'Skinny Bitch' ...
Now, the journalist in me is forever wanting to get all sides of a story. I bristle when someone makes an emphatic declaration. I want corroboration. Just because somene says something doesn't make it true. Words are very powerful. They can be used for good and they can be used for evil.
But just the other day, I was IMing with Ethan, and wrote, "I wish someone would write the definitive diet book." ("Diet" as in "food we eat to live" not "Atkins" or "Slim-Fast" or "The Zone" or anything meant to be temporary and narrow.) Huh. Look at that. I think I found it. Hey, thanks for the tip, Doreen.
Now, some might say that I like this book because it's aligned with my new-found way of eating. Corroboration, as it were. But the central tenent of this book is, "Use your head." In fact, that's the title of Chapter 13. And 13 is my lucky number. So there.
In Chapter 4, entitled "The Dead, Rotting, Decomposing Flesh Diet," the girls come out with their barbs blazing: "The Atkins diet. Hmm. Eat the flesh of dead cows, dead pigs, and dead chickens. Avoid fresh fruit. You are a total moron if you think the Atkins diet will make you thin." Ooh, thems fightin' words, eh? I Googled "Skinny Bitch" to see if the girls have a web site, and ran across a
To Mister Jimmy Moore of Spartanburg, South Carolina (where barbeque is a way of life), I say, "Use your head."
I tried the low-carb, high-protein thing once for a couple weeks. Yup, lost weight. You betcha. And you know what? I knew what I was eating couldn't be good for me. Does anyone honestly believe that they can eat steak dipped in butter for the rest of their life and be healthy? Apparently, some people do.
But have you noticed that the Atkins craze has abated? We're not hearing about it every day on the news. We're not seeing Atkins-approved products sprout up in every section of the grocery store anymore. Gee. Why is that? Maybe it's because people started to think that: 1) Eating nothing but protein is really frickin' expensive, 2) Maybe it wasn't the end-all, be-all path to wellness, and 3) They didn't want to live in a world without a potato.
I knew someone who was a full-fledged Atkins prophet. She would write e-mails, at length, about how great she felt - how clear-headed - and I watched as the weight dropped off. She wore smaller and smaller jeans. She tucked in her shirts. She faithfully ate her Atkins bars and meat. Atta girl.
And a couple months ago, I ran into her, and she was heavier than she was when she first started the Atkins diet. Uh oh.
We all know that "diets" don't work. Yes, you'll lose weight if you subsist on Slim-Fast shakes for six months, but if you never address your underlying relationship with food, you're gonna pack on the pounds again when you stop drinking the shakes.
So it all comes down to "Use your head." You know that a Meat Lover's pizza with extra cheese isn't good for you. You know that you're not doing your body any favors when you scarf down the jumbo bag of Doritos. You know your body's not thanking you when you drink a six-pack of Mountain Dew.
Still, the girls know that people don't like to be told that they're making bad choices. They probably already know it, but they don't want anyone remind them.
Yes, veganism seems radical because most of us have been raised on meat and dairy. We've been told that we need meat for protein and dairy for calcium. "Drink your milk" is a childhood mantra. So we did. And we do. But just because we do it, doesn't mean it's good for us.
"But Beth," you're saying, "I don't want to give up Oreos." Yeah, me neither. I love Oreos. But I love my health more. (And by the way, there's a vegan Oreo knock-off for when you absolutely, positively have to get your Oreo groove on.)
And hey, I love the planet. If we stopped farming so many animals, we'd cut down on global warming. And I love people. If we used that land to plant crops, we could go a long way toward feeding those who are starving. And I love animals. If we stopped eating meat, we'd spare 10 billion (that's billion with a B, kids) animals from inhumane deaths every year, in this country alone.
"Oh, that Beth," some of you are thinking. "She's such a bleeding-heart liberal. Meat is our birthright. Our ancestors ate it." Yeah, a couple million years ago. And they're dead now.
But hopping on a soapbox never won over the majority, right? People will hear what they want to hear and discard the rest. Still, do me a favor. Humor me here. Go to your library and check out "Skinny Bitch" or plunk your butt down at the bookstore and read it (I got through the whole thing in about three hours) and put it back on the shelf if you don't want to give the girls the royalties. Just hear them out. See if anything they say makes sense to you. Maybe you'll decide that they're 100 percent chock full of bunk. That's fine. Maybe you'll decide that you like one of their ideas and incorporate that into your life. That's fine, too. Maybe you'll fall backward like you've been smacked on the forehead by a televangelist and then scamper to the kitchen and pour your milk down the drain and vow to never eat another chicken breast for as long as you live. Who knows. But give it a read.
And lest you think that it's just a couple of chicks spouting off on their own brand of food religion, well, they cite 226 sources throughout the book. It's like a high-school reasearch paper that way, all those little superscript numbers. "Well, sure, but they picked sources that support their argument," you're saying. Honestly, I can hear your arms folding across your chest in defiance. Well, of course they did, but hey: They were able to FIND 226 sources to support what they're talking about. That counts for something. (One of them was Dr. Neal Barnard's book "Breaking the Food Seduction," which I own and love.)
By the by, the authors of "Skinny Bitch" aren't advocating that we should all be members of the Anorexic Nation. This is all about being healthy, not looking like a Tootsie Pop. But since our culture is all about looks, rightly or wrongly, allow me to introduce the Skinny Bitches of the hour. Looks like they're doing something right.