I recently purchased and completed two books, Skinny Bitch and the sequel, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. (I'll be honest, I bought the two as a boxed set in Target, and though I'll admit that the pop-culturist inside me was morbidly curious after seeing Victoria Beckham photographed with the book, I was more interested in the recipes). What really spurred me to buy the books, though, was the fact that one day when I was Googling where to buy Bionaturae pasta online, I saw that Skinny Bitch gave a shout-out to Bionaturae. Hey, I thought, cool! There might be some good gluten-free information!
Boy, was I wrong.
I mean, the book starts out with good, albeit strongly worded, sensible advice. You want to be skinny? OK, avoid sugar, refined white flour, alcohol, etc. etc. etc. Yes, brown rice pasta and other popular gluten free varieties are healthier for you (go us!).
Then, my opinion and that of the authors diverge. They start talking about the meat industry, the horrible conditions - written in a way that would make any PETA lover proud - and touting not only the moral righteousness of veganism, but the fact that you will never, ever be skinny unless you completely abstain from all animal byproducts. Ms. Freedman and Barnouin, you probably won't ever read this blog entry, and are laughing all the way to the bank, but please - I know that horrible things go on in industrial agriculture, slaughterhouses, and the fact that a large portion of our food industry is corrupt and awful. You want to write an expose on that, be my guest - and I'll probably be one of the first people in line to read the book. But preaching radical veganism under the pretense of dieting and losing weight is just a little too much for me.
Still, I soldiered on and read all about the horrible conditions of the meat industry - after all, I've been reading Fast Food Nation, etc. and this is just more fuel for the fire - and when I got to the part about recommending fasts and purification I decided that having an IQ over 100 means that I am not part of their target demographic. Sorry for the harsh words, but there you have it.
So, I've been sitting on Skinny Bitch in the Kitch for a few weeks now trying to muster up the stomach to actually pick the book up and read it. It's a cookbook full of vegan meals that are all reasonably healthy - a huge emphasis on good carbs and veggies. Not all the recipes are gluten free - they consider whole wheat and barley among the allowed, "good" grains - but most of them are pretty simple and could be modified to be gluten free.
I'll be honest - most of the recipes didn't really look that appetizing to me. The only one that I'd consider making with minimal modifications was the "Spicy Sushi Rolls with Avocado and Cucumber;" pretty self-explanatory. Most of the recipe titles were enclosed in quotes - e.g. "Chicken" sandwiches, "Cheese" dishes - since I'm not a vegetarian, I'd rather have the real thing than a substitute.
Overall - I wouldn't recommend the book. I plan on giving both books to my formerly vegan (and now vegetarian) girlfriend with the instructions to keep it if she thinks the recipes are useful and to donate it otherwise.