Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review: "Skinny B**ch"

Yes, I'm about 3 years late on this one, but I've finally read Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. This was/is a pretty popular book, landing itself on the New York Times Bestseller list. I have mixed feelings about this book, so here we go:

The Good:
1. Very quick and easy read. I read most of it while on the stationary bike at the gym.
2. (This is a big one) Offers enlightening facts about certain sugar substitutes and other food additives, highlighting some corrupt ways of Federal agencies that most Americans naively think are meant to protect them.
3. Provides a lot of background on the meatpacking industry and other sectors of the food industry that has been written about by leading experts such as Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle. I see this as a good thing because chances are a great majority of the people reading this book would not read the other books.
4. They point out our absurd ways as a society - that we'll spend thousands of dollars on clothes, cars, etc, but we don't want to spend a few more dollars on nutritious, whole foods that will nourish our bodies and keep us healthy.
5. Provide good detail on specific vitamins that are essential for good health and how we can get them from food sources.
6. There is a list of ingredients and details about what they actually are and how they are or can be harmful.

The Bad:
1. The book is extremely crass and definitely not be appropriate for everyone.
2. They profess that we must eat all organic when this has been proven to be untrue.
3. The authors rail against additives in the food supply (which is undoubtedly dangerous and should be avoided) but then promote fake meat products that are full of additives and chemicals like Gardenburger Chik'n. Turns out Gardenburger treats their soy with hexane. Not cool. I used to eat their burgers, not anymore!
4. They often talk about dropping fat and lazy ways and becoming skinny and beautiful by becoming a vegan. I don't believe that all vegans are skinny and I also think there are more important things than just being skinny. They do discuss general health, but the underlying message is that the goal is to be skinny.
5. They actively promote that fasting, which I believe can be extremely dangerous and harmful.

While the good technically outnumber the bad, I can't get over the harsh tone of this book, fact that the authors are determined the only way to live is to be a vegan, and such a huge emphasis on the need to be skinny. I have absolutely nothing against veganism, I've even toyed with the idea of trying it for a week or two, to see what it's like, but I think it's a bit extreme for most people. At the very end of the book, Freedman and Barnouin wrap it up by trying to refocus on health rather than appearance, but it's too late and almost feels like an afterthought or an edit their editor demanded so it might sit better with a wider audience. However, I am grateful that they talked about the problems with our food system in this book because, as I said earlier, hopefully it will enlighten many people who typically get their food and nutrition tips from US Weekly and People Magazine!

I did learn a few things, but I'm definitely not in agreement with them on everything in this book. It's a fast read, so if you are interested (like I was) go ahead and check it out from your library or borrow from a friend who bought it in the mad rush a few years ago, but I suggest that you don't take every word to heart. Listen to your own instincts and use their information in combination with everything else you know about healthy eating and living.

workout stats -
13miles bike
25minutes StairMaster
3x10 cable pull push downs
3x10 cable pull twists
3x10 tricep extension
3x10 tricep kickback
3x12 weighted side bends
3x10 tricep dips
stretching & foam roller


scrapwordsmom said...

Thanks for this review. I have seen this book in stores but the name alone turned me off!!

Found you on SITS today:)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I have seen the book many times at the book store ad have never brought myself to buy it. I browsed through it a few times and I could tell it would not be my kind of book for something you said: the tone. it comes across right away.

hbobier said...

I bought the book when it first came out and make an effort to reread it every few months. Yeah, it is kind of yelling at you, but isn't that why we all love Jillian Michaels?

I do agree that you kind of have to take it with a grain of salt but at the same time it does reinforce, "oh yeah, that's why I don't drink diet soda."

Glad you finally got around to reading it!

Robyn @ WannabeWriterRunner said...

I read it too and afterwards basically came away thinking, if I want to be skinny no more meat, dairy, sugar, caffeine...salad for every meal? I think it has some good anecdotes though.

Katie @ Health for the Whole Self said...

I completely agree with your review. It's been awhile since I read the book, but I remember being SO turned off by the tone. Unfortunately, for me it completely overshadowed all of the potentially good points they were making.

akjenniekt said...

I agree with you on a lot of your points. The tone of the book is harsh- a friend of mine actually was offended by it- and though some of their points are important I wasn't a fan of their overall message of if you want to be skinny and beautiful you HAVE to be vegan.
Thanks for the review :)

scrapwordsmom said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today:) I am now a follower by the way. Have a wonderful day!

The Laminator said...

Ooh, congrats on your comeback! This a great race too! My brother will be running that for his second CP race so I'll be out cheering and spectating. May you comeback be strong and effortless!