“Skinny Bitch”: A Book Review

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.

I found more balanced reviews at iVillage.com and The New York Times if you’re interested.

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.

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5 thoughts on ““Skinny Bitch”: A Book Review

  1. Veganism is certainly not my favorite topic as I know way too many militant vegans who kind of make me crazy. That being said, I am getting a vegan cookbook for Christmas from Real Food Daily, an amazing vegan restaurant here in L.A. However, vegan cooking can be very complicated with hard to find ingredients, and even in L.A., I’m going to have to go that extra mile to find some things in this cookbook I’m getting. Anyway, I’m rambling, but on a positive note, this low-fat, low-carb, low-meat diet I’m on has made me lose 7 pounds so far. One more week to go before it’s time for yummy Christmas food, then a more moderate diet after that.

  2. Hey Lynn,
    Thanks for thsi review. A lady here at work told me she just bought the book so I shared your review with her! I can’t wait to read it myself. I know for a fact my diet is all crap!! I think the way I eat is effecting my headaches and my lack of activity is showing up in how I feel everyday!!!

  3. Hi Lynn,
    I liked you review. I have recently become a vegetarian. It really isn’t too bad. I don’t do dairy or even soy at this point because of being treated for stage I breast cancer 3 years ago. If you really want to get into some “meaty” scientific books…if you have the time, I just finished the China Study by T. Colin Campbell. This book is intense, but if you have the time it is worth while. Another is Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, by Caldwell Esselstyn MD. Dr. Esselstyn is a physician at the Cleveland Clinic. His book is more reader Don’t be put off by thinking it is only for preventing heart disease. With his program he tackles most of America’s problems as far as obesity and disease.

  4. If you are interested in an organic wine try Boneterra, it’s from California and VERY popular at the liquor store where I work. I think there are 2 or more flavors.

  5. Nice review. Thank you so much!
    I’ve been vegan for two years now (and have been vegetarian for about 7 years prior to becoming vegan) and it really is not that bad! You don’t have to be militant or radical to be vegan either – plain common sense told me that there are just so many good reasons to be vegan: from health issues to environmental reasons to ethical consideration. Even if you buy milk from organic farms or egg from free-range farms, you are still involved in the killing of animals (think of the cows’ calves, for example, or the cows themselves, once they lose productivity, or the male chicks that are sorted out right after hatching and are usually killed immediately). Plus it is just not economical in terms of resources and environment. And once I gave it a try and realized just how easy it is to be vegan, I was completely convinced. Believe me – you don’t have to revert to fancy ingredients to cook vegan. I strongly recommend “Vegan with a vengeance” and “Vegonomicon”, both by Isa Moskowitz – great books stuffed with idiot-proof, cheap and delicious recipes (everything from brunch to dessert) that don’t require ingredients that are hard to come by (and they are fun reads, too). Veganism will make you feel better physically and emotionally, and it doesn’t require as much of a sacrifice as you might think provided you’re willing to try new things and be a bit creative.
    That being said, veganism shouldn’t be about being perfect or telling other people how to live – even if you decide that you just want to cut back your consumption of animal products, but not become a 100% vegan, that’s a big step. It’s not a religion, it’s a lifestyle! Have fun!

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