopes of speeding up the weight loss, your body still needs the nutrients, fats, vitamins etc. in order to function at its peak, so give your body what it needs! When it comes to snacking, it’s not a bad idea to have small/light meals in between the regular three if you need them, but make sure that your snacks are healthy options such as nuts or biltong.
7. Find out what works for you!
I think it goes without saying that not everyone enjoys the same types of food or even the same types of meals, so its up to you to work out what kind of food you can make for your various breakfasts, lunches and suppers, and also what suits your tastes and your schedule the best. One person might enjoy having bacon, eggs and mushrooms for breakfast every morning while another enjoys double cream yoghurt with berries, pecans and little bit of honey. All of this you will figure out as you go along.
If you’re just starting out on this new healthy path in life, then my advice is to really give it a proper go, try not to let any cravings you may feel get the better of you and you will thank yourself for it down the line.
This really is a revolution in terms of its effectiveness, you will feel more awake, more alert and you will lose weight while becoming healthier. I hope you have found this article to be helpful and informative, if you have any tips or advice of your own, please feel free to let me know in the comments section below.