Skinny Bitch

I just finished this one and I have to say it was not what I expected, not at all. It would have helped if I had read the summary before starting it, of course, but then I might not have read it at all.

From “About the Book:”
Not your typical boring diet book, this is a tart-tongued, no-holds-barred wakeup call to all women who want to be thin. With such blunt advice as, “Soda is liquid Satan” and “You are a total moron if you think the Atkins Diet will make you thin,” it’s a rallying cry for all savvy women to start eating healthy and looking radiant. Unlike standard diet books, it actually makes the reader laugh out loud with its truthful, smart-mouthed revelations. Behind all the attitude, however, there’s solid guidance. Skinny Bitch espouses a healthful lifestyle that promotes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and encourages women to get excited about feeling “clean and pure and energized.

From Barnes & Noble:
The frank, “get real” approach of this diet book may be just right for those who have tried and tried without success to lose weight and keep it off. As the title indicates, the language is salty as Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin tell readers just what they must get rid of in their everyday eating: sugar first, followed by meat and dairy. Freedman and Barnouin recommend a vegan lifestyle, and tell why, and then offer more than 75 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacking. They help readers break through the mental denial about bad food habits, and offer responsible and fun food choices without denying cravings and appetite.
A lot of the book makes a lot of sense, no doubt. Soda, is, in fact Satan. High Fructose Corn Syrup needs to be eliminated. “Low Fat” does not equal “healthy.” And a lot of this we already know, but don’t really want to think about.

The book makes a very strong call for veganism and it is at the core of their “method.” I don’t have any intentions on becoming vegan, but I might if it were more practical…and tastier. I’m not married to meat, but I can’t say I don’t enjoy it. The book goes into detail about why, ethically and environmentally, consuming animal products is bad for us and bad for the planet. They have a very good case. A slam dunk, actually. I can’t disagree with a lot of their reasoning and yet I eat meat.
Why? I think humans are omnivores to begin with and that animal products are beneficial to the diet, but while they may be tasty, I recognize that they aren’t essential to the human diet. Eliminating animal products because of the contamination and cruelty concerns outweighs the tasty factor for many. It should definitely be a bigger concern for the rest of us, even those that do indulge in a yummy carcass now and then.
And dairy. I’m not a big cheese eater, but I do like skim milk. Pizza. Yogurt. The book wants you to drop it all like a hot potato. And reading through it, they have some very valid points. Why do we stop nursing our children, only to put them on the milk of another species? Why do we not question the chemical contamination in milk and even organic milk? Why does the dairy industry have such a foothold in US nutrition policy? The answers may disturb you. Not enough to put down your slice of cheesecake, perhaps, but it is good to be mindful of the politics in play when dealing with food policy and cultural norms.
Their first hurdle they’d like you to jump over is sugar. Sugar in any form, but primarily in standard table sugar that has been stripped of any nutrients and HFCS which is chemically altered to your detriment. And I agree. Sugar is like crack – we’ve all said it, but it turns out it’s true.
According to a recent study:
Hoebel and his team also have found that a chemical known as dopamine is released in a region of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens when hungry rats drink a sugar solution. This chemical signal is thought to trigger motivation and, eventually with repetition, addiction.

The researchers conducted the studies by restricting rats of their food while the rats slept and for four hours after waking. “It’s a little bit like missing breakfast,” Hoebel said. “As a result, they quickly eat some chow and drink a lot of sugar water.” And, he added, “That’s what is called binge eating — when you eat a lot all at once — in this case they are binging on a 10 percent sucrose solution, which is like a soft drink.”
Hungry rats that binge on sugar provoke a surge of dopamine in their brains. After a month, the structure of the brains of these rats adapts to increased dopamine levels, showing fewer of a certain type of dopamine receptor than they used to have and more opioid receptors. These dopamine and opioid systems are involved in motivation and reward, systems that control wanting and liking something. Similar changes also are seen in the brains of rats on cocaine and heroin.
In experiments, the researchers have been able to induce signs of withdrawal in the lab animals by taking away their sugar supply. The rats’ brain levels of dopamine dropped and, as a result, they exhibited anxiety as a sign of withdrawal. The rats’ teeth chattered, and the creatures were unwilling to venture forth into the open arm of their maze, preferring to stay in a tunnel area. Normally rats like to explore their environment, but the rats in sugar withdrawal were too anxious to explore.

Scary, huh? So I’ve been on the wagon as far as sugar is concerned. No candy, no chocolate, no soda. I did eat a few broccoli cookies, but they were whole wheat, so I gave them a pass in a weak moment. And it feels pretty good. It’s been over a week…lets see how long I can keep this up.

The premise of the book is simple, eat organic, fresh, plant-based foods and you will be thinner, healthier, and happier. Some of their claims and expectations may be a little over the top, but it’s fair to say that it’s extremely difficult to become obese on a plant only, sugar-free, diet. I don’t know – maybe we should all try it. If I were single with no children I probably would, but it’s unlikely at this point in the game.

However I can do the following

~ Eliminate refined sugars.

~ Eliminate HFCS – we already do this.
~ Eliminate refined flours – nothing that isn’t whole wheat or whole grain (except tortillas, because whole wheat tortillas taste like ass). We do this in large part, but could be more vigilant.
~ Eliminate artificial chemicals and flavors – I do try, but they sneak in. I do not buy anything with MSG, for example.
~ Buy Organic. This requires work, and money. We have limited availability for organic produce, but we should probably buy more of what is available.
~ Reduce dairy. I have actually cut milk out entirely while nursing Babybeast, since she had tummy issues, but I’m back on it. It wouldn’t hurt to cut back, though.
~ Increase use of plant-based proteins, like lentils, beans, whole grains, etc.
~ Eat more fruit and veg. I like it, but I forget to eat it sometimes. The kids eat tons, of course. Mommy should follow suit.

So as far as the book goes, I’ve been reading about a plan I will never fully implement, but which has inspired me to make a few smaller changes and to be more thoughtful about food sources and ingredients. And it was funny. And short and easy to read. If curse words offend you, though, then it’s probably not the book for you.

Also on my list to read are Real Food by Nina Planck and The Omnivore’s Dilemma which come highly recommended to me by my friend Jenny at The Nourished Kitchen and Jon Stewart respectively. Look for reviews to come.

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