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Tim Noakes Joins Paige Nick for the Launch of Her Satirical Novel Death By Carbs at The Book Lounge

Tim Noakes and Paige Nick

The line in the sand – or rather across the centre of the table – had been drawn! Downstairs at The Book Lounge, earlier this month, the edibles were neatly laid out. On one side of the red tape were the Banting-friendly nuts. (One wit suggested off camera that the Banting-friendly nuts were all upstairs filling up the seats with their newly slimmed down derrières …) On the other side the sweet potato pastries and brownies. As always, the Leopards Leap wine flowed generously, but for those who care, no carb-free wine was available …

The event was the launch of the latest book from the pen of the multi-talented author Paige Nick. Death By Carbs is a satirical novel inspired by Tim Noakes’ controversial cookbook The Real Meal Revolution. In the words of Mervyn Sloman, who welcomed an eager crowd to the Book Lounge, “the cover bears a remarkable resemblance …”
Paige NickDeath By CarbsHe described Death By Carbs as: “Marvellous, scary, sick, slightly twisted, terribly funny and extremely smart!”

Nick got the idea for the book after hearing about The Real Meal Revolution everywhere she went. “In the queue at the chemist, at dinner parties … wherever I went somebody was obsessing about this book.” When Nick mentioned Tim Noakes’ name to a friend of hers she sighed in exasperation, saying, “I could just kill him!” Nick replied, “Pick a number and stand in line …” The idea was born of writing a crime spoof, and her creative process kicked into action.

Once the book was completed, Nick “stalked” Noakes, begging for his private email address from friends and acquaintances. She sent him messages on five or six different platforms, and then spammed him. She finally got him on the phone and said, “I’ve written a book about you and I want this book to go out into the world with good karma. I really want your blessing.”

“Did you really say karma!?” Sloman interrupted. “I did!” said Nick. Noakes picked up the story, saying, “I told her I would never stand in your way. Go … publish your book.” Nick advised Noakes he might want to read it first, “Seeing as you die on the first page …”

At that stage the manuscript’s working title was Who Killed Tim Noakes?. “It came at rather a difficult time in my life,” said the professor, who read it regardless. “I thought she’s put so much effort into it and it’s such a good book that I’m not going to stand in her way. But at the time I was feeling fragile. I’m less fragile now. I’m very happy to support this book because it introduces Banting to even more people.”Tim Noakes, Paige Nick and Mervyn Sloman

While doing her research for this book, Nick discovered a rich vein of gold on Facebook, where some Banting support groups have as many as 140 000 members, some of which are “moer of an active”. She described them as being eternally online. “I do not know when they eat! I do not know when they sleep!”

Much of the interactions are positive, folk sharing recipes and encouraging each others’ weight loss, but much is mean-spirited fighting which is like an addictive soap opera. Nick described the hilarious comment thread where a member of the group confessed to falling off the wagon by having had a Whopper Burger. She proceeded to describe the misery of her bowels and was harangued mercilessly – not for oversharing but for forgetting that she was part of the “Banting for Life” group. She was warned by one of the more self-righteous compadres that this was not a Banting-for-when-you-feel-like-it group!

On a more serious note, Noakes spoke about the vested interests of commercial enterprises that keep people eating in an unhealthy manner and consuming medications to remedy this. He recalled a visit to clinic at Delft where many people have been treated for high blood pressure for many years. They have not, however, received any kind of nutritional counselling that would facilitate their recovery. Noakes is adamant about one thing: “I just want people to know the truth,” he said. “There has been a massive cover up.”

Those who attended the event engaged in a vigorous question and answer session with Nick and Noakes. They queued patiently afterwards, despite the heat, waiting for the celebrity duo to sign their copies of Death By Carbs and The Real Meal Revolution.


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Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) live tweeted the event using #livebooks:



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