I was recommended a copy of ‘Skinny Bitch’ over a casual conversation about the differences between vegetarianism and veganism. I’ve been a vegetarian for 23yrs now since I was just five years old when I decided that I didn’t like the taste of meat. I did however love every fruit and vegetable ever to grace my plate and have always had a huge appetite, but I’ve never ate fish, eggs or drank milk; with cheese, chocolate, rice pudding and cheesecake being my sweet-toothed weaknesses in dairy. I didn’t necessarily avoid meat my whole life because of a belief in saving the world and animals, nor for the purpose of being skinny as my healthy diet has never led me to be concerned by my weight, but I ditched meat moreso because of its greasy chewy taste and texture that I found disgusting as a child. My palette is naturally tuned towards fresh and flavoursome vegetarian dishes and as a result I always eat well. Therefore my rather unprepared and naive question of asking what harm is in dairy left me crying my eyes out and changing my diet immediately to vegan.
I read Skinny Bitch in just one afternoon from cover to cover, as it’s actually quite a short book and certainly not one to be judged by its title, I literally couldn’t put it down. The premise of its content is to inform the reader of the dangers of eating meat and dairy, firstly focusing on the symptoms and side effects of meat and dairy on the body and secondly on the treatment and slaughter of the animals and the conditions under which they are kept and farmed to meet supermarket demands and deliver to your plate.
The book very cleverly takes the stance of helping women, and men too, to clean up their diet and think about what they eat in order to get healthy, lose excess weight and have a fit and attractive body, with boycotting animal cruelty an added bonus of the personal health benefits of veganism. The way that it is written is highly informative and best friend-esque with the casual splash of street slang, straight talking and profanities to break up the rather stiff and hard to stomach facts that make you question your actions as a carnivore or vegetarian. The message being “You cannot keep shoveling the same crap into your mouth every day and expect to lose weight” sums up the straight talking nature of the two authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin who aim to assist the world in making intelligent and educated decisions about food. Former models and modelling agents with a Masters of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition, the ladies have successfully counseled models, actors, athletes, and other professionals using the Skinny Bitch method and live in sunny, self-assured Los Angeles.
I don’t believe in fad diets and starving yourself, nor do I enjoy denying myself the foods I love, if I want to lose weight I workout, and if I want to gain weight I workout harder and up my protein intake. If somebody tells me that I can’t eat a certain food it seems to make me crave it all the more and it becomes suddenly excruciatingly appealing to me. I’ve tried in the past to quit chocolate and cakes, scones and cookies and lasted a few weeks before falling off the wagon, but since reading Skinny Bitch I’ve made the most instant and successful transition to veganism and I don’t miss my dairy one bit.
Skinny Bitch is the New York Times Best Seller for a reason, because unlike every other book about weightloss it doesn’t just tell you what to eat and what not to eat, it literally pins your eyes open and fixed to the page as spoon by spoon you’re fed the harsh reality of your body, health, the environment and the disgusting treatment of animals. And as a mother I cried my eyes out as I turned each page. It has been the most hard hitting book I have ever read and one that remains with me long after I put it down. I was a massive fan of Mr Whippy ice cream, eating an entire tub of cornish and vanilla in one afternoon, my obsession with chocolate was ridiculous and utterly unhealthy, and my craving for cakes, cheese and wine left me bloated and fatty. Now when I see these foods that I loved so so much I don’t even flinch or feel a pang of craving at all, if anything I’m repulsed in the same way that I’ve always been by meat. Cheese, cakes, ice cream, milk, yogurt, shakes and puddings don’t catch my eye at all, and my mindset isn’t that of quitting or giving up a treat, moreso of avoiding the food that I dislike.
The book is so successful because it changes your outlook and opinion of what you should put into your body, which results in you leading a healthy natural lifestyle that becomes second nature rather than a chore. I’m not denying myself my favourite treats, but what I once thought were treats are now the equivalent of the contents of my cleaning cupboard in comparison to my desire to consume them. It’s true what they say, if you knew what when into your food and where it came from you’d never eat it again.
I realise that cruelty to animals now plays a major part in my outlook as an adult, even though it didn’t carry as much importance to me as a child, as I based my vegetarianism on taste alone rather than my knowledge of animals. I now choose not to support the farming of animals for meat and dairy, and do not judge others who wish to continue to do so as I realise the world needs to be fed and we’re all a part of the food chain in one way or another. But it’s extremely important that we recognise where our food comes from, what goes into it and what ill effect it has on our bodies; as we’re all too easily blinded by succulent pink meat, nicely wrapped and displayed over ice in a posh supermarket, or artisan cheeses and indulgent cakes in quirky cafes, when the reality is enough to put you off of eating it forever; as it has done for me. I’m glad to have found this book and my life will never be the same as a direct result of it, I’m loving life as a vegan, I feel so much healthier, cleansed and energetic now that I’ve stopped eating dairy, and my heart and mind are guilt free. There are some fantastic vegan alternatives to chocolate, biscuits and ice cream so even if you can’t go without your treats you can have them in a healthier cruelty-free way. If you only read one book this year then I cannot recommend Skinny Bitch more strongly. Even to already skinny bitches!