I don’t want to come across as one of those annoying and overly cheerful people, but I’m really loving The Banting Diet! I enjoy how simple it is and am impressed by how both ‘J’ and I are achieving results with minimal effort. I can’t stand diets where I have to work out an insane amount and drastically limit my food intake in order to see results. Like most people, I don’t have the time or willpower for that.
The reason Banting works for me is it’s easy. Food is separated out into three group: the green list, the yellow list and the red list. I can eat as much as I want from the green list, in moderation from the yellow list, and not at all, or on a treat day, from the red list. I then couple that with my daily half an hour walks with my dog and I’m set. (For a food list please visit the Banting website at http://realmealrevolution.com/real-food-lists .)
Here’s my advice on starting Banting:
- Start out by eliminating all grains. The Banting book doesn’t necessarily recommend this, but it’s something ‘J’ and I did and I think it helped us. We used up all the pasta and rice we had at home up and we didn’t buy anymore. This not only means that we don’t feel bad about having food in our pantry we’re not using, but also means that we don’t have something sitting around tempting us. Once you run out of something not Banting approved, don’t replenish it. In this way, you’ll slowly start to ease yourself into a Banting lifestyle and the carb loss won’t be such a shock to your system.
- Clean out your pantry. If you want to get started on Banting before you use up your food stores, or don’t want to eat everything you have stock piled, get rid of it. You can do this by donating it to a food bank, giving it away to a friend, leaving (unopened) items in your work’s break room, etc.
- Look up recipe ideas. Banting is more than just salads and meat. There are so many low carb high fat Banting friendly recipes out there. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start out with just a few easy recipes and add more to your repertoire as you feel comfortable. You can also check out some of my Low Carb Recipes.
- Make a shopping list. The grocery store may feel daunting the first couple weeks of Banting. By having a list to refer to, you’ll be able to focus on what you need and zip through the grocery store before you become overwhelmed by your cravings.
- Plan your lunches. If you don’t already take a lunch with you, you’ll want to start. The easiest way to stay on Banting and have success is to prepare your own food. I usually make enough for supper so ‘J’ and I can eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. Barring that, you could always make an easy tuna salad or use leftover meat to make a chef salad of sorts.
- Make a meal plan for the week. Make your first week on Banting easy on yourself. Plan on roasting a chicken, a ground beef dish, etc. The easier your meal prep for the week, the more likely you’ll be to be successful.
Prepare snacks. You may be hungry your first week on Banting. Don’t try and limit your food intake this week– your body will naturally start to do this as you adjust to Banting. Instead, eat when you’re hungry. My first week on Banting, I ate my regular meals plus snacks and a bedtime snack. For a quick to-go snack you could cut up cucumber and celery and dip them in cream cheese or pair with cheese cubes. You could also have a hard boiled egg or two with a little mayonnaise. If you’d rather not take the time to create a meal plan for the first week, please feel free to use mine.
- Eat enough fat. In place of using carbs as a fuel source, your body will start using fat. If you aren’t consuming enough fat, you’ll suffer and not only be hungry, but tired. Ways you can make sure you’re getting enough fat in your diet: fry your eggs in a tablespoon or two of coconut oil, pour a little cream on your breakfast/ add a little cream to your coffee, add butter to frozen veggies you cook, make a creamy dressing for your salad or use mayonnaise as dressing, make whipped cream and have that for dessert, add an avocado to your salad, etc. It took me a couple weeks to adjust to adding fat to my diet, but now I can definitely tell when I haven’t had enough, because I start to feel famished and unable to think properly when I haven’t had enough.
- Be sure you’re getting enough sodium. Since you won’t be eating a bunch of processed junk, you’ll probably need to add a little salt to your diet so you can keep your electrolytes balanced. Your body needs sodium to function properly. Just add a pinch of salt to whatever dish you’re making and you should be set. If you have any concerns about your sodium intake, please contact your doctor.
- Don’t focus on what you can’t eat. What I’ve come to realise during my time on Banting is that I’ve gotten rid of everything that has been making me feel like crap. I don’t feel foggy and jittery between meals, nor do I have a near daily upset stomach. So, why would I want to go back to regularly eating the things I ate before? That doesn’t mean that I don’t crave pizza or pasta. What I’ve decided to do is make them a treat. Instead of concentrating on the things I can’t eat daily, I concentrate on making delicious food and enjoying what I eat.
- Plan a treat day. Having something to look forward to can get you through the difficult times. ‘J’ and I have our first treat day planned for a little over a month after starting Banting. I’m not sure exactly what we’re going to do or eat yet, but I do know that at some point during the day, I’m going to have a nice, big bowl of ice cream.