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(Still) trying to get on the wagon…


South Africans are caught up in a fever – Banting fever. Liters of fat is being shed, while meters of waistlines have shrunk. Facebook is chock-a-block with before-and-after photos of the disciples of this low carbohydrates, high fat (LCHF) way of eating.

I have blogged about this before when I was trying to decide To Paleo, or not to Paleo. I tried paleo-ing (my blog, my word!) for a while, but mainly fell off the wagon because of the restrictions on dairy. Damn, I do love my cheese… Wine – I have learnt to forego. Song – I am keeping, as it does nothing to my weight. Women… meh! They are totally off-topic!* (If there is a topic to this post, which seems to want to take on a life of its own!)

Back to Banting.

Banting is also know as the Harvey/Banting or LCHF diet. My need to know had me research the origin of the word “Banting,” the verb “to bant” also having become a part of the English language. This eating plan was first prescribed in 1861 to a short, fat undertaker,  William Banting, by the London surgeon William Harvey – with great success.

Banting wrote a Open Letter or booklet called, Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public in 1863. In this he details the particular plan for the diet he followed in the form of a personal testimonial.

William Banting Letter on Corpulence

William Banting Letter on Corpulence

Banting became the standard treatment for weight loss in all the major European and North American medical schools after that until about a century later, when it was left out of all the major medical and nutritional textbooks. It was replaced with its polar opposite, a ‘heart-healthy’ diet, low on fat, high on carbohydrates. In 1974, Dr Robert Atkins re-“discovered” this eating plan.

If you are interested, here is Harvey’s Diet Plan for William Banting:

BREAKFAST: 4-5 ounces beef, mutton, kidneys, broiled fish, bacon or cold meat of any kind except pork, large cup of tea (without milk or sugar), a little biscuit or one ounce of dry toast. (Pork was not allowed as it was then thought to contained starch).
DINNER: 5-6 ounces of any fish except salmon, any meat except pork, any vegetable except potato, one ounce of dry toast, fruit of any pudding, 2 any kinds of poultry or game, and 2-3 glasses of good claret, sherry or Madeira (champagne, port, beer were forbidden).
TEA: 2-3 ounces fruit, a rusk or two and a cup of tea without milk or sugar.
SUPPER: 3-4 ounces of meat or fish, similar to dinner, with a glass or two of claret.
NIGHTCAP: Tumbler of grog: gin, whisky or brandy (without sugar) or a glass or two of claret or sherry.

Don’t you just love that tumbler of grog? Sorry, I digress again!

After seeing all these people losing half or more of themselves and reading about William Banting, I thought, Hmm… Short. Fat. Yup. Cest moi.  I had managed to get rid of the DD flour sacks by medical intervention, but the two piglets in the seat of my jeans (which I ascribe to my inherited maternal side’s corpulent (love this word) genes), I have to get rid of myself. Well, have tried to get rid of – with various degrees of success. Lately I have managed to at least catch the Banting wagon and hang on, feet dragging behind.

But it takes two to tango, uhm, bant, and B is very reluctant to learn the steps of this new dance/lifestyle. Popcorn and wine gums are just too tempting… I have lectured, pleaded and all but stooped to blackmail, but the decision to change a lifestyle cannot be enforced. It has to be a mind-shift, an Aha! moment.

So, me, myself and I am either on the wagon, dragging painfully behind or falling off briefly, only to try and catch up again, but at least I am trying!

Pooch – that’s another story – Pugs have to be corpulent! 😀


See! I’m eating a carrot!

Disclaimer: I am not advocating any diet, neither am I shunning any. You have to find a healthy eating plan that works for you, preferably in consultation with a doctor or dietitian.

* The phrase “Wine, women and song” may have originated with the following couplet:

“Who does not love wine, women and song,
Remains a fool his whole life long.”

Variations on this quote have been attributed to Martin Luther, although Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations names Johann Heinrich Voss (1751–1826) as a more likely source. Whoever it was, he was a genius.


Author: Kris

Hi! I'm Kris. I live in South Africa with my life partner of 27+ years, whom I call B or Madam in my posts. We have a Pug dog child, Remi, also known as Pooch, who has graced and enriched our lives for the past 12 years.

13 thoughts on “(Still) trying to get on the wagon…

  1. Thanks for the history/background. The Swedish word for dieting is “banta”, go figure! For a moment there I thought you started to write swenglish…
    My wife followed a strict LCHF diet for about a month to then carefully start eating carbs again. She found that she’s been eating too much carbs before. Today she is content after just 1/2 potato. I on the other hand is a carb, veggie and fish person. I can’t think of going LCHF. Paleo is more like my style if I had to choose.


  2. I am a big fan of grains, fruit, veg and dairy, so I ignore all evidence to the contrary 🙂


  3. Good luck, Kris. I never tried any of those diets. Not a big fan of meat, hate bread, but love veggies and dairy. Also, I don’t need to diet. I’m bone thin already. Always have been. I guess it’s in my DNA.


  4. i don’t know nothing about this stuff but good luck. I tried the Adkin’s diet a bunch of years ago with some success but I really LOVE bread and sandwiches especially so it was pure hell for me. I’d rather give up dairy, though I don’t wanna, than bread.


    • Bread used to be a huge stumbling block for me too, but I have found I can live without it. Now to get over the cheese block – I ‘ll rather eat through it! 😀