Banting author writes ‘real food’ creed

Nutritionist Sally-Ann Creed demonstrates how to calculate the hidden sugar in meals during the launch of her book, the Low Carb Creed.

Sally-Ann Creed, the co-author of the wildly popular and equally controversial, Real Meal Revolution, banged a muffin against the table in front of her. Where there should have been a heap of crumbs, there was instead the same perfectly good-looking, pleasant-smelling, rock-hard muffin.

“It smells like a muffin, walks like a muffin, talks like a muffin,” Ms Creed said but it was in fact, three years past its expiry date – with not a spore of mould to show for it.

“The very thing that is keeping that looking great is going to kill you,” she said. “Real food is what you want to be eating. Real food doesn’t do this to you, real food nourishes you.”

The preservative-dense muffin was one of the props Ms Creed used during her talk on nutrition at the launch of her new book, the Low Carb Creed. She described processed food as “dead food”. The “creed” promoted in the book, is: cook your own “real” food from scratch because you don’t know what’s in commercially processed food.

“You want your food to be as close to what it is in nature,” she said.

Ms Creed, who lives in Constantia, said the book “builds on and compliments” the Real Meal Revolution, which is affectionately known as the Red Book by its followers. The Red Book sparked controversy in medical and nutrition circles by promoting a low carb, high fat (LCHF) – or Banting diet, named after William Banting, a morbidly obese undertaker who in the 1700s credited his massive weight loss to the unusual eating ethos.

Ms Creed says as a nutritionist, there was lot she felt should have been included in the Red Book, and she has since included it in the Low Carb Creed, which also looks more closely at diet in relation to women’s health. The book differs from its predecessor by promoting “healthy”, as opposed to “high” fat and moderate protein consumption. It sticks to the Banting mantra with sugar and grains though – there is no room for either in the controversial diet.

“I haven’t touched grain for 23 years,” Ms Creed said.

However, Ms Creed said, there is no one size fits all diet and factors such as age, gender and chronic or acute illness must be taken into account.

“It’s different for everybody. Low carb won’t work for everybody, I realise that, but the main thing is, what you want to do is eat ‘real’ food.”

The book includes recipes which Ms Creed said are affordable. One of the many criticisms of the Banting diet is that it is expensive.

“I have really made sure that the recipes are affordable and made with normal ingredients that are found in your kitchen,” she said.

Ms Creed’s “passion” for nutrition began 23 years ago.

“I was dying in my thirties,” she said.

She suffered from severe chronic asthma and sinusitis, among other ailments. A “nutrition-orientated” doctor helped her to get her health back on track. This inspired her to study nutrition, and she completed a post graduate diploma in clinical nutrition. She has since written 10 books, including the semi-biographical Let Food Be Your Medicine and has her own food line with more than 100 products.

“‘Real’ food is my passion.”

When browsing through the Low Carb Creed, I was curious to see if the author’s bold claims about affordability would hold water. The recipe-heavy Real Meal Revolution – with about three quarters of the book comprising recipes – was in my opinion, not affordable for low-income families. One of the main reasons grain is a dietary staple the world over is because it is cheap.

Ms Creed’s recipes make up a little less than half of the book and live up to her cost-effective promises. The book also advises on the use of foods that are already widely eaten in poorer communities. Foods frowned upon, such as trotters, organs and brawn, are incorporated into the LCHF menu in a user-friendly way – if you can palate them.

One of the downsides to the recipes, and indeed the Banting lifestyle in general is the large amount of time that is needed for preparation and planning. Wouldn’t our time-starved modern lifestyles make such a diet impossible?

“I disagree,” Ms Creed said. “I haven’t lived like that for 23 years. There’s no excuse. You are worth it. Your children are worth it.”