Sunday, June 13, 2010

Book 34 - Skinny Bitch

I worked in the agriculture industry for many years so I've heard most of the anti-dairy, meat-is-bad messaging out there. Skinny Bitch is essentially just another way of delivering these messages, albeit more bluntly than I've come across in a while.

The authors, Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, straddle the line between clever sarcasm and outright rudeness. There is a difference. Luckily, these skinny bitches know when to back off before I completely turn off - I've known a few gals who think putting other people down in public is a sport. Trust me, sugar, I 'get" you, I just don't think you're funny (but that's a whole other conversation...)

Despite the careful deliverance of the know-it-all advice in Skinny Bitch, I'm not convinced the authors do, in fact, know it all.

The book is billed as a no-nonsense guide to getting healthy and, well, skinny. In my opinion, far too much of the text is spent trying to convince me to steer clear of meat and dairy products.

I admit, the authors provide (a little) food for thought surrounding the nutritional debate, but it's going to take a whole lot more than this to encourage me to give up my chicken and cheese. And I don't buy the factory farm crap, either.

I've toured processing plants and ranches.

I've researched food safety protocols and witnessed first-hand the aegis of biosecurity measures voluntarily enforced by Canadian farmers.

I've been a part of organizations like Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC), which has spent countless hours and resources to educate everyone across the food chain about animal care. Indeed, Canada has some of the most advanced humane animal standards in the world.

I also believe completely in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and that the government does care about providing consumers with safe food.

Clearly the skinny bitches don't. But, they live in the U.S. and I know little about agricultural practices across the border.

For the most part, I found the book annoying. I kept wanting to fact check their blunt - and sometimes degrading - statements. Old PR habits die hard, I suppose.

Still, Skinny Bitch delivers its promise as a no-nonsense guide to losing weight.

As someone whose ridden the weight loss train back and forth more than a couple of times, I can appreciate some of the recommendations offered. But I don't see myself becoming vegan or vegetarian anytime soon (although a close family friend is, and often when I see her at the lake over the summer, I am envious of her healthy glow and awesome physique).

The voice, while sometimes preachy, is engaging and will get you through the book. If you're looking for a quick diet fix, however, you won't find it here. The bitches dish up a routine and lifestyle program I believe would work - if you're willing to give up Rolo ice cream, steak and peanut butter.

Unfortunately, I'm not. I'm okay with that - it's been my experience this past year that there are far too many bitches in the world already.

The Book In My Bag Today: The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson


  1. Any book with the words "Skinny Bitch" in the title are not for me! What a horrible way to approach weight loss and health! What I would be interested in though is learning more of your thoughts and knowledge on the best places to buy meat and dairy (we are trying to eat cleaner as a family). Thanks for an honest review Dawn! And I am exited to hear your comments on The Girl Who Played with Fire! Almost picked that up for Costco today (but got the new Eclipse Novella instead ;) ).

    You're awesome!

  2. Love the review! You know my obsession with clean food ;) I know it goes without saying, but I wholly agree with your opinion of the way this book tackles the subject. Derogatory, defensive sarcasm is no way to win people to a way of thinking (or eating). If anything, it just makes that ice cream taste better!

  3. awesome review!

    as a formerly athletic person (i'm working hard to get back on track, though), i cannot get behind the "no dairy, no meat" idea of eating "healthy". i'm sorry, but when i'm running five miles a day, or doing two hour grappling workouts, i NEED some protein!

    i have some family friends who are raising their whole family vegetarian (though they do eat dairy, eggs and fish). but i think it's precisely because of the fish, dairy and eggs that they are so healthy.

    i'm sorry, but i tend to eat more vegetables as a carnivore than most the vegans i know. and i am far healthier.

    ok, sorry. didn't mean to go off in your comment box!

  4. I agree with everybody here. I am a certified Meatcutter, and I get sick and tired of the bashing and lies people tell about my industry. Don't worry HAACP has a iron-grip on sanitation practices in Canada.

    It also sounds like these authors would remind me too much of the nasty girls in highschool who didn't have weight problems. It's for me to take advice from people like that as I don't like or respect them.

    Whoops! Looks like I went on a little bit of a rant too. :P

  5. Jess, no YOU'RE awesome :-) I suspect your food choices are much cleaner than you think but I know with my family, we TRY and buy local as much as possible. If you go to each of the provincial producer organizations' websites (ie: milk, chicken, turkey, pork, beef, egg, canola, etc) you can email specific questions about how to make sure you're eating Alberta / Canadian product. Some meat, like Alberta Beef, is labeled and I think on the Alberta Pork Producers consumer site there's some great info about where Canadian products are sold. I'll track down some info and send you an email in the next day or so. As for the book, I'm LOVING it so far - better than the first one, which was pretty good. I almost bought the Twilight novella. We should trade when you're done :-)

    Megs - thank you! Interestingly, I thought of you when I was writing this post because often when I read your blog, you make me pause to think about the kinds of foods I'm feeding my family. From a financial perspective, I'm not sure I can afford to go where you are...yet. But I'm leaning that way. As always, you inspire me.

    Mi - I hear what you're saying about protein. I trained for a run and a massive bike trek - I craved protein all the time. I really feel that balance is key, and choosing the least processed form of foods possible. That being said, I love the occasional hot dog AND will not give up ice cream. Like you, I eat a lot of veggies, too. And btw, you can "go off" in my comment box anytime :-)

    Donna - I'm so glad you mentioned HACCP. On farm and throughout the food chain, there are some incredible food safety protocols in place. After going to Fiji for 10 days, I had a new appreciation for food safety. I agree - taking advice from someone you don't respect is counter productive. And you too can rant anytime you want. xo

  6. My daughter is a vegetarian but not a strict one. She eats dairy, eggs and some fish. We went back and forth. Finally, she realized I am not giving up my steak and roast beef and I realized that it will take some time for her to see the error of her ways. A;though, if she doesn't turn around before the grandkids come I suspect we will have round two.

    As far as the attitudes of the authors, I hate preachiness nearly as much as I hate bitchiness so I guess I'll steer clear of this one.

  7. I had a grilled chicken sandwich with brie last night ... yummmmmmy!

  8. RT - I knew someone whose daughter was a vegetarian for a while, and she routinely made separate dinners for the rest of the family and her daughter. I was impressed with her commitment and support, but question whether I would be as good. I did *try* to eat less red meat one year, but I live in Alberta where the beef is world renowned. Not gonna happen. And yeah, you'll want to steer clear...

    Jan - brie makes everything taste YUMMY.