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.
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! 😀
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.