That little red book of South African dieters, based on the precepts of the Banting diet, has changed our lives. Why? The popularity of the eating lifestyle is not so much because people understood what ketosis* meant. No. They did not. Banting became popular because for once, fatty and tasty fare formed part of the eating plan.

For many people looking to lose weight, the biggest challenge is not the discipline to stay the course (though that does play a major part). The problem lies in the simple fact that healthy food is a fail when it comes to the palate. Any food that is labelled gluten-free tastes like soggy cardboard meshed with glue and regret. Low-carb meals are what you order with sides of dashed hopes and broken dreams.

But if you are committed to the cause, there are ways to ensure you eat healthy as well as delicious cuisine.

The day Dr Tim Noakes came out in favour of meat eaters, South Africa at large let out a collective squeal. “I can lose weight while eating bacon? Sold!" But now, what to do about carbs and sugars?

Swop your carbs

Potatoes and pasta may be a staple in your household. But you can cheat your way around this and find alternatives that are just as tasty, if not - dare I say it - even tastier. Sweet potatoes are inexpensive, can be found in abundance all over the country and are yummy to boot. Roasted, mashed, or used as a topping for cottage pie… get creative and use them exactly as you would the trusty spud. You won’t be disappointed.

Noboy could ever in good conscience recommend you try zoodles (this horror is noodles made from zucchini). However, we can urge you to try butternut squash noodles as an alternative to pasta. Made the same way as zoodles, butter-squash noodles add that vital colour to your seven-colours Sunday lunch, are quick to prepare and can be used the same way as you would regular spaghetti or macaroni, just with fewer calories.

Getting to grips with gluten

Most people had no idea what a role gluten played in any baked goods until the highly documented gluten resistance of the last couple of years. Gluten is the ingredient that provides elasticity to dough and helps our beloved bakeing rise and keep its shape… and taste! Having said that, there are flour alternatives that give gluten-based flours a run for their money.

Coconut flour and almond flour are available on supermarket shelves now and though quite pricey, they make a great substitute when baking. Note that they have different properties to normal flour so if baking make sure to read the instructions carefully. 

Sweeten up your life

We can all agree that artificial sweeteners have yet to lose the “artificial” part of their name when it comes to taste. Raw honey is not only yummier but also better for you. Found in any reputable health shop, raw honey is unpasteurised and unprocessed, meaning all the natural goodness is still packed in there, wrapped up in a gooey, albeit cloudy taste. Trade this in for your sugar and you will “bee” one step closer to your healthy lifestyle.

Ketosis: a metabolic state characterised by raised levels of ketone bodies in the body tissues, which is typically the consequence of a diet that is very low in carbohydrates.