Low Carb Breakfast Wrap to start off Diabetes Month

If you have been diagnosed with Diabetes or you are pre-diabetic and you need to make radical changes in your current diet – this low carb breakfast wrap is a filling, veggie-loaded option that promises to hit the spot without spiking your glucose levels.

Low Carb Breakfast Wrap (Serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs, free-range
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh rocket leaves/watercress
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 medium carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 red pepper,  julienned
  • 1/4 small zucchini, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons spring onion, chopped

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, combine eggs, almond milk and spices. Beat until well combined.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a small to medium non-stick pan over medium heat for a 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Evenly pour in the egg mixture. Cook covered over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until you can easily flip the omelette using a spatula. Flip halfway and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes on the other side.
  4. When ready, remove from heat and let cool completely, about 10 minutes.
  5.  Arrange rocket/watercress leaves on the cooled omelette. Sprinkle the feta cheese on top, then arrange the carrots, red pepper, and zucchini along the middle and sides.
  6.  Roll the omelette,  and then cut in half. Season with salt and pepper.

Filling variations:

  • Smoked salmon/trout
  • Curried butter beans
  • Hummus and avocado

 

World Egg Day calls for celebratory Shakshuka

Yes it’s Friday the 13th but this recipe is foolproof! No broken egg yolks here (we hope!). It makes me so happy that we have a whole day dedicated to the humble egg – so versatile, affordable and nutritious. Eggs often get a bad rep for being too high in fat or cholesterol and yes, the egg yolk does contain cholesterol but recent research shows that having 1-2 eggs/day is healthy and in fact, we should be aiming to get in atleast 1 egg/day. Treat yourself to this vibrant and fresh Shakshuka that shows off the egg in all it’s glory!

Foolproof Shakshuka (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add the onions, green peppers, garlic, spices, pinch salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, and honey. Simmer until the tomato mixture begins to reduce, about 10-12 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, make 6 “wells,” in the tomato mixture (make sure the indentations are spaced out). Gently crack an egg into each well.
  4. Reduce the heat, cover the skillet, and cook on low until the egg whites are set.
  5. Uncover and add the fresh parsley and mint. You can add more black pepper or crushed red pepper, if you like.

The dirty deets on the glorious egg – here we are:

Nutritional composition per egg (roughly 50g):

  • Energy (kJ): 308
  • Protein (g): 6.29
  • Carbohydrates (g): 0.39
  • Fat (g): 4.97
  • of which Saturated fat (g): 1.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 212
  • Sodium (mg): 70

Kicking the sugar habit

Are you addicted to sugar? Has your sweet tooth taken over your life?

Here are some easy, quick things you can do to avoid this white powder of choice…

  1. Never allow yourself to get too hungry (hangry): When you starve yourself for too long, your blood sugar level dips leaving you scratching for refined sugary snacks to boost your sugar level back up. The trick is to eat small meals or snacks consistently to maintain a stable blood glucose.
  2. Drink sweet herbal teas: Fruit teas and rooibos blends are the best because they trick your mind to think that your addiction has been put to rest, but you are actually only giving your body the tannins that it thrives on.
  3. Eat enough protein: If you aren’t eating enough protein you start to crave! Everything, especially sugars. Rather snack on a boiled egg or cottage cheese and carrot sticks to supply your body with what it actually needs.
  4. Burn incense like vanilla and rose: This sweet smell works like the tea, tricking the brain to think that sweet tooth has been satisfied.
  5. Have sweet alternative snacks likes smoothies and date balls: see my recipes for these sugar free, guilt free recipes.

Give these 5 tricks a try and see how the addiction melts away.

Good Luck!

The Banting Round Up- My opinion

My opinion My opinion
For me personally, I have really enjoyed my version. I love the meals I eat and the nuts I snack on. My energy is fine, weight stable, wallet balanced and cholesterol down. Because my cholesterol is low I can fall off the wagon once in a while and endulge in a bit of starch, unlike if I was doing full banting. So this makes it easier socially.

For the general public-YES to cutting out sugar, refined starch, processed and convenience foods. Wonderful work Tim! I also agree that gluten and wheat could cause issues to some people. So another bonus.

UNSURE on how easy it is to adhere to considering social circumstances and temptation.
WORRIED about the high amount of protein associated with higher fat options. What are the effects on the organs? Cancer effects if not free range or organic? Also, cutting down on fibre and certain micronutrients like B vitamins and calcium in fruits, vegetables, dairy and grains, not great at all. VERY WORRRIED that people are “doing certain parts of the diet” and cheating with carbs. Double whamming it on this front is going to cause havoc to heart health.

Overall
If done correctly this diet can work however you should definitely speak to a dietitian to guide you.
I would suggest my version (or something along those lines) to my clients which reflects similar principles to a low carb Mediterranean diet. I think this may be a better option especially in the long term.

Happy eating 🙂

 

The Banting Round Up 2

General health
Great- no problems. I have been a bit tired lately but that is probably from overworking and under sleeping. My great news is that I have been less bloated and my cholesterol dropped amazingly! Yay! But this is definitely based on the unsaturated fats. Most people doing real banting have the opposite effect and see a sharp increase. As I mentioned before, cholesterol isn’t the main heart disease culprit. However it is an associated risk factor if your blood sugar is slightly raised. So this is really important to remember if you do Bant- you cannot cheat otherwise you will be sitting with a double whammy of high cholesterol and blood sugar- BAM, heart attack here you come.

Expense
I didn’t notice such an increase compared to most people doing real Banting, as I didn’t buy loads of red meat and saturated fats like butter and cream. My groceries we similar to before- huge amounts of veg, yoghurt, tuna, salmon, sardines, eggs, Avos, nuts and seeds. So where I saved on starch I spent on extra fats.

Socially
I really battled. Generally you can always opt for a salad when eating out, but it’s awkward to always be the “fussy” one. And it’s damn tempting when everyone else is eating pasta and pizza. It’s do-able especially with many of the restaurants becoming banting-friendly, but it’s is a dampener.

More coming tomorrow….the final opinion!

 

The Banting Round Up 1

As you all know I have been giving the Royal Banting a whirl, as a sneaky Banting (aka Tim Noakes diet) taster. Two months in and this is what I have to say…..

My aim- to give my clients a subjective opinion on this type of diet.
My version- the Royal Banting- low carb (100g max), medium protein and high unsaturated fat. This works along similar principles to the Tim Noakes Diet however I just couldn’t face the saturated fats….yes yes I know, eating the saturated fats and increasing cholesterol is not the sole indicator of heart disease but I err on the side of caution and decided to give this a go on unsaturated fats.

I know that my opinion is based on my own version, but hopefully this will give you an idea about certain aspects. The fact that my diet is low carb and high fat, still gets me into ketogenisis which is the effect I was after in order to give my opinion…..

Dietitians opinion

Energy
Initially I dipped in the afternoons and felt quite lethargic and moody. However after the first 7-10 days I was over the carb-flu symptoms. Now my energy levels are great. I wouldn’t say any better than when I was eating a high carb diet though. Training-wise, I’ve been eating nuts during my training or races and have been surprisingly fine. One triathlon involved 8 degree water and an ice-cream headache from hell so on the cycle I inhaled a quarter of a GU, but this was more in desperation to get caffeine into my body to get over the headache.

Appetite
This was my main point of interest when I started the diet because after the half ironman I was so sick and tired of always being starving and having to eat constantly….gaining weight in the interim, despite exercising for 2-4 hours a day.
So a quick physiology background- When you are in ketosis, the ketones signal to your brain saying that you are satisfied, so your appetite is reduced. In actual fact you are in the same state you would be in if you were starved. Hmmmm, okay so the jury is out on this point regarding long term safety…
But awesome news- my appetite definitely deminished. So yes ketosis worked in that sense but what are the chronic effects?

Weight
Initially I was quite strict and followed a well controlled Royal Banting diet. However as time progressed I started reaching for more and more nuts…eeeeek. So in the beginning I dropped 2 % body fat and gained 2 kg of muscle (oh yeah, but wait..). As I write this I am back to normal pre-diet. DAMN THOSE NUTS!

I will be posting more on my experiment tomorrow, so keep posted 🙂

 

Banting 101- know the basics…

Banting (aka the Tim Noakes Diet)  comes with some health benefits…HOWEVER this is only true if you do it CORRECTLY. If you do it half-heartedly you will be increasing your cholesterol and blood sugar, and even gain weight- all of which will drastically put your health at risk.

So here is a list of the main points…
1. Banting is named after a man called William Banting in the 1860’s, who lost extreme amounts of weight by cutting out carbs and eating a high fat diet.
2. Tim Noakes has rediscovered this way of eating and noticed that it has helped him control his blood sugar and weight.
3. Banting is high fat, low carb and medium protein.
Cutting down on carb causes the brain to start breaking down fat as an alternative energy source. This is called ketosis.
4. Ketosis causes loss if appetite thereby reducing energy consumption…and ultimately weight loss.
5. High saturated fat is likely to increase your cholesterol. However if your blood sugar control is perfect and your carb intake is low then your risk for heart disease isn’t necessarily higher.
6. This diet is not for everyone- if you are insulin resistant and if it suits you to cut out carbs and to increase your fat intake then great, if not please don’t pick and choose the principles that suit you.

Banting Diaries Updated

The past month has been exceptionally exciting from a personal and professional point of view.
I have been my own subject in this trial. It all stated with Tim Noakes when he shook the nutrition world…”saturated fat and cholesterol are not the enemy and weight loss and health can be achieved by eating animal fats”.. The hype caught on like wildfire and every man and his grandmother were “Banting”. So in order to give my best professional opinion I took on the challenge like a stubborn Jack Russel.

Research on Banting and keeping up with Tim’s claims became my obsession. Eggs, the green list vegetables and tuna dominated my grocery list. Every conversation centered around my new diet and Tim’s work. Packets of almonds encroached their way into my handbag, desk drawers and lunch boxes. Training runs and races became fueled on Avos, eggs and nuts.

My Banting did deviate however from Tim’s- you see from a conservative point of view I was nervous to increase my cholesterol. Yes I know that cholesterol is not the only risk factor for heart disease and high blood glucose is the main culprit. But I am still unsure of the long term effects of a diet high in red meat and saturated fats. Also over the last year or so I have been leaning towards a pescatarian diet (only having fish and eggs) and could not be happier. And so the “Royal Banting” diet was developed….remember it…it’ll be famous soon 😉

20140514-075235.jpgRoyal Banting is based on vegetables, unsaturated fats, lean proteins (mainly eggs and fish) and a small amount of dairy. I restrict and try to totally avoid fruits (sadly), starch and sugar (obviously).

I am actually very proud of this diet…here are the benefits…
I have reduced my hunger from insatiable to comfortable. I am no longer clawing at the fridge after excerise or a long day. This is because I have reduced carbs to about 70g per day. And this, my good people, is what ketosis is all about. Read my earlier post for info on this.I have reduced my body fat by 2% and increased my muscle by 2kg.

I am waaaay less bloated and no longer worry about the pregnant questions- because I’m NOT! The greatest news- my cholesterol has reduced….for the first time in my life I had a cholesterol test that was not flagged. Woohooooo! My bad LDL cholesterol dropped by 0.7, my triglycerides halved and my good HDL cholesterol increased by 0.22 to a very healthy 2.4…guys I’m doing my happy dance as I type, this is so exciting to me.

 

  •  My HBA1c (long term blood glucose control) is perfect at 5.2.
  • A few cons are that I battle when social circumstances arise…
  • Eating out can be hard, but I have started exchanging starch options for extra veg or salad.
  • I avoid alcohol or have a dry white wine or red wine (not rose) or stick to clear spirits with soda water.
  • Sweets or confectionery are tough but I am experimenting with Banting-baking
  • Snacks can be tough….however I am working on something very exciting that will solve all of this…keep posted
  • Overall I am one happy “Royal Banter”.

Please send me your comments or questions…I want to hear it all, good and bad! Alexroyaldiet@gmail.com

 

Banting diaries

Eggs, almonds, salmon, avo, seeds, broccoli….. So many almonds 🙂
So how has the passed month of Royal-Banting been?

The pros:
I get to eat lots of almonds
I’m much less bloated
CHOLESTEROL- biggest bonus is my cholesterol has practically halved….now be careful here…this is associated with the ROYAL BANTING aspects which I will explain in my next post- very exciting!

The cons:
I slump my energy levels every so often but working on that with MCTs.
My weight is stable and not going down after the last measurement when I lost 2% body fat….but I’m quite sure I have over eaten the almonds :/
Socially, it is very difficult. Going out for dinner can be tricky, getting choccies from friends is too tempting and avoiding wine is a toughie, but definitely all possible.
Sport-wise: for Two Oceans I had a fatty meal the night before containing Salmon, lamb, chicken (plus the skin), almond and coconut pancakes and I was hundreds. For ..ITU I didn’t eat as much. Granted it was a harder and slightly longer race, I resorted to having half a gu and Jungle Oats bar. I find it hard to fuel during the race on nuts / Banting-friendly foods.
Cooking nice things like pancakes or crackers is a mission and quite expensive.

So in summary I have enjoyed certain aspects…and the great news is that myself with some friends are going to be making it a lot easier socially and for those sportsmen out there…WATCH THIS SPACE.

The Banting Dietitian

If you are a first time visitor here I will need to fill you in on what my other faithful readers already know-
I am a dietitian. I am as passionate about sport and exercise as I am about a healthy lifestyle, medicine and nutrition. I dabble in endurance sport, having done many half marathons, long cycle races and half ironman 70.3. I am always busy and very very active. I also have high familial cholesterol and I am pescatarian (eating fish and eggs).
The reason I am outlining all of this is because it forms a vital foundation to why and how I am going to embark on the Banting diet.

alex

The Banting Dietitan = ME

So why did I embark- I am trying out this diet in order to provide my clients with an honest opinion on how easy or hard it is to follow. I want to know all the benefits and disadvantages first hand. I also have my personal goals….read on…
The science is there- why would anyone deny this. There are studies available. But in terms of weight loss it all boils down to energy consumption and adherence. Let me explain…

The background- First tried by Banting in the 1860’s and resurrected by Tim Noakes currently, the basic science behind it is as follows: in order to reduce overall energy intake the body needs to transition into a ketotic state. This happens when the brain utilizes fat as a fuel source instead of glucose as you are cutting carb sufficiently. So normally the brain uses glucose. If you don’t consume this source it uses ketones. A result of this is an “anorexic” effect- where the appetite is satisfied, avoiding hunger pangs and cravings. Thereby reducing energy intake in a natural physiological way. Resulting in weight loss.

BANTING

BANTING

Scientific studies that are being brought to the table now also highlight that saturated fat and cholesterol are not the culprits of heart disease. Sugar, as we have always known, is the evil factor. You see sugar reacts with protein in the blood forming a crystal like substance that disrupts the intima lining of the blood vessels. This “roughened” and inflammed vessel catches cholesterol plaques which cause a clot and heart disease.

So my aim- as mentioned I do a bit of endurance sport. When I was training two to four hours a day I was thrilled with the idea of a potentially trim, lean, hot bod…however much to my disappointment this was not the end result. I was constantly starving and always ready to devour a PB sandwich and what ever else I could find in the kitchen…and all I wanted was carb, carb , CAAAAARB! My body fat did drop, thank goodness but not as predicted….

I have always respected prof Noakes and the “new” controversial science that he has uncovered from years ago and I have always kept up to date with his teachings. So the idea of a reduced appetite was an intriguing factor, one that I am aiming to achieve in my own personal trial.

So far- I am only day 5 in. I am happy eating my full cream yoghurt and nuts for breakfast, tuna salad for lunch, fish and vegetables for dinner and eggs as an alternative for some of the meals. I do get a bit nibbly sometimes and have nuts or salad with avo as a snack. Energy slumps are a bit of a problem, but it is manageable as I transition away from my “carb dependence”. I know Tim would say I need more energy dense (fatty) meats to avoid this, but I am pescatarian for ethical reasons, so I will do it this way until I cannot go on and then reassess.

It is an exciting time being a dietitian…..keep posted….