Are you sure it is Banting-friendly?
I have been blown away at how South African restaurants have embraced Banting. I truly believe that most of them are trying their best to accommodate their customers who are requesting healthy, low carb options when eating out. There is even a new restaurant in Green Point called The Banting Kitchen which boasts a full-on Banting menu (including desserts). The fact that restaurants are making such an effort is an incredibly positive step in the right direction. Unfortunately, not all of them are getting it right. I put it down to a lack of education and prefer to believe they are not intentionally trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
I recently had an interesting experience at a local eatery. My hubby and I went there for breakfast to celebrate my birthday and I got very excited when I saw some low carb options on the menu. They even had coconut bread. Awesome! I could actually have a piece of toast with my eggs.
When the manager came round during our meal to ask how everything was, I took the opportunity to congratulate him for moving with the times and including some Banting options on the menu. I started asking questions and probing a little further. “What flours have you used in the coconut bread?”, I asked. “Oh, some coconut flour and a tiny amount of normal flour”. “Excuse me, please say that again”, I said. It was rather loud in there so I wasn’t sure if I had heard him correctly. Well unfortunately, I had heard him correctly. “Oh”, I said. I toyed with the idea of not bursting his bubble, but I just couldn’t let it go. I explained to him that Banters don’t consume grains of any kind and that it is misleading to call something “coconut bread” when it still contains wheat flour and gluten.
He then very kindly offered for me to try one of his muffins, which he was sure I would just love. “They contain no wheat or sugar”, he said proudly. Wow that sounded amazing! I excitedly got stuck into the muffin, only to find it was packed with dates and banana. At this point I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that dates and banana IS sugar, so I left it and thanked him for the muffin – I really didn’t want to seem ungrateful.
Upon reflection, I realised how much work still needs to be done with regards to educating restauranteurs about Banting and the basic principles involved. I therefore encourage all Banting customers to ask questions and probe further. This way we can be assured of what we are actually getting.
To all restaurant owners out there, please know that Banters do not want to eat:
- Grains of any kind – so only use nut flours and coconut flours for bread and baked goods
- Food cooked in toxic seed oils – so please stick with butter, lard and coconut oil
- Sugar in any form or artificial sweeteners – only use xylitol, erythritol or stevia
- Low-fat anything – bring on the Greek yoghurt and cream please
- GMO foods – which means no corn or soya
- Meat that has been given routine antibiotics and fattened on grains – we would really appreciate ethically reared, grass- fed meat.
- High sugar fruits such as bananas – but we really love our berries
- Rice or noodles with our Thai or Indian dishes – so please offer us some stir-fried cabbage at no extra cost.
- Chips, rice or baked potato with our steaks – therefore have a salad or low carb veggie option available
I believe the restaurants who will be truly successful, will be those that get this right. Customers must be able to trust the food you are putting out in the name of “Banting”. You wouldn’t sneak some beef into a vegan’s vegetable lasagna would you? (even though I personally think they would benefit enormously from it) – oops did I say that out loud?
The low carb/high fat way of eating is not just another passing fad. We will see it growing from strength to strength as more and more people’s health and lives are transformed by this liberating and delicious way of eating. Restaurants not willing to change and adapt will stand empty. That is what I see in my crystal ball. I might be wrong – but somehow I don’t think so.