Tanya Wyatt, Happy Valley pond

I’m a really big fan of Prof Tim Noakes.  That he subscribes to my way of seeing things is a good start. Lately, though he’s been exceptionally good for my business!  With him getting everyone Banting (high fat, low carb diet – see https://realmealrevolution.com/) I am now – dear reader – perceived in my nutritional work as MODERATE, nearly conservative!

Oh joy! I was considered as “out there”, as I advocate eating 75% nutritionally “real” food and 25% let-your-hair-down food. But now the Prof is seen as the extreme in his suggestion that we take all carbs but vegetable matter, out of the diet in order to achieve outstanding health.

Cavemen didn’t shop at Woolies….

For those of us with ancestors from the northern hemisphere, consider this… We come (originally) from cold climate countries and so, for most of the year, would have had access to game and fish. These staples would have been relatively high in fat due to the weather conditions. In addition, we would have eaten more of the organ meats than muscles. Organs are high in fat (providing the fuel we needed to live on) and contain dense proteins (necessary for all bodily functions).  What carbs would’ve been available? Maybe some roots, the odd wild fruit and other vegetable matter, but certainly not quantities, nor quality in which we now consume them. Most certainly not the kinds of carbs we now find when strolling down the supermarket aisle.

His own concern lies primarily with the insulin-resistant (IR) individuals – people like himself who have diabetes, or who are possibly/probably on their way to developing the disease. But everyone can and will benefit from banting. No matter whether your genetic roots are African, European or even Inuit, a lower carb diet is far and away, a healthier option.

Ye olde food pyramid

To keep it very simple, banting turns the good ‘ole American food pyramid on its head. In other words, the bulk of your calories should come from high quality fats. These fats are: butter, coconut fat, cold-pressed plant oils, fat on pastured, organically raised meats.  Some texts say that 50-75% fat is recommended.  Moderate amounts of protein are essential. Proteins were always recommended in moderation, so this doesn’t really change. Then, low – to very low amounts of carbohydrates (in vegetable form only) are recommended.

My personal feeling is this. We have a physical body that requires certain essential fuel (like our car) in order to remain in good working order. We also have an emotional body which requires different fuel (whether that be chocolate, fast food or other). It would be ideal to eliminate ALL fast, processed, refined, adulterated foods from our diets, but this just isn’t a realistic option.  My aim, when working with clients (and personally), is a 75%/25% split, assuming you don’t have any lifestyle diseases. If you have lifestyle diseases – I’d suggest a 90%/10% split.

So…banting or bust?

How sad life would be without the occasional piece of cheesecake, slap-chips, burger, or bag of crisps!  Health is about balance, not about punishment.  It should never be ‘banting or bust’.  Banting isn’t a ‘diet’ – it’s a lifestyle choice that’ll work best if you keep it real.  After all that’s said and done, a healthy body is a happy body.