Father, It has been 6 weeks since my last grain of sugar. I think - I’m not exactly sure - because you see, sugar is in just about everything. The first few weeks, while you are still an ignorant Banter, you inadvertently consume sugar in things that you were once told were healthy. “An Apple a day keeps the doctor away” – Um no it doesn’t, it is an evil fruit, filled with sugar that will give you diabetes. Coincidence that the original sin was Adam eating an apple? I THINK NOT!
Banting is bleak for a foodie. Going to a nice restaurant is hell, so I have stopped that. I still go to a steak house or local dive and swap the carbs for a salad, but I will be damned if I am going to go to the Test Kitchen and start deconstructing Luke Dale-Roberts' finest work. Besides, he would kick me out – again.
Banting IS expensive
Don’t be fooled, Banting is expensive and time-consuming. Tim Noakes will tell you otherwise, and he is technically correct, but in practice, in a middle class world, it is not. He will tell you to eat offal to save money – but are you really going to? What you are going to eat are nice cuts of meat, expensive long stem broccoli, and eye-wateringly exorbitant priced fish.
Even the snacks are expensive. Cheap chips are out. Biltong and macadamia nuts are in.
Eating while Banting is no longer for enjoyment. You eat what is going to go off to save money. Feel like steak? Tough, the fish needs to be eaten.
There is also zero convenience to this diet. Everything needs to be thought about days ahead. Unless you are a disciplined shopper, you will find very little to eat in your house. You need butter, cream, broccoli, cauliflower, eggs and bacon in your fridge at all times otherwise you will go hungry.
Avoid Fake recipes
Don’t bother with trying to turn cauliflower into a pizza base, coconut into bread, or zucchini in to pasta. These recipes taste just awful. Accept the fact that you cannot eat bread or pasta and move on. Others will tell you that their “bread” recipe is nice, but it is not – they are just people that have the taste buds of an ostrich.
You are not supposed to drink much, but you can have a little. Fortunately it seems that your tolerance level for alcohol reduces on this diet– so you naturally consume less. If you are a white wine lover I have bad news… the taste of the wine changes. My guess is that your taste buds change when you cut out sugar but I'm not sure – Tim Noakes must explain.
My advice : drink whiskey as it has zero carbs and tastes delicious.
If you like chocolate or sweet stuff, this is the hard bit. When you go cold turkey the first few days seem fine, but after that you start to develop serious sugar cravings. Some weeks are good, some weeks are bad. I read a recent study that showed that the effects of refined sugar on the brain is the same as cocaine, so it stands to reason that the withdrawals are going to be similar.
First rule of Banting
Shut up about Banting. Nothing is more boring than listening to someone wax on about their diet around a dinner table. This is especially true when the victims are stuffing their faces with pasta and dessert. Should they ask, just tell them that it works for you and refer them to the internet and change the subject. I have witnessed too many social occasions where people just roll their eyes while a Banter (yes it rhymes with…) waxes lyrical about 50 ways to serve a cauliflower.
So why am I still doing it? Well it's simple. I feel good and I have lost weight. There is something very satisfying being able to wear clothes that were gathering dust. No need for a new wardrobe, just bring out the clothes that you couldn’t bear to throw away. So yes, it is vanity before food – what a skandal! Once I have reached my goal weight I plan to celebrate with a trip to The Test Kitchen and stuff myself with carbs - that is if I can get a booking.
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