Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food - Cookbook Review
Kick Your Fake Food Habit, Kickstart Your Weight Loss
By Christine Avanti
(Rodale Books, 2011)
Much like the processed foods Christine Avanti recommends you avoid, the packaging of "Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food" is deceiving. In between a cheesy cover and an unhelpful layout (stories and health tips are dispersed throughout the book without effective transitions), you will find a useful guide to the so-called real food diet.
For those of us who have been spreading the low-fat cream cheese and margarine in the name of good health, we are in the wrong. Avanti encourages us to go back to butter, whole milk, local produce and beef, albeit grass-fed. To her, healthy eating is all about cooking from scratch with organic and natural ingredients, and avoiding the pre-made meals and protein bars on which so many diets depend.
Avanti is ruthless on factory food and goes into disturbing detail about how processed foods are made. Non-fat dairy products are full of additives and chemicals to improve the taste. Chicken nuggets can contain ammonia. Yes, she means the same ammonia used in cleaning products and methamphetamine.
In case the methods used to manufacture processed food were not troubling enough, she also discusses how the food industry is making eating healthy harder with deceptive labeling. According to Avanti, food manufacturers jumped on health crazes in the worst way, by making people think they were doing the right thing. Examples? White flour is often labeled as "wheat flour" or "enriched wheat flour" to make us think we are eating the healthier "whole wheat flour." The FDA has no regulations on "lightly sweetened" or "low sugar" labels, so there is no guarantee.
Luckily, there's hope. Avanti sprinkles in some stories of people who turned their lives around with real food diets. She also gives tips on how to track down farmers markets that sell real food, and provides several yummy real food recipes. So, cook up a bowl of Avanti's delectable Italian Lentil Soup and rest easy. If you are willing to put in the time to cook, Avanti promises weight loss is just around the corner.
Reviewed by Katie Keene