Monday, November 25, 2013
Review: Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin
Publisher: Running Press
Publication Date: December 6, 2005
Page Count: 224
Genre: Non-fiction, health & dieting
Goodreads & Amazon
It is rare that I pick up a book related to health or dieting and actually read the whole thing. 2014 is just within spitting distance, though, and to say I have let myself go health and body-wise is an understatement. Of course everyone plans on a transformation to go with the start of a new year, and I'm not unlike everyone else. To start research and journey into healthier eating and a better body, I decided to start with Skinny Bitch. A friend of mine in high school read it and decided to go from vegetarian to vegan. It didn't work out--she liked the occasional ice cream bar too much. However, a friend of a friend said that after reading this book, she went from vegetarian to vegan in a snap and has stuck with it ever since. Granted, the book doesn't indicate on the jacket or description that this is a roadmap to becoming a vegan, but that is essentially what it is.
"Don't talk to me until I've had my morning coffee." Uhm...pathetic! Coffee is for pussies. Think about how widely accepted it has become that people need coffee to wake up. You should not need anything to wake up. If you can't wake up without it, it's because you are either addicted to caffeine, sleep deprived, or a generally unhealthy slob. It may seem like the end of the world to give up your daily dose, especially if you rely on Starbucks as a good place to meet men. But it's not heroin, girls, and you'll learn to live without it.
To describe this book, I would tell people: this book shits on everything I love. Like, actually everything. Coffee? Check. Sugar? Check. CHEESE?! Check. That's not to say though, that their information was invalid. In fact, quite the opposite. It made me second guess my love for everything mentioned above with the scary facts about some of my favorites. Caffeine? Creates an acidic environment in your body that cancer cells are known to love and gives you a slew of stress, digestion problems, and ulcers. Suddenly, the weirdos I encounter who don't drink coffee seem so smart. A lot of the stuff I like to feed myself, I know is not that healthy for me, and Skinny Bitch told me exactly why that is. It was scary and now every time I drink coffee, I say a silent, "I'm sorry" to my organs.
Now would be a good time to reflect on the old adage, "You are what you eat." This statement in all its simplicity, is brilliant. You are what you eat. You are a human body comprised of organs, blood and guts, and other shit. The food you put into your body works its way through your organs and bloodstream and is actually part of who you are. So every time you put crap in your body, you are crap.
A major issue that I took with Skinny Bitch was not the way that it took everything I adore in the realm of food and made me scared of it, but it was the tone with which it delivered these facts. "So your junk food has a shelf life of twenty-two years and will probably outlive your fat, sorry ass." "So you do the math: sugar = fat. If you'd drag your cankles to a health food store, you'd find aisle after aisle of "acceptable junk food." Those two quotes were found in just the first chapter and were almost enough to make me put down the book. If it wasn't for the crash-course schooling I was getting on caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and dairy I would've stopped reading. Chances are, especially since the book is not advertised as being a vegan handbook, the person picking up this book, like me, is overweight, looking for a change, and probably calls themselves a whole slew of personal insults. We don't need to be constantly reminded of our fat asses/lumpy thighs/stomach rolls/cankles. The two authors also placed so much emphasis on, "think of how much better you'll feel when you're SKINNY!" "Get some new clothes so you look GREAT when you're SKINNY!" "You will radiate with infectious energy when you're SKINNY." The emphasis on these statements were so strong, that when they threw in the occasional, "but remember, looks aren't everything!" it doesn't sound genuine. They also state how fasting is a great way to lose weight and detoxify your body--which it is if you know how to properly do so. They give vague discussion, and also don't discourage women with a history of disordered eating from fasting, which could be a trigger for those with an ED.
All dairy products contain casein, but cheese has the highest concentration. In fact, cheese contains far more casein than is naturally found in cows' milk. It also has phenylethylamine (PEA), an amphetamine-like chemical. So when we kid around and say, "I am addicted to cheese," it's not a joke--it's true. We are chemically addicted to cheese.
When the author's aren't using insults to address their readers, their conversational tone actually made it very easy to process the information they were handing us and made it fun to read. On top of the in depth analysis of foods that non-vegans commonly eat, there is also a lot of other really helpful things in the book. Near the back, there is a four-week menu plan for those dipping their toes into the waters of veganism. Each meal is listed out with the Skinny Bitch stamp of approval. There is also a section dedicated to things we should avoid if we see them on food labels, and the most helpful thing to me was a list of essential vitamins and the foods we can find them in. Part of the Skinny Bitch 'method' is eliminating toxins from your body, one of those being medication and supplements, so I thought it was important that they told us how to get those nutrients otherwise.
Skinny Bitch was a great crash course into adopting a vegan lifestyle, and how to eat more consciously. It has a lot of essential information on vitamins, nutrients, and the eating habits of non-vegans. However, the insulting tone of the book really turned me off to wanting to read anything else by these two authors. I would also be hesitant to recommend this book to everyone based on the potentially triggering segment on fasting and the obsessive focus on being skinny.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you have any other health or diet related books that you would recommend?