Monday, November 12, 2007

Books: Skinny Bitch

Normally, I would never buy a book called Skinny Bitch ( by Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin, Running Press, 2005). The title alone gets me riled up for a variety of reasons, which I won't go into right now. However, when my friend JH recommended this book, I decided to give it a read. JH is wholly committed to healthy living, organic food, and holistic healing. She described it as a book to help get you on track to healthy eating---so that seemed worth checking out, even if I do hate the title.

Skinny Bitch is basically, a guide to healthy eating, but written in an "in-your-face" style. The two authors, Ms. Freedman and Ms. Barnouin, don't mince words when they say things like "you cannot keep shoveling the same crap into your mouth and expect to lose weight" and "...foods like meat, eggs, cheese, milk, and processed, refined foods....can clog up your ass." Okay, thanks for that visual. I will say that they make a sometimes rather dry subject pretty interesting, even if they have to pepper the book with profanity and vulgarity to make the reader pay attention.

What I DO like about this book is that the authors have clearly done their research. As vegans (that's a vegetarian who also does not eat ANY animal products like dairy, eggs, etc), they defend their lifestyle choice with solid scientific evidence that makes you wonder why you're eating so much junk. They talk about why meat and dairy are really not meant to be part of our diet, and why complex carbohydrates ARE . They tout the importance of buying organic and the dangers of artificial sweeteners. They discuss what caffeine does to your body, and why cold medicines interfere with Mother Nature's plan. And then, they give you four weeks worth of daily menus to help you get started on cleansing your body.

What I DO NOT like about this book, is that most of it is couched in terms of "this is what you need to do to get skinny", or, as they put it, to become a "skinny bitch". From a pure marketing standpoint, I know as well as anyone that books about getting thin sell, books about getting healthy don't. Let's face it, most people who watch what they eat and hit the gym every day do it to look good---not necessarily because it is healthy (that's just a nice bonus). However, true as it may be, I still find it insulting. Basically, the only reason I'd completely change my lifestyle---give up meat, dairy, Splenda, coffee, soda, etc.---is to be a "skinny bitch"? I'd better feel pretty darned terrific and live to be 100 to give up all that!

All kidding aside, I found the book a tiny bit depressing. Mostly because I believe what they say is right. I agree that giving up meat (or at least cutting back significantly) is healthy. I agree that dairy isn't really something we're meant to ingest. I know that the Splenda I put in my coffee every morning---and even the coffee---really aren't that great for me. I know I probably would feel a lot better if I started eating according to their plan. But I also know that for me, especially as a cooking instructor catering to a wide variety of clients, it is a tall order. Yes, I can eat less meat, but not none. Yes, I did order a soy latte at Starbuck's the other day (and skipped the Splenda), but I probably won't do it every time. And yes, I did go and buy a tub of organic Earth Balance spread to slather on my sprouted whole wheat toast (both of which are actually tasty!). But I'll tell you right now, I draw the line at cheese!

Skinny Bitch is definitely worth reading, if you can get past the constant "skinny" references and the somewhat arrogant tone of the book. Overall, I found it pretty informative, and it makes me think twice before shoving a handful of Oreos down my throat. Besides, who wouldn't love a book that has an entire chapter devoted to pooping?

The "bitches" are coming out with a new book in December (surprise, surprise, right in time for the holidays!), called Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, a cookbook for those of you who "want to stop cooking crap and start looking hot!". Hmmmm. For now, just try this vegan recipe and see if you feel any bitchier.

Vegan Stir Fry with Tempeh

Serves 2

1 - 8 oz package tempeh, cubed

1 red bell pepper, cut into a large dice

8 oz sugar snap peas

3 medium carrots, sliced

2-3 T canola oil

3 T soy sauce

3 T sherry
1/2 t sugar

In a measuring cup, combine soy sauce, sherry and sugar. Stir to combine and set aside.
In a large chef's pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the ingredients in the following order, cooking for approximately 1-2 minutes in between each addition:

carrots, red peppers, tempeh, snap peas

Add the soy sauce mixture, raise the heat slightly, and cook another minute.

Serve alone or with rice.


mom said...

Can I just say that this is hilarious juxtaposed to the BBQ photo of meat on the grill.

BTW - I only know two vegans and niether are skinny, though one is a bitch ;-)

Susan said...

I may just have to buy this book. I vowed to myself the other day to only shop at Henry's from now on.