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Book Reviews-Skinny Bitch and The Wisdom of Menopause

January 3, 2008

Happy New Year to all! 🙂

I hope that you are gearing up for 2008! Writing down your goals, thinking about what you want to accomplish this month, in the next 6 months, or the next year. I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions; however, I think that it is important to write out some goals-short term and long term. There is power in writing down what you want to achieve and in constantly reviewing and examining the goals you set for yourself. I hope that you will also do the same!

Over the holidays, I read two books related to health & fitness. The first is called “The Wisdom of Menopause” by Christiane Northrup, M.D., and the other is called “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. I wanted to share my thoughts on these two books because I feel that they touched on some very good topics that might interest you.

The Wisdom of Menopause was a fantastic read, and I urge any woman who is nearing menopause or going through menopause to read it. Menopause can be a trying time for many women. So many changes occur in a females body at this time, and it seems that the majority of women feel that they must undergo HRT (hormone replacement therapy) to alleviate the many symptoms that they experience during this phase in their life.

Dr. Northrup not only covers HRT and other options available (bioindentical hormones, alternative methods), but she also delves into the metaphysical-how your emotional state and how stress play an integral role in the negative symptoms of menopause.

She discusses topics such as sleep, thyroid dysfunction, food and supplements, healing foods, traditional Chinese medicine for Menopause, hormonal imbalance, depression, changing skin care, osteoporosis, sunlight and bone health, breast health, heart disease, and many, many more. She also goes into great detail about what she had to do to control her weight. This included:

1. Increasing exercise time (tada! a no-brainer, of course 🙂
2. Getting her thyroid checked (low thyroid function is associated with a decreased metabolic rate).
3. Eating foods that normalize insulin and blood sugar levels and balance hormones (the SAD-Standard American Diet is usually the culprit of many diseases and hormonal imbalances)
4. Cutting down on food intake
5. Eliminating grain products most of the time
6. Reducing her consumption of desserts to no ore than once per week
7. Making lunch her biggest meal of the day while eating very lightly at dinner
8. Making peace with a weight that she could maintain without further changing her lifestyle (I think this is KEY!)

Whew! That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, unfortunately, it is the truth. No, I am not going through menopause so I do not know what it is like personally, but science tells us that our bodies DO change over the years, our metabolic rates WILL slow down, and because of these changes, we MUST change what we are doing if we want to remain at a healthy weight.

I used to eat 2 Whoppers (and then some) in one sitting as a teenager (no lies!). Those days are long gone. It starts happening mid-twenties and keeps plummeting. Boo-hoo.

I feel that this book should be on every woman’s shelf! Because Dr. Northrup combines modern medicine with an alternative mindset, I feel that she touches on what most conventional doctors would not discuss. The mind/body connection!

You can order it a half.com, amazon.com, or pick it up at Borders or Barnes and Noble. It is a very important book and a great read!

The next book I read is a popular book called “Skinny Bitch”. Nice title, eh? Well, these two ladies took the clever route and named it Skinny Bitch to get attention. And it has. Even the language they use in the book will get your attention-it will make you laugh, disgust you, or shock you. These two ladies write this book with such an honest tone, that at times I was laughing aloud. For example, an blurb on soda:

“Brace yourselves, girls: Soda in liquid Satan. It is the devil. It is garbage. There is nothing in soda that should be put into your body…Now don’t go patting yourself on the back if you drink diet soda. That stuff is even worse. Aspartame has been blamed for a slew of scary maladies…when methyl alcohol, a component of aspartame, enters your body, it turns into formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is toxic and carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Laboratory scientist use formaldehyde as a disinfectant or preservative. They don’t fucking drink it. Perhaps you have a lumpy ass because you are preserving your fat cells with diet soda…”

As you can see, the tone is BLUNT. Too blunt, possibly? I think so. I don’t think it is necessary to go so far as to call someone a “fat ass” to get them to see that diet soda, dairy products, or sugar is not healthful for them. I think that tone of language is demeaning and discouraging.

However, I do feel that at times, these ladies are thought-provoking and bring up some very important topics-portion sizes, diet foods/drinks/the FDA (food and drug administration), organic food, carbs (and why they are NOT bad), caffeine, dairy products, staying regular, exercise, etc. They have some amazing points, and I am glad they are getting the word out to people who may be misinformed about these topics.

But once again, the tone. The tone is just a bit too irresponsible for my taste. If we are going to write a book, speak powerful words, we must also take into account that we may be affecting people (negatively!). I do not feel that it is necessary to use the words fat, fat-ass, lumpy, etc. etc. etc.

The authors also touch upon the topic of vegetarianism. I have researched both sides of vegetarianism, and I used to be a vegan for many years. I know both sides of this story. Hey, if you don’t like meat, don’t eat it. But the authors give a very weak argument for veganism.

I understand that the animals we kill for meat in this country are killed very inhumanly-there is no doubt about that. It is pretty sick, actually. Also, I feel that most people eat too much meat and we are probably not eating the right KIND of meat. Much of our meat is filled with hormones and antibiotics-pretty nasty stuff. However, their argument lacks the science behind it. The very fact that we cannot obtain vitamin B-12 from a pure vegan diet should tell us something-that we need some sort of animal product in our bodies to obtain this vitamin.

They tell the reader that because we don’t have the jaws, teeth, or talons to hunt or eat flesh, then we should not be eating flesh. Hmmmmm. Not such a great argument. They tell the reader that meat is rotting flesh in your body. Everything you eat is pretty much rotting in your body, ladies-it is called digestion. And then we excrete it. Not a good argument. They tell the reader that “your body can’t handle animal fat, so it settles like lumpy shit all over your ass, thighs, sides, arms, and stomach.” I know of many, many athletes who are so svelte and toned-and they all eat meat. A statement that lacks any science or much thought, if you ask me.

Now, I am an advocate of eating what feels best to YOU-if you don’t like meat, if you are disgusted by it, or if you want to avoid the hormones and antibiotics (if you choose not to buy your meat organic/free range), then by all means, don’t eat it. But I feel these the authors took it a bit too far when they wrote this chapter on the disasters of meat.

When writing a book that may be read by thousands or even millions, at least back up your claims with science, and if you choose to use your personal opinions, then state clearly, “THIS IS MY PERSONAL OPINION AND NOT FACT!!!”

If you do want a slap in the face, a wake-up call to some of the dangers that are prevalent in the food industry, then I would recommend this book. I do not recommend it to those who are easily offended. I have a copy-if you would like to read it, please ask me to borrow it so you don’t have to go out and purchase it.

One last note-one of the authors of this book holds a Masters Degree of Science in Holistic Nutrition-wonderful! The other is a “self-taught know it all”. Excuse me? What on earth does that mean? I believe that most of our education is taught outside of the institution; however, if you are going to be writing books about health topics and making a lot of money doing so, then you’d better have some sort of degree. Come on, now.

My next blog will be another rebuttal to some of the topics the authors discussed in “Skinny Bitch”. I believe in constantly reading, researching, and thinking about what is personally best for you and only you. There is SO much information out there today-keep reading and choose wisely!

Until next time! All the Best in 08!!!

Love,
Jeannette

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    January 4, 2008 8:43 pm

    Thanks for reading that so I don’t have to! Sounds a little extreme to me, even if they do have some good points.

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