Monday, April 9, 2012

More from The Skinny Bitch: Book Review, Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps

First off, I want to say that I have never been a fan of the book Skinny Bitch. Not because I don't love a good curse word thrown into any sentence at the appropriate time, but because I read it and it had zero effect on me.

Maybe it was the false promise of "skinny just because you are vegan" that didn't seem to make sense to me, because I knew Vegans who weren't. And I've never been interested in thin for thin's sake. Healthy is and always has been my ideal.

Maybe it was the harsh dissing of coffee, which I admit, I am lovingly addicted to.

So why I agreed to do a review of Kim Barnouin's newest release, Skinny Bitch, Book of Vegan Swaps, is beyond me. I guess the lure of free product was just too much to resist. Or the fascination with the promulgation of this myth that Vegan equals thin or Vegan by definition equals healthy, which is patently false. It's a complete lie perpetuated by large food companies that are looking to replace the dollars they are losing because 1% of us are waking up to the truth about processed food. One percent of a billion dollars is a lot of money to lose.

But here I am. I have agreed and I will deliver.

If you are a reader of HGK, you do not need this book on your shelf. You are way beyond thinking that because a cookie is made with 100% organic sugar and organic flour that it is good for you, so why would you need a list of all of the tasty 100% organic packaged Vegan cookies out there?

Or my personal favorite (read pet peeve): how about swapping butter with Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread? That's sure gonna get you skinny, right?

Now, in Ms. Barnouin's defense, she does say, "Work a fruit or vegetable into every meal."

A fruit or vegetable? one? How about 5?

"KEEP IT WHOLESOME. Your diet should focus on whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruit and veggies. If that's tough to remember, your food should be in it's most natural state--the less processed the better." p. 52

Then why, Ms. Barnouin, write an entire book, two hundred and seventy two pages, listing processed food that lines the shelves of the inside of a grocery store. Vegan or not, who gives a shit?

To be totally fair, I know who might need this book.

I was all ready to publish this scathing book review even against my own best interests (saying anything critical of anyone or anything these days might just get you into a whole heap of trouble), when I had a conversation with a woman who changed my mind.

You see, she was interested in how to improve her health and the way that she feels. She had kind of gotten wind of the "meatless meals" phenomenon, but she felt very unsure of how to proceed or even where to begin. She told me that she ate a whole lotta cheese at every meal, but that she was curious about how to change that. She also was clear that in no way was she becoming a Vegan, turning any food down that other people had prepared for her, or causing trouble in restaurants. But she knew enough to be curious about what we have going on over here.

What she did not know was where to begin. Never heard of Eat to Live nor The Engine 2 Diet. The terms Plant-strong and Nutritarian were completely unfamiliar to her.

But she knew she was eating too much cheese and she wanted to know how to stop.

I told her about Daiya, that it tasted pretty okay but that I would only use it sparingly and that she should know that it was no healthier for her than real cheese. But if she needed it to transition away from cheese and into eating mainly plants, that I was on board with that.

And that is exactly who the Book of Vegan Swaps is for.

What would I really like to see from the authors of  Skinny Bitch? How about a book about ditching all of the Vegan processed food and doing what it would really take to be healthy? Now that would be something I could get behind.

Because we need as many authors and authorities with a real voice to tell us the honest truth. That salty, sugary, oily processed foods might even be worse for us than, dare I say it, truly free range, grass fed, humanely raised animal products? 

I'm sorry, Earth Balance just ain't "healthy."

Did you use processed Vegan transition foods to ultimately get you to a Nutritarian or Plant-strong diet? Or did you go cold turkey one day and give up animals and processed food all in one go?

Animal welfare aside, in your opinion, what's worse for human health--The chicken or the Gardein? The butter or the Earth Balance? The cheese or the Daiya? 

How often do you eat faux meats (not homemade Seitan and such) or other Vegan packaged products (can even include packaged baked goods)? Do you read the labels of the processed Vegan foods that you purchase? If so, what are your standards for purchase?  

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