“Skinny Bastard” review–and welcome featured blogger!
It gives me great pleasure to introduce a new featured blogger who will be making regular appearances here at Cake & Carrots. This very special person will be sharing his nutrition experiences from the male perspective. So much information out there is geared towards women , but I’ve found that more often it’s the guys that need the most help (right, ladies?). Their resources include Men’s Health, and eating what their wives/girlfriends/buddies eat. Not such good options. After all, men have just as much bioindividuality as women, so it’s important that they learn what works for them, too. So, Matt will be illuminating us on his experiences on the road of health and wellness.
So, without further ado, please welcome my fabulous husband (Happy 2 year anniversary!). A writer by trade and hobby, he’s a natural blogger and has a way with words that I will never have. For the gentlemen that read this blog, please feel free to ask Matt questions. As my personal guinea pig, he’s been subjected to almost every diet, every crazy trend out there, or at the very least has watched me on my adventures, so please pick his brain!
Skinny Bastard: A review.
“How I learned to stop eating meat and still be able to look myself in the mirror.”
Yes, there is a book called Skinny Bastard. No, I don’t want to be a skinny bastard. A fit one maybe, but not skinny.
If you’re like me, the next few sentences you read will have you saying that I have lost my freaking mind and what I’m about to tell you sounds great in theory, but really are more practical for anyone else but you. That was my thought too as I started reading this book that Amanda gave me. Lately I’ve felt like a human guinea pig, subject to whatever learnings Amanda had picked up from her current week’s lesson at either NYU or IIN. To keep marital bliss, I’ve remained open to “trying” new food and even gone to the occasional vegan/vegetarian restaurant, knowing that in my “alone time” or time out with the boys I can indulge in my buffalo wings, cheese steaks, chicken burritos and god knows what else.
So when Amanda handed me this book, she warned me to take it with a grain of salt. She told me that the book would preach the benefits of a mostly vegan diet, something that I shrugged off as though she was crazy. Vegan? Are you out of your (expletive) mind? Still, i gave it a read.
A few weeks back Amanda and I saw Food Inc…, which she has praised gloriously and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand just what the hell is going on with our food system. I found it enlightening not because I believe that eating meat is wrong, but it’s enlightening to see just how bad the American food system is, how treating animals (and even our agriculture, crops, and soil) poorly creates a chain reaction that makes our food supply toxic, dangerous, and in the end makes us more sick. I say this merely to set the stage for my frame of mind walking into the book.
Skinny Bastard spends the better part of the first half grossing you out. Literally. They explain to you how our food supply is toxic, and how animals mistreatment ultimately affects you by passing on their sickness and chemicals onto you. You learn incredible things like how the poor conditions for the animals actually harms the food you buy at the supermarket (did you know that milk contains trace amounts of rocket fuel? Apparently that’s ok, the government thinks it’s cool to have some in your diet, in case you need that extra zoom). So even if you don’t care about the cruelty-free aspect of it, you’ll care a lot when you realize that what you don’t know you are putting into your body is likely going to make you very sick one day. (The chemicals and preservatives and hormones in most meat are known to cause cancer and other diseases).
As I was reading the chapters on how our food supply is toxic, how the FDA and USDA is a joke, I found myself becoming VERY VERY ANGRY. Angry at both the authors of the book and also my wife. I was pissed because I realized how much of a life of blissful ignorance i’ve been living, and how i’ve spent the better part of my life thinking that things like milk, chicken, and even eggs were super healthy for me. I never really thought about how polluted beef that isn’t grass fed is, and how the government applies literally no standards to make sure you don’t get sick from what you’re eating (and has voluntary systems in place in the event of a needed recall. Read: If any food is tainted or dangerous, it’s only voluntary that a company has to recall the product in). I was amazed to find out that most of the people who run the FDA or USDA are people who were lobbyists at some other point in their careers. Lots of conflicts of interest, and a realization that it’s no surprise nothing gets done by these organizations to make things better. As I was saying, I became very upset to learn that our food is considered so polluted that other countries won’t import our any of our meat. No high demand for botulism laced t-bone from Iowa.
But more so, I became angry that I now know I could no longer live the life I did before, just eating any food from any place because I knew the truth. Part of me feels as though I have been indoctrinated. Like the authors intent is to freak you out so much that you have to change your ways. And maybe that’s where Skinny Bastard succeeds. Even if it grosses you out, and shows you what’s really going on behind the scenes, it does so for the better good. And I honestly think that it, like Food Inc.., has some lessons that can help save your life. (The two authors by the way, are pretty hot, and they talk like dudes, so it’s kind of funny to read a book written by women with a chapter entitled, “Don’t be a pussy.”)
So what’s my take-away from this book? Well, I haven’t eaten chicken in a month. I can safely say that i’ve eaten some form of tempeh, tofu or other soy based product every day, and increased my veggie intake by about 75%. Reading this book has taught me that you can actually live (and live pretty darn well) on a diet of food that isn’t fried or processed, and not feel deprived in the slightest. That you can up your veggie intake in a way that still is satisfying and cook food that tastes good, and (surprisingly) makes you feel pretty darn good too. There are a gazillion recipes you can make that make this food taste good. Never in my life did I think I would be able to get away with making sweet potato fries 3-4 nights a week in THIS house. (Turns out Yams are like a super food…one of the healthiest on the planet)
In the past month, cutting out meat and upping my veggie intake, i’ve lost about 4 pounds. That was a bi-product as the truth is I’m just feeling a hell of a lot better these days. I don’t have the cravings and hunger crashes, and my body seems to be getting along well with me better than ever.
Trust me, it may sound like i’ve gone hippie. But I hate pachouli, and I won’t wear Birkenstocks. I like leather belts, and i still enjoy beer. (OK, bailey’s too). I don’t see myself completely adopting every piece of advice in this book, but I found it to be a great resource for any guy who wants to know how to get themselves healthier, and stop lying to themselves and pull back the curtain. You’ll probably go through the 7 stages of grief (7? HOw many are there?) to eventually see the light, but in the end I think it is worth opening your eyes to. Your body will thank you, you’ll probably live longer, and for those single guys, you’ll probably get more girls too.
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