A far cry from the classics or other well-written, professional reading from which I usually choose, “Skinny B!tch” is a diet book adorned with profanity, fuzzy “scientific facts” and outrageous opinions that despite having some truth, still create a crass and arrogant tone. I read it cover to cover because I was determined to get out any golden nuggets about healthy eating habits. My good friend talked about it all the way home from our yoga retreat months ago. It had been a great weekend with the best vegetarian meals I had ever tasted. She had gone vegan after reading this book, and my curiosity got the best of me . To her credit, I admit that the book leaves a shocking effect on the reader. I instantly gave up eating many meats and eggs for an extended period!
Freedman and Barnouin’s book is not based on scientific facts or extensive research, yet they draw sensible arguments about the food our society consumes, its benefits or lack thereof, its nutritional value index, and its source. For the nutritionally challenged individual, this book can be as eye opening as the next diet book. Yes, sodas are awful for you. Yes, junk food is only damaging to your organs. Yes, any packaged food marked with corn syrup is not a good idea for consumption. Yes, all fast food wreaks havoc to your body. Yes, raw fruits and vegetables do wonders for our bodies and yes, coffee is not the best drink. Come on, is there anyone of us who does not know this already?
Reading is the best pastime for an active mind! If you like to see the other book reviews, check the index of In Print.
It comes down to a difficult truth: We need to live with the fact that we know about good nutrition and yet putting the perfect diet into wheels of motion every day is seemingly overwhelming. It is not for lack of trying that we fail; it is the insurmountable preparation and planning for consistent healthy eating that causes most of us to stray away from the right path. It is the exhausting flow against the mainstream as we examine our options in the fast-paced world we live in. And if we were to change one thing, it should be our commitment to consistent habits, even if taken in seriously small steps.
At the time I read this book, I was consumed with curiosity to go vegetarian. The taste of vegetarian menu from the yoga retreat weekend left me feeling curious and light, not to mention completely satisfied. It’s funny how reading this book made it so easy to give up certain habits. I suppose imagery works very effectively with me . The only method of coercion used in the book is the direct insult and disgust approach taken by the authors- insult the eater with their choices and disgust them with the source. Whether the history behind each food and drink category analyzed b the authors is true or false is up for debate. I think much of it can be debated to be false – either the reasons sited are false or they are not the main culprit of that particular food or drink. However, I respect the criticism against much of what they take issue with, and the book does offer a far healthier diet to its readers than the standard American diet.
The one recurring theme in the big, the most annoying one, is the author’s advocate against the meat industry and the government regulatory policies. While the FDA processes could be far from optimal, the messaging in the book is ineffective and does not follow logic. The authors preach a vegan diet to their readers, which is fine. Then they encourage banning all processed foods from our diet, which again I could not agree with more. Next, they preach the benefits of vegan products, which are naturally processed to some extent and make me wonder if theirs is not a hidden agenda beyond the notion of promoting a natural healthy diet.
After this book, I went on a trial vegetarian diet with the exception of fish and some diaries . I instantly gave up coffee for tea. Perhaps in the future, I may change, perhaps I may find these are the habits that work best for my body. My only measuring stick is how I feel, and the knowledge that I am getting nearly all my nutrients. Mostly, I stay in tune with my body’s rhythms and messages and I strongly urge you to do the same and under no circumstances, stop listening to your body. This is different from giving in to bad habits and temptations to eat poorly. It is the difference between knowing what your body needs and what your mind tricks you int thinking that it needs. A lot of common sense and a bit of common knowledge will take you very far in making sound choices for your nutrition.