Low carb challenge

It is hard giving up carbohydrates says Chef Dion Vengetass of the Mount Nelson Hotel based in Cape Town. But to be successful you’ve got to do it in small bursts and make meals interesting.

If you want to cut out carbs I recommend starting small – don’t just go cold turkey. Instead of giving up on succulent pastas and crisp fresh breads cut down on them, till you eventually don’t crave them any more.

Ask yourself “When do I eat carbohydrates?” Remember that carbohydrates turn into fat, which the body turns into energy and if that energy is not used then it just turns back into fat.

If you are not going to be very active after you eat carbohydrates, don’t eat carbs at that time. The best times would be early in your day, when you are still very active. Try not to eat carbs after 7pm, as this is when most people get home and just relax. Remember, that we all live different life styles, so work out your own carbohydrate schedule and strictly stick to it.

Alternatively, just cut carbs out completely. My dinner for the last month has just consisted of protein and salad. All I do is change the protein every day, for example I alternate between grilled fish, beef, lamb or chicken.

I just use various cuts and types of protein in these ranges. It’s easier and cheaper for me. I just smack a piece of meat on the grill simply seasoned and while my meat is grilling I make up a salad with whatever I have in the fridge on that day, even if it’s just a simple tomato, onion and rocket salad with fresh lemon. I often throw in some vegetable chips, if I feel for the French fry effect but without the guilt of having carbohydrates. It’s easy to do – just cut the vegetables into sticks.

For the low sugar diet, just simply stick to natural sugars, like seasonal fresh fruit. Dried fruits are just as good and you can dry them out on your own in the oven over night. Just cut them into thin slices and dry them at 90°c. Keep a bowl of mixed nuts and seeds in your living room and whenever you feel a bit peckish, just eat that.

If you are looking for some inspiration for a low carb meal, check out my recipe for sun-dried tomato and goats cheese on corn bread:
Sun-dried tomato and goats cheese corn bread (gluten free)


2ea Eggs
65gr Corn oil
250gr Buttermilk
375gr Crumbled goads cheese
400gr Canned sweetcorn, creamy style
125gr Chopped sun-dried tomatoes
100gr Diced red onion
100gr Cornmeal
2tsp Baking powder
Half tsp salt
Half tsp baking soda
125gr Ground almonds


1. Preheat oven to 175°c
2. Grease an eight inch square baking dish or a cast iron skillet.
3. In a small bowl, beat eggs.
4. Mix in corn oil and buttermilk.
5. Stir in 250gr crumbled goats cheese, creamed corn, onion, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes .
6. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, ground almonds, baking powder, soda, and salt.
7. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour batter into prepared pan.
8. Sprinkle remaining 125gr crumbled goats cheese on top.
9. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until centre is set and top is golden brown,
10. Allow to cool down for 10mins. Although it is best eaten straight out of the oven, just simply pull pieces off and enjoy.