Drop all animal products, plus a few other things from your diet, and get a great-looking bod and better health. That’s the plan laid out in the best-selling book Skinny Bitch.
Co-authors/modeling industry vets Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin don't offer specifics about how many pounds you'll lose or how long it will take. They simply note that you'll get slim if you adopt their "way of life."
They say that the massive changes you’ll likely need to make with this diet are worth it -- for the sake of your health and waistline, and the well-being of animals. But don't expect to be coddled while making the transition.
They take tough love to the extreme. Anticipate lots of four-letter words, graphic descriptions of animal processing, and little sympathy for any beliefs that conflict with theirs (which are sometimes outside the mainstream).
What You Can Eat and What You Can't
You need to cut all meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. You'll also need to shun sugar, artificial sweeteners, and refined carbs.
Caffeine and alcohol are strongly discouraged. But an occasional cup of coffee or glass of organic sulfite-free red wine is allowed. They also ask you to eat only organic.
Mostly you'll be eating fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. You can eat as much of these as you like. There’s no calorie counting.
The ideal Skinny Bitch breakfast is fruit. Lunch is a salad and/or vegetables. Dinner is something "heavier," such as a fake chicken patty or tofu stir-fry.
Level of Effort: High
Unless you're already a vegetarian, be prepared for a major lifestyle overhaul. Even the authors acknowledge that adapting to their regimen may leave you feeling "deprived, angry, overwhelmed, and frustrated," especially for the first few months.
Limitations: You'll need to kiss your carnivorous ways good-bye.
Cooking and shopping: You may also need to find a new grocery store. Your regular shop might not stock certain recommended items. Dining out may be difficult. Many of the foods you'll eat require prep work of chopping (think whole fruit and raw veggie salads).
In-person meetings: No.
Exercise: Skinny Bitch recommends carving out about 20 minutes, 5 days a week, for any exercise of your choosing. There are also some Skinny Bitch Fitness DVDs.
Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?
There's some wiggle room. For example, while Skinny Bitch recommends a fruit-only breakfast, it also includes a list of acceptable packaged breakfast items.
What Else You Should Know
Costs: The net cost of embracing the Skinny Bitch diet should be minimal. You'll probably pay more for organic produce and many organic/vegan packaged products. But you'll no longer be shelling out for costly meat, poultry, and fish.
Support: This is a diet you do on your own.
What Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, Says:
Does It Work?
If you follow the Skinny Bitch plan, you’ll probably lose weight because it’s very low in calories, which may also make it hard to follow long-term. You may also fall short in some areas of nutrition.
While most people would benefit from eating a more plant-based diet, cutting out all animal products isn’t necessary.
A vegan diet can be healthy, but some of the suggestions in this book, like waiting until you’re ravenous before eating or fasting to jump-start your weight loss, are not safe and have no evidence to back up their claims.
Is It Good for Certain Conditions?
A well-balanced, calorie-controlled, plant-based diet can be good for heart health, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. But this plan lacks the necessary guidance and includes too much questionable advice to be recommended for any health conditions.
If you're interested in trying a vegan diet, talk to your doctor or dietitian to be sure you're meeting your nutritional and health needs.
The Final Word
If you're looking to clean up your diet with a strict, low-calorie, vegan lifestyle, this book offers a first step, but it also comes with some problematic recommendations.
If you like to eat out, enjoy convenience foods, or eat on a schedule, this diet is not for you.
The straightforward, in-your-face tone of the book is not for the meek or faint of heart.