Eating the Banting way is the weight to go

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Durban – Choosing to live a healthier lifestyle through Banting, a hugely popular eating trend in South Africa, 60-year-old Omi Nair has lost a whopping 27kg in 17 months.

Now an active Chatsworth community activist taking to the streets to fight for her people, one would never say Nair was once unable to walk down a flight of stairs and suffered from several chronic conditions.

“I suffered from everything you can imagine. I had asthma, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers and osteoarthritis in the knees. I couldn’t stand for long periods of time, was in constant pain and taking six lots of medication.”

Nair became frustrated with herself, and when doctors told her she would need to undergo an operation for her knees, she knew something needed to change.

She was then introduced to Banting, which changed her life.

“Banting is basically a low-carb, high (healthy) fat lifestyle, not a diet but a lifestyle change. In order to successfully embrace this lifestyle, I had to have a positive mindset – attitude and commitment is required.”

She said her husband was also a chronic diabetic and she told him if she was going to change the way she ate, he would have to do so as well.

“I sat down with the ‘green’ list and wrote down everything I needed to get. We went cold turkey immediately. I eliminated all carbs from our diet.

“At first it was a bit tough because we were so used to cooking ghadra beans, dhall and rotis, but three and a half weeks in, it was like putting a hot knife through butter. It was effortless.”

Nair said that by day 10 she noticed the difference. “I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. Oh my God, I was walking down the stairs.”

She said she was also rid of her pain and, without pain, medication was useless to her.

“I was saving almost a R1000 a month. I was over the moon.”

She said her husband no longer had a problem with his sugar levels and was more active.

Nair soon started a Facebook page, “Omi’s healthy eating the LCHF way”, sharing Banting recipes, advice and support. She has since garnered more than 20000 followers.

Her advice to beginners?

“Start with small changes. Change your sunflower oil to coconut oil, change from margarine to butter. It is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. When shopping, prioritise your dairy, meat and vegetable aisle first.

“When dining out, ask for flavoured water instead of cooldrink. Have fish grilled in butter and cut out all the carbs.

“Knowledge is power, but without sharing this knowledge it is powerless. Help your friends, family and colleagues take control of their lives. Change your life today!”

Another resident who chose to live a healthier life was Isipingo local Anthony Naidoo, who relocated to China for work.

Losing an impressive 33kg in 24 months, he said moving to another country was literally a life-changing experience.

At his heaviest, he weighed 125kg – a point when he became concerned about his health. He said curry had become a staple meal every day.

When he moved to China for mission work, he made a conscious decision to change his unhealthy eating habits.

“Firstly, I cut out on eating rice and bread. I only eat them occasionally. Secondly, I began to exercise more. I love to walk and play sport. Thirdly, I drank more water.

“In China, obese people are a rarity and therefore it encouraged me to lose weight. I think our culture of obesity encourages people to stay overweight.”

He said his wife cooked healthy food and drinking green tea had health benefits.

“I stay away from eating curry every day. This has helped me a lot.”

He said that when people are thinking of changing to a healthier lifestyle, mindset and attitude were important.

“We have to be disgusted with our ill health. We must be shocked at the health risks we will face if we don’t change our lifestyle.

“I think seeing a nutritionist is good because they can give us advice about the best eating lifestyle. Good eating habits are far better than diets.

“We need to eat more healthily, especially for Indians. Exercise is very important. Simply walking 30 minutes every day has many health benefits.”


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