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Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want To Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous! Paperback – December 27, 2005
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“…incredibly informative and entertaining… Co-authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin provide tough-love talk mixed with facts and common sense...
Freedman and Bamouin speak to the reader like a friend who isn't afraid to tell you what's on her mind. They back up their arguments by citing study after study and take the technical talk out of the discussion so as to make a more easily digested point.
This is the first "diet" book I've ever read that has made me laugh out loud numerous times. That being said, since no one warned me, I'll let you in on a secret - the book will gross you out. In the same vein as Fast Food Nation, there are graphic descriptions of factory farming and unsanitary dairy farm practices. It was easy for me to put down Fast Food Nation but this book is so funny, I had to keep going.
Almost immediately, I was one of the transformed. In fact, as soon as I got halfway through Chapter 4, "The Dead, Rotting Decomposing Flesh Diet", I had to call and change my dinner plans because I decided to go vegan on the spot.
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The approach taken by the authors would probably be articulated by quite a few as "tough love". I personally do not enjoy being yelled at or being called fat but I think there are enough reviews for any potential buyer to know what they are getting into when they purchase this book. Some people certainly respond quite well to this method of instruction. That being acknowledged, I don't know if that is the optimal way to instruct.
If a person has been eating meat and heavily processed foods his/her entire life, s/he has been sufficiently separated from the food preparation process and is probably going to need a little more than screaming something to the effect of "quit eating rotting flesh you fat slob" to embrace a new lifestyle. That person who wants to take the next step to health is going to need a plan so they can learn how to make a great meal from vegetables and whole grains and fruits. Sure, they should also realize how the meat gets to their plate but that knowledge and realization is just a part of the whole process to self-betterment.
The deprivation that a person may feel by fully embracing what the authors present could be great. It is acknowledged that anyone trying a vegetarian diet (or any diet) for the first time is probably going to feel deprived but I think the deprivation could be greater with people using this diet book. For example, the authors suggest to eat just a piece of fruit for breakfast (or two pieces) and then nothing more until lunch hour when the dieter should be ravenous. The dieter is not to eat until ravenous? When I am ravenous, I should not be around people because I am one mean lady. I would speculate that a non-vegetarian trying to eat better could associate vegetarianism with deprivation and hunger. I don't want people to make that association. I will acknowledge that most people should eat less food but any instruction that would lead to a person feeling continuously deprived and ravenous does not seem like it would lead to more people wanting to try vegetarian or vegan diets. If a person feels overly hungry and becomes uncomfortable, I don't see how this is going to advance the animal rights movement either. That person will look at what they are eating now (an apple) and what they ate before (steak and eggs) and think they need to eat meat to remain fulfilled.
The language used in this book can be caustic and harsh. There is little motivation to continue on the diet prescribed by the authors. I believe any diet book is incomplete without easy recipes. Yes, I know the authors have the Skinny Bitch in the Kitch book, but this book needed some recipes as well. While the authors provide suggested meals for a week of eating, there are no recipes provided that might just provide a person with a poor diet to be inspired to live better. When I make a tasty, meat-free dish that goes beyond lentils and rice for friends, I regularly hear comments like "wow, you can make something this great without meat." There is no single recipe that a person can present to his/her family that would make people swoon (and perhaps be a little envious) of the dieter's decision to do something a bit healthier.
In order for a person to live better, there needs to be some inspiration and a path to follow. I don't think the authors do a good job presenting a way to achieve better health. There is a lot of yelling but no path, no let's start here on day one and work up to day 365. There are no recipes. There is no encouragement. If you want a book with a plan or one that presents a gentler approach to eating clean, I would recommend Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr.
That said, many of their opinions I found ridiculous or not useful. I really don't think I am poisoning my body or am a pill popper if I take ibuprofen for menstrual cramps, and I will never give up my one cup of coffee in the morning. Also, I can't subsist on just organic fruit for breakfast...I have blood sugar issues, and I would feel really ill an hour or two after eating just an organic apple without some protein along with it. They obviously believe strongly in veganism, which is great, but I think that much of their "skinny" success also comes from portion control, i.e., "don't eat until you are ravenous," and "don't stuff yourself." Some if it feels like new age, L.A. hype, like the fasting...you are fat because you don't poop enough? And fasting gets rid of "toxins?" Not a lot of scientific data out there for a lot of this stuff. Finally, for a philosophy that emphasizes organic and healthy eating, they actually included a lot of fake meat substitutes that are highly processed in their list of "acceptable" foods. The whole thing works best if you pick and choose, like most health or diet plans.