I’ll be honest with you and say that I was actually nervous about reading this book. Not because I thought they’d tell me something I didn’t know. Not because I thought they’d point out my eating flaws. But because I was worried that I’d actually take their diet to heart. After recovery, I’ve been very mindful about what I put into my body, but also the messages I get about food. We know I’m a Michael Pollan fan and definitely agree that we need to change the way our food system is in the U.S., but I also feel that everyone’s eating habits are their own for better or for worse. Ultimately when you want to change your lifestyle for any reason, you will.
I had seen this book back when I was sick and knew I had to stay away from it so I helped myself and would always walk away from it. However, when this independent study came together, I knew I was going to have to read it since I knew it was 1. written by two women who formerly worked in the modeling industry and 2. that I had friends who had turned vegetarian or vegan because of it.
So what’s my review? Is it worth reading? This might sound like a wishy-washy answer, but I’m going to answer “yes and no.”
the positive side…
- It focused a lot on eating veggies, fruit and whole grains which we all know are healthy for you and can be quite satisfying.
- It really pushed the notion of eating whole foods, nothing with artificial ingredients, sugars, or preservatives. I believe this is key to living a healthy lifestyle too. While artificial ingredients might make a product ‘low fat’ or ‘sugar-free,’ you’re alternatively putting chemicals into your body. Which would you rather: a little fat and sugar in moderation or chemicals?
- The chapters on meat, dairy and fish are very persuasive. You read the chapters and even if you’ve eaten meat their whole life like I have, you want to immediately become vegan because of some of the practices that go on in factory farming. It wasn’t my first time hearing these things, but after talking with Estela, she put something into perspective for me. These women want you to change your way of life and they’re very good at picking the facts that will make that happen. However, they also leave out what you can do as a consumer who might still want to eat meat. They don’t give you a choice other than veganism which is the focus for this book, but it’s too rigid. Which leads me into…
the negative side…
- If you’ve ever had disordered eating habits or a eating disorder, please do not read this book! It shows a very restrictive diet and basically tells you to go vegan which if you haven’t been raised like that, will just allow you to hold onto our behaviors. This blog wants you to be healthy and happy, not hurting yourself!
- I really hated how the emphasis was always on the word skinny. While the authors do say in the beginning that this book is not about weight loss and just to be the healthiest you can be while still eating ice cream and so forth, I feel that skinny has a negative connotation to it that doesn’t involve health in the definition, but more about appearance.
- I really don’t like books that have a strict meal plan. Everyone’s different with different needs for their body that putting a “one size fits all” plan together isn’t smart. I do like the included recipes and feel like books with more recipes, for certain meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, etc) as opposed to telling you exactly what to eat, are better to provoke a life-long change.
- While I do know that the transition into vegetarianism or veganism can be tough, I feel like if you choose this lifestyle, you should like the whole foods that accompany the diet. This book did include faux-meats if you wanted them, but I feel like if you’re being vegetarian solely to lose weight and eat these foods, you’re just putting more chemicals and processed food into your body which isn’t good.
My personal reaction? I was happy that I was able to read it (ok, I skipped some of the pages and pages of horrible meat packing practices because I had had enough) and look at it objectively. I could see some things I could change in my lifestyle and knew of others I wouldn’t compromise.
As I’ve said before, I’m very into the local food movement and eating as cleaning as possible. As I’ve learned more about the food industry, I have made a conscious effort to only eat meat and diary from organic or local farms. Yes, it is more expensive, but the taste is so much better, it’s eco- friendly, and it’s better for my body. Because of this, my meat and dairy consumption has gone down and I’ve learned how to stretch my dollar using more whole grains and legumes into my diet. I’ve also found hemp and almond milk, which while I don’t drink them plain (and don’t really drink regular milk anymore anyway), they’re a great addition to smoothies, oatmeal and baked goods.
I may have mentioned that I’m semi-vegan now as I have naturally and through my budget that I’ve cut my meat and dairy intake. I’d rather buy the fruits and veggies I love instead. That being said, I will never put a label on myself that will cause me to have a strict diet after my former struggle. It’s about balance. On a normal basis, I cook myself vegan meals, but if I do want meat or some cheese, I’ll eat it too. Actually, I’ll confess I had a pork chop last night. I know, tragic, but I had gotten it from the Amish Market where all their products come from specialized farms, they were so lean, and I was gosh-darn hungry after a ridiculously hot (but fabulous) yoga session! End of story. I still bake with butter, eggs and milk.
So after all that, what’s my real feeling about the book?
If you’re interested and have never had problems with bad behaviors and restricting by all means, read it. It’s interesting. But the choice is yours. Don’t just read this book and change your life. It’s not the only book of it’s kind that tells you to only focus on a specific diet. Choose what’s best for your body, how it feels, and how it works. We’re all different so only choose what’s best for you. Not because you want to be skinny! We want health instead 🙂