Thursday, February 28, 2008

Book Review: Skinny Bitch

There are many reasons America is full of the unfit, the latest contribution hurting forward progress is the book Skinny Bitch. A New York Times Bestseller and "secret diet" of the stars, Skinny Bitch is an emphatic endorsement of veganism. Militant veganism.

Now, as Crossfitters we strive to eat only what is necessary to fuel the body for performance and recovery, typically through a hormonally intelligent nutritional plan (Zone, Paleo, Natural Hormonal Enhancement, Metabolic Diet). That being said, in order to efficiently perform and repair the body, one must consume an adequate amount of protein, the most effective and available source is animal protein.

Skinny Bitch will have you believe that eating (more like not eating) for any reason other than being skinny is unhealthy and immoral. Wow. They even suggest some wonderful ways to stave off your hunger and lose weight; "If you're hungry, drink a big glass of cold water. It should keep you full for a few more hours before you have to eat. Or, my favorite, "Donate blood. You'll lose weight AND help save a life."

I understand that the delivery method of their completely unfounded nutritional advocation is meant to cause a rise, it gets attention. But, it is also dangerous. Condoning veganism to be skinny is sentencing their disciples to a myriad of nutritional deficiencies and probable osteoporosis by their mid-30s. You can't stress the body when you're too tired to get out of bed.

I respect everyone's personal nutritional choices; vegetarian, carnivore, omnivore even veganism. What I cannot understand and what most folks who decide to become Skinny Bitches or Bastards underestimate, is the tremendous dedication and vigilance a vegan lifestyle requires in order to be nutritionally balanced. You cannot choose a harder dietary path (if done correctly) than veganism. Don't be a vegan because some British import endorses a book. I'm sure she can't do pull-ups. Or push-ups. Or Fran.

Read the book (on a rest day, it only takes 45 minutes). Post thoughts to comments.

Think about what you're eating.

Coach Kevin


Aaron said...

A lot of the ladies in my office right now are talking about this book like it's the second coming of Christ. I didn't know much what the content of the book was, but I could sure tell by what they were saying and the "habits" they were developing were the near opposite of anything that sounded remotely healthy. Maybe I need to bring in a container of Meat Cookies™ to share; I'd probably be treated as a كافر

J.D. said...

Kev im soooo glad you brought this up! I hate this book with a passion! I was in Tahoe with catherine and one of her friends had it. They said it was a no nonesense call you out for being fat and to do something about it read... I thought oh thats edgy, what a clever name for a book. lets see what they have to say. Well let me tell you it took all of my power not to start world war 3. I was actually enraged at what i read in 10 minutes. Not only did I find this book extremly dangerous physically and mentally to its target audience, but it offered no evidence or research base as to why be a vegan (except other girls are skinnier than you). I also had a heart attack from the ensuing further rage when I found it was an NY times bestseller.
Too many people, especially us Americanos, want the shortcut to being fit or skinny. It doesn't exist. Dont be a sheep... use your brain. You have incisors to tear meat, now go use them

Adrian said...

I dunno guys, I think it's kinda hot when it looks like a woman's neck can barely support her head...


Aaron said...

JD, can you put me in touch w/ Catherine's friend? I have this bridge I've been looking to get rid of for a while now...

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that after reading the book JD made all of these chicks do 150 Burpees, or no 100 squats, 75 sit-ups, 50 pushups, 25 burpees, 50 pushups, 75 situps and another 100 squats and was physically forcing meat cookies down their throats as they gasped for air in Tahoe. Im with you Cafaro. ----Lucas

Hollie said...

Well done Coach Kevin!

Plainly stated--women are dumb b*&%$'s sometime. In moments of weakness, even I fall prey to diet ploys, i.e. diet soda when I'm at Costco buying my polish sausage and soda for $1.50! My hand gravitates towards the diet...I can't explain it--but my husband despises it.
You can still be of small build and strong. I'm 5'3", 112lbs. and can do pullups and man-makers like no one's business.
Be strong ladies! Eat your red meat--you know it tasts good and you need the iron!

Sarah said...

I read this book awhile ago, and from the get-go I thought it was ridiculous. I'm so happy to see that a somewhat "expert" on the topic agrees. They're probably all skinny fat anyway...

FilthyBrit said...

Damn British Imports!

(Wait a second....)



Anonymous said...

Any photos of hot looking hos in that book?

Olivia de Santis said...

I take your classes and I'm some New Zealand import who has been vegan for going on 8 years. Skinny Bitch aside, I have to say I'm very disappointed to see the same old attacks on veganism recycled in this entry and in the comments.

It is incredibly misleading to say that it is very difficult for vegans living in the western world to get enough protein, that it requires "tremendous vigilance" to stay nutritionally balanced, and that one cannot find a harder dietary path. (What diet doesn't take knowledge and thought to be nutritionally balanced? How many omnivores out there live on McDonalds and Coke?)

To say that a vegan weight loss diet will lead to osteoporosis is outrageous. For one, vegans are not more likely to get osteoporosis than omnivores. In fact, this USDA document suggests that high amounts of animal protein can actually cause lower bone density in women.

In addition to this, Skinny Bitch is not the first and certainly won't be the last vegan diet for weight loss. For instance, Dr. McDougall has prescribed vegan diets for health and weight loss for 30 years, would have something to say about your claims.

I also have to mention I'd love to see the pictures of the authors of Skinny Bitch in their military outfits. You did say militant, right? All these women did was write a book. That hardly qualifies as militant. If the standard of militant veganism is judged by these women, then you're probably a militant omnivore!

At any rate, I'll be there on Monday, and I'm happy to talk to you more in person if you're interested. I really hate for fitness professionals that I respect to be misinformed on vegan nutrition and overall health.

PS: as a bonus for reading this far, here's my pal xep. vegan longer than i've been, an amazing athlete, circus performer, and the gentlest spirit I know.

Kevin C Steinmuller said...


Thank you for your comments. I truly appreciate your input and knowledge on the matter of veganism; I am not, nor do I proclaim to be an expert on the subject. I apologize if you feel my blog attacked veganism, it must have been a poorly presented argument. For this I am at fault. Because my argument and my purpose in blogging about Skinny Bitch was to expose HOW DANGEROUS this book, not veganism, truly is.

I did not set out to cast aspersions on vegans nor to disrespect those who follow this nutritional/life path. Truth be told, I could care less about what people eat; nuts and berries, vegetables, animal products, tooth paste, hot pockets, I really don't give a shit as long as the consumer is happy with themself. I really don't want to be bothered with gettting bogged down in an argument about veganism.

What I do want to argue about is what I know as a fitness profesional. This blog about Skinny Bitch was directed at all the ignorant, uneducated and downright lambs of humanity (no pun intended) who will happily march down the path of veganism because they read this book. Written by two former modeling professionals (credible) with back-of-the-cereal box nutritional degrees, this book (like I said in the blog) is dangerous because of the ideas it espouses. Do you know why America has obesity problem? Because someone 30 odd years ago decided that fat was bad and starches and grains were the answer for health and fitness. That worked out really well, too. I see the same dangerous rhetoric in this book. We as a society are moronic in terms of proper nutrition. I deal with the fragile psyches of clients who somewhere along the line decided being "skinny" was a goal in spite of their overall health. If these same people spent as much time educating themselves in terms of proper nutrition (vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, whatever) as they did starving themselves and denying themselves sustenance to be a size smaller, I think the world would be a much better place. But, no, "I had a bad weekend of eating...I'm not going to eat until Thursday and I'll lose that 3 pounds." That is my daily world and that is what I deal with. So, forgive me if I offended veganism; I meant to serve a caveate to the weak-willed and weak-mined who when they read this book, will be vegans by Ch. 3, with no course of action of planned and no knowledge of how to do it properly.

Furthermore, as a vegan, I would think you would denounce this book. It is a disservice to those (yourself and the incredible xep included) who actually educate themselves and do things right. Eating well, regardless of your nutritional choices is difficult, you are correct. It is not unlike when the CF main site posts pics/vids of large breasted or provocatively dressed women. That is a complete disservice to my profession and it undermines the integrity of what I do. I am a fitness professional and to ally myself with that shit only hurts me.

Oh, yes I probably would be considered a militant omnivore based on my personal consumption. But, then again I married a vegetarian =)

I hope accept my apology and understand I am not attacking veganism. I'll be happy to speak with you more on Monday.

Thanks for the dialogue.


J.D. said...

Good clarifycation kev. im guilty too as a militant omnivore, i admit it... and i think kevin voiced what i don't like about the book better than i ever could. I dont hate vegans or vegetarians, just think the book is dangerous. The book only became popular after someone saw Posh Spice carrying a copy while shopping in LA. Thats sad and extremly scary to me. The press, soon after, gave the book praise mostly for its filthy launguage (which i admit is a good gimick and the only part of the book i really liked) and not dietary soundness or medical professional advocacy. Maybe it is just a metaphor for some of the bigger problems we have that a diet or book became popular because a celebrity was spotted holding it. Also by the way, Posh does not endorse this book in any way according to her publicist in a released statement.

J.D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.D. said...

I think as far as Osteopenia is concerned, since we are on a crossfit website, it should be noted that numerous studies show that the mechanical loading of bones promotes bone strength and growth across all age demographics. This is basically proof of whats often referred to as Wolfe's Law. This means that active loaded excercise like squats, pushups, pullups and other things we do 4-6 times a week plays a much greater role in out BMD (bone mass density) than our diet alone. Something as CF disciples we can all rejoice about!

I very much like and respect you Olivia! ... and i realize one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. In that spirit and in refute to the USDA article, please see this article as it directly references studies like the one done at uc davis. There are link to several other related studies at the bottom of the page as well. Just something to think about is all.

El Jeffe Grande said...

Dear Kevin,

I must say that I found your comments regarding the "New Zealand" import to be truly offensive! I can't live without my toothpaste sauced hot pockets (I typically microwave two or three at a time in my tupperware, pepperoni-YUM) and to say that I may be wrong... You have no right to attack toothpaste hotpocket lovin' bay area livin' crossfitn' folks.

All jokes aside. The only thing I got out of her remarks was that she is way to sensitive. Can't people eat in silence? I tend to find that most people on extreme diets are quite sensitive so I try to avoid them at all costs, not to mention they are no fun to have over for dinner.

It is repugnant that this book is actually out, but it is, and just think... The stupid a** people who follow that diet won't be around long. Problem solved!

Olivia said...

Hey El Jeffe, I was "eating in silence" before the topic was brought up. Chill out - no one is stealing the steak from your plate. In fact, maybe it's best if you just shush while the grown-ups have a conversation about nutrition.

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