Full disclosure: I received a free copy of The Little Book of Thin from Perigee Trade in exchange for an honest review.
I found it really difficult to review this book. On the one hand, I was happy to see a list of what to do and what not to do in terms of healthy eating, but I also felt like a lot of her advice was questionable and even condescending at times. Let me just say, I’m happy I got this book for free because I would not have been happy if I’d paid for a book that took this attitude, and I certainly would not pay an RD to talk to me like this or to tell me I’m no longer allowed to even think about eating many foods with good nutritional value.
I’d really like to break down all the issues I had with the book, but then I’d be basically giving away all of Ms. Slayton’s advice for free. So let me just discuss my few biggest issues. I want to preface this by saying that at one point, I thought about becoming a dietitian, and I did take a few introductory classes in college, including a seminar on how careful you need to be when giving nutritional advice. I am by no means an expert, just someone who is extremely interested in the field of nutrition.
1. Ms. Slayton advises that we avoid fruit nearly altogether. I’m sorry, but I have difficulty taking anybody seriously if they think fruit is the enemy. Let me tell you, nobody ever got fat eating apples and oranges. Maybe apple pies and Orange Julius, but not pure, unadulterated fruit.
2. She suggests that we bore ourselves thin by limiting ourselves to one or two choices per week. I don’t know about you, but if every lunch is a kale salad, every snack is 12 walnut halves, and every dinner is poached salmon, I’m going to boycott that diet on about day three.
3. She states that it’s important to plan for what we’re going to eat at our friends’ parties. “What if your friend serves risotto,” she asks, as if ingesting a reasonable portion of carbs is going to suddenly make you gain twenty pounds. Parties should not be stressful. Eat what you want for that one night. Eat well the next day. You’ll live. If you become that person who constantly turns their nose up at everything their friends cook, you’ll soon have no friends. I guess then at least you won’t have to worry about what you’re going to eat at parties.
Those aren’t all my concerns. I don’t really want to get started on the questionable pre-vacation advice or the sometimes condescending tone she takes. Instead, I’ll move on to what I did like.
1. Meal planning has gotten me through some intense takeout cravings. On Saturday, I make a list of everything I’m going to cook the next week. On Sunday, I shop and prep. There’s no excuse for ordering out when you have all that fresh food in the fridge waiting to be cooked. I did appreciate that planning is at the forefront of her advice.
2. Finally, someone agrees that we don’t need to worry about how many calories we’re getting from veggies. In this plan, non-starchy veggies are basically a free-for-all. Go ahead and eat all the celery, broccoli, carrots, and asparagus you want. (Good, because I already do!)
3. The holidays chapter was really nice. Sometimes we do need to be reminded that we don’t need to stuff our faces with two pounds of butter on Thanksgiving and Christmas just because it’s traditional. And if we do, we just need to dust ourselves off, put in some cardio, and do better tomorrow.
So all in all, I’m kind of ambivalent about The Little Book of Thin. It’s far from the best nutritional advice I’ve been given, but it’s also far from the worst. I think the important thing with any diet plan or nutritional guide is to customize it to your specific situation. No diet is one size fits all. If it sounds questionable, don’t do it. If it sounds like it will work for you, give it a try. You’re not locked into one plan for the rest of your life, either. I’m taking some of Ms. Slayton’s advice this week when I do my grocery shopping. If it works and I feel healthier, great. If not, there’s no harm in trying. There’s always next week.
FINAL RATING: ★★★☆☆
[also posted here]