2014, the year in which my husband Glen turned 50. A time to reflect on our past and figure out what needs to change for a better, healthier tomorrow.
In Not A Normal Woman I wrote about our opposing weight issues and following a high carbohydrate, low fat diet, which had no beneficial results. We clearly needed to re-look at our nutrition strategy.
Glen had mentioned a friend, Sandy, who had been a vegetarian. She was constantly tired, especially in the afternoons, and so had gone to see a lifestyle coach. She was told that her body needed more fat and protein and less carbohydrates. After about 8 months of following her new diet, Sandy managed to lose a substantial amount of weight but also regained her energy.
On the 28 January, 2014, whilst doing the school run and listening to 5FM, DJ Fresh interviewed Prof Tim Noakes, who spoke about his new book, the Real Meal Revolution. Suddenly everything started falling into place and I became extremely excited, as I started realising where we were going wrong with our diet. Prof Noakes outlined what “Banting” was all about starting with the founder of the lifestyle, William Banting.
“William Banting was a British undertaker who was very obese and desperately wanted to lose weight. In the year 1862 he paid a visit to his doctor, William Harvey, who proposed a radical eating plan that was high in fat but included very few carbohydrates. By following this eating plan Banting experienced such remarkable weight loss that he wrote an open letter to the public, the “Letter on Corpulence”, which became widely distributed. As more people started following this eating plan to lose weight, the term “banting” or to “bant” became popularised.” Real Meal Revolution, The Facts
Everything that we once believed about food was now suddenly turned on its head. We studied the food pyramid at school, which looked something like this.
However, what Professor Noakes explained, we now needed to practically turn the Food Pyramid on its head until it looked something like this.
Sugar addiction has become a huge problem in our society and it has been helped along by industry. Many processed products have added sugars, which we don’t see and then can not understand why we are becoming more and more unhealthy and obese. There is a positive correlation between too many carbohydrates, which lead to inflammation and high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and many other auto-immune diseases.
After hearing this interview, I couldn’t wait to tell Glen about what Prof Noakes was saying. After some discussion we realised that The Real Meal Revolution and the health advice, which Sandy had been given by her lifestyle coach, was very similar. We then decided to make an appointment and to visit Tanya Wyatt, Sandy’s Lifestyle coach and owner of The Happy Body. A lengthy questionnaire was completed, so that Tanya had a heads up on any issues which we were experiencing, this was a really interesting exercise. My stomach issues (ulcer symptoms) were highlighted and so were Glens (irritable bowel). I so enjoyed our meetings with Tanya, an incredible source of knowledge, who made the start of our journey exciting and provided guidance for about 3 months. I learned that it wasn’t that I had too much stomach acid, which caused my ulcer issues, it was caused from too little stomach acid. My ulcer symptoms returned with a vengeance following the new Low Carb High Fat Lifestyle. Thanks to Tanya’s advice, the issues were quickly resolved. This was very likely, one of the reasons why I couldn’t gain weight either. I lacked hydrochloric acid in my gut and there wasn’t enough to digest my food effectively. There is a simple test which can be done, which is called the burp test, not a pleasant exercise, but interesting. It took me 14 minutes to burp, when I was experiencing the ulcer symptoms – there was clearly a problem. A short course of a Hydrochloric Acid supplement assisted in taking the burn away and have also began making and consuming fermented foods such as kombucha and pickled cucumbers, which have assisted with the growth of healthy gut flora.
Prof Noakes is available on twitter and does answer questions, but I found having Tanya to bounce ideas off of, was invaluable.
Our Real Meal Revolution book arrived about a month after starting our journey with Tanya and it was a great source of new ideas and definitely made my life in the kitchen easier.
The Banting lifestyle revolves around 3 lists, the red (avoid), the orange (eat sometimes), the green (eat freely).
Excluding flour and bread from our diet was the hardest part. One of the easiest transitions that I made was not having sugar in my coffee and tea. Over the years, I had reduced my sugar to 1 tsp per cup, so wasn’t too difficult not to have sugar – I can highly recommend not having sugar in beverages, it is something which I do not miss.
This was the beginning of our Real Journey, the journey which we have loved following for the past 18 months.