I just finished the book “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Its subtitle is: “A no-nonsense, tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous!” I picked it up for the tagline, even though I’m not actively losing weight, and because I know there are parts of my dietary regimen where I’m lacking and could use a good kick in the ass. Sure enough, the authors wasted no time pointing out that I still eat a lot of crap.
Overall, the book is well researched and insofar as I can tell, accurate in its facts about processed foods, how animals are raised, fed and slaughtered in our country, and the f’ed up state of affairs at the USDA, FDA and EPA.
The authors are unapologetic animal-rights activists and, ergo, are vegans, and so the book focuses on a vegan diet. But as with any self-help book, I know to use the sense the good lord gave me to weigh the facts and decide for myself what parts work for me and which parts don’t (unlike many of the reviewers I will tell you about later).
Choosing to eat healthier requires a balance of conscience and health considerations. While I would be more than happy to eat more soy-based foods such as “fake” cheese, these products are still notoriously high in sodium, even more so than real cheese, and I need to take that into consideration given that I have sodium-sensitive high blood pressure. I can choose, however, to buy cheese made from milk from cows that have been fed organic grains and are allowed to be outdoors and not penned inside a factory farm.
It’s the same for eggs. While I only eat egg whites, they are still eggs and they come from chickens and let’s face it: chickens don’t have much of a life in factory farms. Choosing eggs produced by chickens that live cage-free and are fed an organic diet makes the most sense to me.
The book convinced me to change a few of my eating habits. I have decided to finally let go of my turkey habit. I haven’t eaten beef in more than 20 years or pork in five years, and I gave up chicken sometime last spring. But damn if turkey isn’t my Achilles heel. I love the low-sodium turkey breast lunch meat and turkey bacon from Trader Joe’s. There is still some of each in my refrigerator. But as of this morning I decided I’m going cold turkey (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and giving it up starting now.
I will also search for organic wine made without sulfites and drink that instead of what I drink now. Sulfites make my nose stuffy anyway, so this will be an easy change. I’ll also be more diligent in reading the ingredient list before I buy foods I’m unfamiliar with. For instance, I bought Skinny Cow ice cream treats the other day thinking they were “good” for me because Bob Greene recommends them, Oprah loves them, and they have three grams of fiber. Um, yeah….read the label, Lynn. They’re made with trans fat. Yuck! In the trash they go!
The book has raised a number of eyebrows, particularly because nothing riles up the masses more than vegans and the use of vulgarity. Add insulting fat people to the mix and you’ve got anarchy, at least that’s what some of the reviewers at Amazon.com seem to believe. Yes, the authors use a lot of profanity. Yes, they are insulting. But they write with the assumption that their audience is fat people who want to be thin, and quite frankly, if they want to scream at their audience like drill sergeants, then they have that right. Members of their target audience can choose at any time to stop reading. “Skinny Bitch,” just like any book by Dr. Oz or Bob Greene or any other fitness guru, is a tool in helping me make good food choices. I’ve got a brain. I know how to use it. And I’m not easily offended by the “f” word or its friends.
Like most things in life, if you get yourself educated and choose moderation, you’re probably going to be fine. Sometimes the best way to get educated is to look at the extremes and then make a balanced decision. “Skinny Bitch” takes us to the extremes, to be sure, but it’s not a bad read and certainly not something to get your undies in a bunch about.