Thursday, May 24, 2012

Skinny Wha...?

I recently purchased a copy of "Skinny B****" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, because I was intrigued that a diet book written by models was advocating a vegan lifestyle. The book is an extremely quick and easy read, and does indeed have some useful information and advice, yet in my opinion has many shortcomings. In summary, this is my opinion of this book.

I really love that this book emphasizes the importance of eating food which is food. One of the best lines is, "Whenever you see the words 'fat-free' or 'sugar-free', think of the words 'chemical s***storm." The authors are adamant about the fact that in order to lose weight and be generally healthy, one cannot fill up on so-called "diet foods" which are actually nutritionally void and laden with harmful additives. The book also has an entire chapter dedicated to listing various common food additives and their harmful side effects. The book strikes a good balance between expressing why once should eat a natural plant-based diet for weight loss, why meat produced by factory farming is inhumane and unsanitary, and why a proper diet is important for health. Its language throughout is extremely simplistic and crass, but since simplistic and crass sells so well, they obviously had a marketable idea to create a health food book that sounds like it was written by Snooki. I didn't especially care for the tone, but if swearing and snide humor can get a certain factor of the population off of Slim-Fast and onto kale, I'll take it.

The main thing I found negative about this book is that while the first chapters edifying the authors' overall food philosophies emphasize whole foods, practically every suggestion in the "Let's Eat" chapter involves processed food, with an emphasis on fake meat. I can see how someone who has been living on Wendy's would find it easier to transition to eating tofu scramble and Boca burgers than to eating brown rice and pinto beans every day, however, if this book is advocating a healthy lifestyle, it would have behooved them to include a few tips on cooking. I do NOT think that it is possible to be skinny and healthy while dining on soy-based fake meat every night, and while organic vegan cookies are certainly better for you than Chips Ahoy, an excess of vegan junk food will indeed make you fat/broken out/tired etc. (A recent horrible addiction to Sweet and Sara's vegan marshmallows illuminated that fact for me.) They pay lip service to moderation of vegan treats and fake meats, yet their meal plans are absolutely ridden with them. I also disagree heartily with their idea that breakfast should be light and dinner heavy. It makes no sense to eat a piece of fruit in the morning before starting a rigorous day of activity, and then eat an 800 calorie meal 2 hours before going to bed. I have found my weight and energy to be the most optimal when having a hearty breakfast and a piece of fruit or bowl of cereal for dinner.

This was far from my favorite book about nutrition, but I am glad to see that a book exists in the mainstream which is a more sensible, if unsophisticated, response to fad diets such as the Atkins diet. If you appreciate raunchy humor and want a very easy-to-understand guide to veganism, this book isn't bad, but I would take their meal plan with a grain of salt.

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