Within the last few decades, several obesity-reducing low carbohydrate diets have come to the public's attention. What few realize is that these are all the grandchildren in thought to William Banting, an undertaker who, in 1864, wrote one short book that launched the first incredibly popular diet for obesity. Banting was immortalized by having his name enter the English language as a verb. Three examples include an Irishman, Captain Boycott, whose name entered the language in the 1860s. Another was Louis Pasteur, and the third was William Banting, a man who came to have a great impact on many peoples' lives and waistlines....
To this day, to bant (as a verb), or to engage in "banting" is built into the language in many countries, including the UK, South Africa, and Sweden. It can be hard to see where one is going without a sense of context of history, and this applies to dietary advice as it does with all matters.
Listen to the original pamphlet that started it all, and hear Banting's takes on corpulence and obesity, some early history of fat shaming, why he was in favor of before and after pictures, and his altercations with the medical authorities of the 1860s.
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A glimpse into another time
This is not just a diet book, it is a historical gem. It was not that long ago that legitimate doctors treated intestinal problems by "washing out my ears, and scorching them". Banting changed his life by changing his diet, something highly frowned upon then - and he was a brave man to want to share his discovery with the world, and to make the effort to do so.
For me, possibly the best part of this audio book was Mr. Crafter's performance. I have a copy of the tract, and have read it many times, but Mr. Crafters elegant diction and pleasant voice brought a depth to it I had not found before. It is especially noticeable when Banting describes things that would be common in his era, but aren't generally known now: I would normally skim over descriptions of things like "Rusk" , but this reading made me curious enough to look it up. I only wish Banting had mentioned what was in his "morning elixir"!
Well done, Mr. Crafter.
All in all, this is a moment in time, captured beautifully and fully. Things like this are too often lost... I'm glad this one wasn't.