Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Omnivorous, Fat, n' Friendly

Like all good American girls, I am known to fret about my weight.

No, let me be honest: at times I drive gentle, kindly Hockeyman insane with my weight-related wails.

Skinny Bitch may well be the first (alas, not the last) chick-lit diet book. In coarse, it's-just-us-girls language, we gals are warned off soda, coffee, fats, refined sugars, dairy, meat, and eggs.

In other words, this is a vegan diet book sheathed in swearing and girl talk.

Authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, Los Angeles denizens, are, respectively, an ex-model booker and an ex-model. They are thus eminently qualified to weigh in on food fads, extreme dieting, and the anorexic female ideal. We are supposed to be reassured by "Amy Joy Lanou, senior nutrition scientist for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an advocacy and research group that promotes a diet free of animal products...Ms. Lanou said she made a few suggestions about citations and nuance in their claims."

Thank goodness. I just want to be sure skinny bitchdom is healthy before embarking on my end-of-summer regime.

Even more importantly, Posh Spice, aka Mrs. Beckham, was photographed carrying the book in a Los Angeles boutique. In said photo, Ms. Posh, looking all of eighty pounds, holds the book rather like a handbag. But she isn't reading it:

"Whether Ms. Beckham actually read “Skinny Bitch” is unclear; her agent and her publicist did not return calls or e-mail messages seeking comment. In a 2005 interview with the Spanish magazine Chic, she admitted to having never read a book in her life."

Oh. Well, maybe I should check the Atkins diet out instead.


I think it's safe to say all but the most uneducated Americans--whose economic problems are arguably more worrisome than their diets--are pretty much up on nutrition basics. Like, fast food is really bad, soda ain't great, and, if you are at all able, you might check out the organic aisle. For those so inclined, moderation in all things is also a helpful consideration in contemplating your next mouthful.

Further, veganism, vegetarianism, and meat-eating are all choices. Veganism, with its heavy dependence on soy products for protein, may not offer the most balanced diet. If you are in an ecomomic bracket where you're able to worry about your weight, a free-range, organic egg is a pretty good deal: high in healthy fats, low in calories (a whopping seventy), cheaper than a chunk of grass-fed cow. Vegetarianism, in its less extreme forms, at least allows this much--along with butter and cheese--sources of fats necessary for human function. Otherwise you are left to combine legumes, seeds, nuts, avocados, and soy-based products with your fruits and veggies and hope for the best.

You don't have to take my untrained word for it. Former vegetarian Jessica Prentice makes an informed argument for humanely-raised animal foods in Full Moon Feast. Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is also an excellent resource with helpful sidebars from Kingsolver's husband, Steven Hopp. Mr. Hopp, regrettably, is not an ex-model, ex-model booker, or former momentary top forty sensation. He is a biologist.

But forget a moment about getting a "sweet ass." Put aside your all-consuming desire to resemble a woman who publicly admits she has never read a book.

Stand up.

Now look down. Admire what a fine job your fat, varicose-veined (ahem...) legs are doing holding you up. God, isn't that amazing?

Sit back down. Grab your mouse and scroll down a bit. Your hand did exactly what you asked it to! Whoa!

And your eyes! Yeah, they're imperfect. You need contact lenses, or, like me, trifocals. Still, you're reading my screed. I mean, here were are. We aren't starving in Darfur, or getting shot at in Iraq, or losing our young limbs in a dirty oil war. We aren't--poor souls--at the bottom in of Mississippi River. We're busy worrying about the size of our asses, a body part unseen by us without dint of two mirrors and much neck craning.

We're more fortunate than we realize.

Our bodies, for the most part, are not what we'd like them to be. The media has seen to that nicely. But with $14.99 in hand, you have a choice. You can buy Skinny Bitch, on sale at your nearest Walmart (If you buy in Mexico, remember to tip the bagger on your way out), or you can get yourself a nice hunk of beef. Or an organic chicken. Or some really gorgeous produce, with a runny French cheese for dessert. Now make yourself a lovely dinner, and as you saw through your steak, feel sorry for those poor skinny bitches, whose I.Q.'s are decreasing due to malnutrition.


Blogger herschelian said...

I am a Fat Bitch with a Skinny Bitch inside clamouring to get out - but after reading your brilliant post I have firmly told SB to stop all her moaning and let FB get on with her life.
BTW we Londoners were delighted to see the back of Posh, you're welcome to her. Don't she and Paris Hilton make a lovely matched pair!

August 03, 2007 10:20 AM  
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