These days it’s safer to venture an opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict than it is to support Banting. I don’t know who’s annoying me more at the moment: the fence sitting foodies, the ill informed, yet exceedingly vocal skeptics or the Banting Bashers who think LCHF (Low Carbohydrate, High Fat) is KFC without the bun. What I don’t understand is, why all the drama?
I bought The Book earlier this year and it said I could still use cream, butter and olive oil in cooking and eat bacon, avocado and cheese. It also said to avoid sugar and foods high in carbohydrates — which include seed and vegetable oils. That’s it. It never said to eat any of the permissible foods in abundance and it clearly advises against too much protein.
Great, so all I had to give up was bread, sweets, cold drinks, cakes and puddings, deep-fried anything and pretty much everything processed — in a low-carb nutshell, avoid anything that isn’t fresh, ergo: 90% of the contents of my local supermarket. Gone were the days of fast food take-aways, hey-presto pastas and sandwiches for supper as I was just too tired, bone idle, or not in the mood to cook.
Now I cook daily and it’s always a good meal. If you have to make the effort, you may as well make it worth your while, plus I really adore good food. Is it more expensive? You betcha. For starters, I’m cooking more and buying fresh produce that isn’t commercially subsidized, unlike maize, soy and sugar.
I eat a lot more vegetables and a far greater variety thereof. I love fruit but have always had to force myself to eat my FDA recommended daily quota — with Banting, that’s no longer an issue as fruit intake is restricted if it’s weight loss you’re after.
Animal protein abounds in a myriad of guises, available in this town as grass fed, organic, ethically raised and SASSI approved goodness and I’ve personally roasted, broiled, poached, fried and seared my way through most of it. By eliminating the shortcuts provided by carbs, I’ve had to spread my culinary wings and embrace new methods and ingredients. I’m excited about food again and it shows in my cooking. At this rate, I may never get my son to leave home.
I’m not a purist. Some of my recipes contain good quality preserves, tapenades and pestos — mostly purchased at food markets where they’re practically home-made and mean supporting talented local traders. I also use a splash of soy and find it difficult to cook without NoMU’s chicken fond. This may not be ideal, but it works for me and ensures my diet remains sustainable. Five months down the line and I’m enjoying my food so much that I have no desire to change the way I eat. I want for nothing.
I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost as I’ve sworn off scales in favour of balance, but it’s substantial and on-going. I have tons more energy, feel mentally sharper and, besides my daily bout of cookery calisthenics, all this with minimum effort. It’s a High Fat No Brainer to me.
The point is this: with a slight shift in attitude, it is possible to cook really delicious meals that don’t require high carbs or sugar to make them appealing. Most of my friends couldn’t give two hoots about LCHF but that doesn’t stop them from dropping everything when a meal is on offer at my house. Some people have wit and personality, others status and indefatigable booze cabinets that draw the crowds — for me, it’s always been my food. That’s my thing and continues to be despite the parameters imposed by LCHF.
I’ve eliminated sugar, grains and processed foods from my diet in favour of fresh, wholesome goodness. I use no more fat than I did before, I just avoid vegetable oils. I’m slimmer, sharper and more energised as a result, so tell me, please, what’s the beef with LCHF?