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Week 10: Elmari’s weekly Banting Diet Diary

Follow Good Housekeeping’s senior Afrikaans editor, Elmari Potgieter, as she shares her Banting weight-loss diary: the highs, the lows and everything in between
Banting Diet Diary

I can’t believe it!

I must admit, I am flabbergasted by the past week’s results: I’ve lost another 1,7kg! And this after a lazy week during which I did absolutely no exercise whatsoever. Banting is really working for me! I am now 13,6kg down, and in just 10 weeks! That is an average of 1,36kg per week.

The downside – which is also an upside! – is that most of my clothes are starting to look really baggy on me. I don’t want to buy a whole new wardrobe – yet – because hopefully I will lose a lot more weight, and I simply can’t afford to buy new clothes every month or two. Anybody want to donate some? ?

Motivation from a fellow Banting blogger

This week, I am writing about how to Bant on a budget. Banting can be rather costly if you don’t plan well. But before I get to that, I want to tell you about a new Banting cookery book, Jump On The Bant Wagon.

elmari bant budget

After receiving a press release this week about the book, I decided to have a chat with the author. His name is Nick Charlie Key. He also has a website and a blog called The Bant Wagon.

Nick’s blog stemmed from desperation: he was overweight and had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Thanks to his blog, Human & Rousseau approached him and asked him to compile a cookery book. The book contains some easy, healthy and budget-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as decadent puddings without the sugar rush.

Nick and I met up at a little coffee shop in Claremont, Cape Town, and his story really inspired me. It turned out we had a lot of things in common.

Just another fad diet?

I asked Nick why he started Banting.

‘At the time when Banting became popular, I thought it was just another fad diet,’ says Nick. ‘For six to seven months I hadn’t given it much thought. But throughout my life I continuously gained weight. I thought I was eating healthily and I was playing a lot of sport, but I just couldn’t lose weight.

‘After a colleague told me his story, which was very similar to my own, I decided to visit my doctor and she had some blood tests done. It turned out I had metabolic syndrome, just like my colleague. My insulin levels were sky-high – almost double what they should have been. I wanted to live a healthy life and try not to have a heart attack before I was 40, so I needed to make a change. That was three years ago.’

Nick says his motivation wasn’t really weight loss, although that was a fantastic side effect. ‘I needed to get my insulin levels down to stop me from getting diabetes. Even though I thought I was eating healthy pastas, I didn’t realise that my body can’t handle that stuff.’

Secondary ailments

He says he was also suffering from a lot of secondary ailments like chronic heartburn and acid reflux, just like I did. ‘I would be awake all night with this burning feeling.’ (Don’t I know that feeling!)

Nick also had irritable bowel syndrome. ‘It affects a big part of your life, because you always have to make sure you are near a bathroom.’

Within three weeks of starting Banting, both these problems disappeared, says Nick. ‘Even if just for the sake of changing these two things, it was worth it.’

He also saw a change in his weight. ‘Within the first four of five months I lost 20kg, and after that another 10kg. It has plateaued a bit over the last year or so.’

Related: 6 Natural Remedies for IBS

The switch

I asked Nick if it was difficult to switch to Banting. ‘Surprisingly, no,’ says Nick. ‘I thought it would be, because when I had tried to make dietary changes before, I could never stick to them. But I suppose the big shock [being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome] made me realise this was just something that had to happen.’

Nick was lucky: he never got the low-carb flu, like many people get when they start Banting – headaches, dizziness, nausea. ‘I think it’s because I’ve never really had a sweet tooth. I always liked burgers and pizzas. Cauliflower pizza is now my most favourite thing in the world. And one of the best things is that I can eat bacon guilt-free!’

He does, however, have one constant craving: slaptjips. ‘That is the one thing I can’t get out of my mind. Almost everything else you can replace, but nothing tastes like slaptjips.’

Nicks says he is putting a lot more effort into food. ‘There are no quick fixes. It is best to go home and make your own food.’

His wife, Rosina, has been very supportive all the way. ‘She is half Italian, half Portuguese, and we used to eat a lot of pasta. Even though she craves her pastas, we are now eating the same food, because it isn’t practical to prepare separate meals. I couldn’t have done it without her.’

How to keep the Banting lifestyle affordable

‘A lot of it comes down to proper planning,’ says Nick. He sits down on a Sunday night and plans ahead for the week. He then buys the necessary ingredients to prepare meals that will last for a couple of days.

‘It also helps a lot to buy in bulk. We have a group that shops in bulk at vegetable markets. We have like 20 people and buy for everybody. You will end up getting vegetables for half the price you would pay for them at the shops.’

Something else that helps to keep the costs down is having a vegetable and herb garden. ‘There’s no better feeling than growing your own food,’ says Nick. In their garden Nick and Rosina have tomatoes, rosemary, basil and mint. He loves making his own pesto, and substitutes the traditional pine nuts with other, more affordable nuts, like almonds.

Nick also likes nuts and berries, mostly strawberries, ‘and blueberries, if I can afford them!’ His sister has a contact at a farm where they buy kilogram packs of mixed berries, which he then freezes and uses to make smoothies with double-cream yoghurt.

Related: Banting Nuts and Seeds: the Good and the Bad

What are his staple foods?

‘I like a lot of meat. We always have chicken pieces, pork chops and sausages, as well as stewing beef for stews and curries. Lamb is too expensive to eat regularly.’ He says it is about finding the best cut you can afford and then cooking it in a pressure cooker or a slow cooker for the best taste.

Nick also likes biltong as a snack, and to keep it affordable, he makes his own. ‘I bought a biltong maker and I buy meat like silverside and topside, which I ask the butcher to cut into biltong strips.’

Nick and Rosina eat a lot of salads, ‘but not overly fancy’: lettuce, tomatoes, spring onions, chives, red onions and avocados. (He has a colleague with a connection who gets avocados at a very good price and then sells them at work for about R3 to R4 each.) They also eat vegetables like cauliflower, eggplants, baby marrows and mushrooms.

Other staples are eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, tuna, xylitol and ‘lots of spices’.

Related: 5 Banting Cauliflower Recipes

A word of advice

Nick’s advice to people who want to start Banting is to just give it a shot. ‘See what works for you, but don’t do it half-heartedly. Just learn about the basics and stick to them. Eat better food that looks like what it is; a vegetable that looks like a vegetable, not a vienna that is full of other things. You don’t have to be hardcore, and you don’t have to stay in ketosis. Just remember: carbs and fat together is the worst combination and will definitely make you gain weight.’

Diet start date:

1 January 2017

Weight loss this week:


Weight loss so far:



Elmari’s weekly Banting diary: Week 9

Elmari’s weekly Banting diary: Week 8

Elmari’s weekly Banting diary: Week 7

Elmari’s weekly Banting diary: Week 6

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Week 9: Elmari’s weekly Banting Diet Diary

Follow Good Housekeeping’s senior Afrikaans editor, Elmari Potgieter, as she shares her Banting weight-loss diary: the highs, the lows and...