Be a Healthy Bitch!

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People have had polarized views of Skinny Bitch duo Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman. Of complaints that are most reasonable, are those that suggest these ladies are more concerned with body image (and by body, we mean, skinny bodies) than they are with health and happiness. I get that, but then again, I think their point is that skinny bodies are the healthiest bodies, and if you are doing everything right, you must be skinny. As a not-so-skinny vegan I’m not sure that is always fair, but then again, I fail epically when it comes to their demands. First and foremost, I probably drink too much beer for their liking.

However, I credit these rudettes with my then vegetarian conversion. I had been a vegetarian as a tween, but later in highschool and in college, I went back to eating meat. In my final year of college, two things happened in the same week. First, a professor of Islamic philosophy had us read some pieces from some ancient (I now wish I knew who it was) about the morality of killing animals, and then my sufi-hallal professor went on to disavow the consumption of animal products, at length, reminding us about the levels of pus and blood in milk, etc. Well, at that moment, everything I had known for years, and felt strongly about, could no longer be contained. I had such an emotional reaction, and such a forceful rejection of my lifestyle. I instantly, cold-turkey, went vegan, but it took some months of going back to dairy and eggs and even seafood before settling on a vegetarian diet, and about a year and a half later, a vegan one. The second thing that happened, in the same week, was that a customer at my restaurant recommended Skinny Bitch to me after I recounted my sudden change. She said she had just started reading it and it had changed her life already. Well, it sounded like exactly what I needed.

I had just picked it up from Chapters, and Rachelle and I were cruising accross town, hungover, cigarette in one hand, coffee in the other, as I read aloud the first chapter on coffee. And cigarettes. I dropped both in utter disgust. Ok, so it sounds like I am totally impressionable. I am. I admit it. Deeply and utterly impressionable. Again, I fought long and hard with many addictions and bad habits, and despite that moment, it took me years to kick many of them. Rachelle was not so convinced, (and to be honest, I am still not always sure she is, especially when it comes to alcohol and coffee). But, after reading her the slaughterhouse chapters especially she was won over, and again, after a year or so of just eating seafood, she also went vegetarian.

I am not sure if the details in Skinny Bitch aren’t totally sensationalized, or if they are totally accurate, but regardless, the book has a profound affect on people. I still remember Rachelle and I sitting in a booth – me wanting to read to her from Skinny Bitch, and her, telling me that she didn’t want to hear it – and seeing how the words and descriptions could change a person so dramatically. She knew what happened in slaughterhouses and to animals, she had been in them, and had once been working towards veterinary school, but still she didn’t want to hear it. More, and more, I am convinced that people just don’t want to hear it. But when they do, my hope, is that they may have a change of heart. We did.

Anyways, the whole point of this is to introduce the site, “Healthy Bitch Daily”, brainchild of co-author Kim Barnouin. Healthy Bitch Daily is a daily e-newsletter about vegan products, people, foods, and ideas. Also, signing up will enter you in some sweet sweepstakes. HBD is full of eco-chic living ideas, product reviews and ideas for healthy happy living. It’s my new go-to, so get-to-it.

Also, if you haven’t read Skinny Bitch, do. And if you have, considering buying it as a gift for friends and family, or re-gift your copy.

Erika

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3 Responses to Be a Healthy Bitch!

  1. Kristy says:

    I want to read the book now.

  2. Kendra M says:

    I actually went and read this book because of this post, and I’m glad I did – although I don’t think I’ll read it again. While I appreciate their no-nonsense style of writing (okay, I’ll admit it, I enjoy curse words) and I think many of their facts are pretty sound, I ultimately found it a bit too superficial. However, I think it’s a great book to give to someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about animal welfare or the health issues that may come from eating animal products, and even for those people who do know quite a bit this book can serve as a bit of a wake-up call or a reminder. I certainly found the slaughterhouse chapter heartbreaking, even though it wasn’t new material for me. I actually had to put the book down and go for a walk.

    My only real problem with the book is, of course, its promotion of skinniness. I don’t think it’s the case that all healthy bodies are skinny bodies, and there are some significant race/class issues here that I find both problematic and worthy of deconstruction. Interestingly, there’s a postscript in the book where Kim & Rory say that they don’t think being skinny is important – they just want to convince everyone to be healthier and to stop contributing to the horrific suffering of animals, and for some people trying to be skinnier is, perhaps, the only way they’ll change their habits. This made me a bit less uncomfortable!

    Anyway, all of that was really just to say thank you for the recommendation, I’m glad I read it, it did have a profound impact on me, and although I see some problems with part of its message I would rather these issues be made public so there can be dialogue about them than ignored because they produce discomfort. Also, I’m enjoying “Healthy Bitch Daily.” Thanks for that too!

  3. thegenkischolar says:

    Thank you for the lovely and thoughtful response Kendra.

    I think you have hit the nail on the head. Perhaps better said than I originally put it. It is a great primer, a good first read, to get people interested and motivated. Any other sort of book might not be of great interest to non-veggies, but this book speaks at a lot of different levels, and as you mentioned, even if it does first speak to our body obsessions, perhaps the ends justify it? Despite many of its problems, it seems to have this profound effect on everyone that reads it, so for me, it continues to be a reason to share it with everyone I know.

    Glad you’re following!

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