Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Skinny Bitch; Freedman & Barnouin

Despite being shelved in the 'diet' section, this book ought to be shelved in nutrition. It's aimed at unhealthy and/or overweight women- skinny doesn't automatically equal healthy, you know. There are no gimmicks or facile suggestions. The authors are reccommending veganism as a healthier lifestyle, one that is likely to result in weight loss.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, veganism is a dietary choice, lifestyle, call it what you will, where absolutely no animal products are consumed. No eggs, dairy products (to include milk, butter, yoghurt, cheese, etc), honey, beef, pork, poultry, fish, gelatin, etc. Often this includes any other item that may contain these ingredients, thus also curtailing some baked goods and processed foods. Freedman and Barnouin also suggest giving up what are popularly referred to as "the white devils": white flour, bleached sugar & white bread. Also- coffee including decaf, tobacco products, soda regular and diet and over the counter medications.

I've given up meats for short periods of time several times in the past, once as long as two years. Never tried full veganism & am unsure I could do it. I've never liked eggs or quiche or other similar foods. I've not eaten gelatin since I was a kid. I don't put honey in my tea. I guess I'm partially there. I'm currently reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, which has generated a lot of uneasiness in my mind about just how healthy and safe the U.S. food supply really is. Then there is the whole lack of humane treatment of food animals, the prevalence of antibiotic usage on factory farms and a whole host of other related issues.

The tone and style reminds me very strongly of Smartbitches. Highly educated, well read, tell you like it is ("Yes, you look like a fat cow in those pants!") pals whose no holds barred style can be intimidating or off putting, especially for unwary souls. The language is salty and conversational and laden with facts, endnotes and references to other works discussing the U.S. food supply, diet, weight, and various aspects of vegetarianism.

They recommend particular brands of food & substitutions, although they're from the left coast (ie: California) so some of these may not be easily found here. I think if you live near a Trader Joe's or MOM (My Organic Market) here in metro DC or Whole Foods Market you're likely to find a good selection of healthier foods, especially vegan items. Freedman and Barnouin also list websites, further reading sources, food additives and the like at the end of their novel. The endnotes are fully documented as is a list of the sources they used in the writing of this book.

The book attempts to get the reader to nurture herself with good healthy food and a lifestyle that promotes conscious, aware eating. One of the authors has a Master's Degree in holistic nutrition- their aim is not to get the reader feeling guilty. They freely admit their former bad habits, including such vices as double cheeseburgers and coffee. Two of my personal favorites. Skinny Bitch absolutely is a food for thought kind of book, even if you disagree with them, it's sure to make you think twice about what you put in your mouth.


Jenster said...

I won't even pretend to contemplate veganism. LOL

When I read this kind of stuff it makes me want to raise my own cows and chickens, except I would probably starve because I wouldn't know what to do with them. :o)

jmc said...

Reading The Omnivore's Dilemma made me think more carefully about what I'm eating and where it came from...and it made me feel very sorry for cows. But I'm still a meat-eater.

Have you read Pollan's article on this year's farm bill at NYT? You have to register, but it's free.


Bookwormom said...

Jenster- I'm unsure I'm contemplating veganism myself, but the old truism that you can't continue to do the same old thing and expect new results is soo true. :( And I definitely need to eat better.

JMC- Printed out the article you cited. Don't have time to read it now, but plan to later. There is definitely a correlation between financial status and health, though. Particularly in urban areas.