People put my commitment to the Banting diet down to willpower, but truly I have very little of it.
I chalk it up to simply never allowing myself to get too hungry and ensuring I have enough good food options on hand at all times.
The first thing to know is Banting is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Low-carb means cutting the sugar, including starches. The high fat is pretty important, otherwise the resultant hunger will drive you to stuff a soggy, tasteless garage pie down your gullet by 3pm.
Bacon-and-egg breakfasts, if eaten frequently enough, will soon make you retch at the mere thought of them. But for a few months now crustless quiche is my breakfast staple. Three eggs beaten into a cup of cream with a handful of grated cheese and whatever other flavourings you like added – say spinach, mushrooms or bacon – poured into a dish and baked at 180°C for 30 minutes.
Banting baked goods taste odd, and are pretty costly too. But when in a rush, the more neutral tasting “breads” suffice as a vessel for heaps of cheese or mashed and peppered avocado.
Lunches and dinners consist of a bit of protein – a chicken thigh, a lamb chop, or a mince patty – accompanied by liberally buttered roast veg or mashed cauliflower, Hubbard squash or a loaded salad. More complicated roasts, casseroles or stews are better left for the weekend.
In-between meals, a good dollop of cream in my coffee is satiating. Otherwise a handful of butter-roasted macadamia nuts or olives will keep hunger pangs at bay. Droëwors also does the job but is not my first choice because I’m wary of eating too much protein.
There is hardly ever space for dessert these days but a quick fix is strawberries and cream or a block or two of a very dark chocolate. As an occasional treat I make crème brûlées without the brûlée – one scalded cup of cream is slowly poured into a mixture of four egg yolks beaten with a tablespoon of xylitol. Poured into four ramekins and baked in a water bath for 30 minutes.
There are a few cheats I employ that make my life easier and for which true-blue Banters will haul me over the coals. You are not meant to use seed oils (sunflower, canola etcetera) but when it comes to salad dressing and mayonnaise I’m not fussed. Peanuts are a no-no, but in small quantities the carbs are not too bad and so I keep some on hand for when I’ve run out of macadamia-money.
Banting is silent on alcohol consumption but I’ve found a few toots to go past the waistline. Spirits are carb-free but I opt for dry red and white wines or Castle Lite. But be warned, a few too many could mean you find that naff garage pie in your line of sight.