Looking back on our 18 month journey, I can not believe how far we have traveled as a family. It has become a journey of learning, discovery, doing old things in new ways, many health benefits and witnessing a marked change in weight, for Glen.
In our South African schools, the children are taught about nutrition and energy with the aid of the The Food Pyramid from the 1977 US government Dietary Goals for the United States. Our population seems to have become more and more obese since the pyramid became the accepted norm to nutritional “well balanced-ness”. Although warning bells need to be rung, there is still a great deal of misinformation around. Prof Noakes, at a talk in Port Elizabeth, in 2014, gave the following example – “Remember what your Matric (South African Grade 12) classmates looked like – perhaps 20 + years ago? Now compare that image to a 2015 Matric class.” You will most probably notice a terrific change in the size of today’s children. The main reason for this is an increase in the consumption of carbohydrates / sugar.
Daniel, our eldest, studied The food pyramid in Grade 6, where he was taught that carbohydrates are the fuel / energy for the body. After years of being fat averse (followed a low fat, high carbohydrate diet) as a family, the low carbohydrate way of thinking was truly a mind bender. We had raised our children to remove the animal fat from lamb and pork chops, now all of a sudden we were telling our, 11 and 8 year old’s, to eat the fat, as the fat is your fuel / energy source. One can only imagine the confusion… Daniel had been told not to eat the fat by us, it was then emphasized in the school syllabus and now we were telling him to “Eat The Fat!”. We had a flood of tears over lamb chops, but am happy to report that we survived the gremlins, and we all have a better understanding of where energy really comes from, even though the textbooks may differ with our new found beliefs.
Our meals have changed quite substantially and we are loving the simplicity. A good rule of thumb is to find foods which haven’t been processed and which look as close to the real food as possible. The fresh produce, meat, eggs, dairy and nut / seed aisles are our friends. Shopping has become far less complicated, as many of the “processed” food aisles have become illegal / avoid aisles, it is also quicker and less complicated and I don’t miss the sickly sweet sugar smell up the breakfast cereal aisle. (Funny how senses become acute, when items are cut out of ones life.)
Breakfast took place later and later, the more we consumed the healthy fats, the more the body remains satisfied. Glen and I now, a year and a half later, eat breakfast from 11:30am, or when we are hungry. This is a massive change for Glen in particular, who was hungry every 1.5 hours on the high carbohydrate diet. The reason for this is that there is no longer an insulin roller coaster – the fat consumption helps to even out the need for food by keeping us satisfied. Carbohydrates disrupt the appestat – the part of the brain which controls the appetite – so the feeling of satiety which food is supposed to provide us with, becomes ever more elusive, leading to a drive to eat more frequently.
Our breakfast is back to traditional roots, with NO bread. On an average day we have eggs, bacon, avocado pear, cheese and double cream yoghurt (no modified corn or tapioca starch permitted), the children get a squeeze of honey on their yoghurt. Daniel and Kate eat their breakfast before school and will take fruit, nuts and or a salad to school for snack time.
Lunch has become a thing of the past, Daniel and Kate will have some cheese, nuts, eggs, soup or fruit as afternoon snacks.
Our meals have remained very similar to what we ate in the past. We now substitute potato, pasta, rice etc with cauliflower and or pumpkin. By way of an example, see meal 1 and 2 below.
Roast chicken basted in butter, lime and garlic, served with broccoli, gem squash, butternut and sweet potato bake. (Lots of olive oil, coconut oil and butter is added)
LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) Coconut tart, served with strawberry and whipped cream. (Sunday evening treat) See Kathy White’s Coconut Pie recipe.
Venison mince, prepared with olive oil fried onion, thyme, salt, pepper, can of chopped tomato, garlic, kale and amasi (am using more and more amasi in my dishes, less expensive than cream and adds more flavour). This was served with sweet potato / cauliflower mash with butter and mixed spice and mashed pumpkin with butter and cinnamon.
The secret to satiety is fat, add your coconut oil, olive oil and butter, in order to keep the hunger pangs at bay.
Should your children become hungry, add more complex carbohydrates and should they start to gain weight, reduce the carbohydrate intake and add more saturated fat i.e. oil, but NO WHEAT!