Naturally Thin

A friend of mine sent me a copy of the book Naturally Thin for my birthday.

And no she wasn't trying to give me an unsubtle hint!

She felt that the author, Bethany Frankel, sounded a lot like me in her tone, thoughts about food, and the way she approached eating.  Plus she included over 30 recipes in the book that appeared to be pretty good, and felt I should test some of them for

Now I have to admit ... at first, like my friend said, Bethany DID sound a lot like me.  And it sounded like she too was a fan of Michael Pollan's way of thinking and presented in his books The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto.

In her book, Bethany gives readers 10 rules to follow, that ultimately will have them eating the way naturally thin people eat.  The basics include eating lots of vegetables and natural foods (i.e. not processed), ordering appetizers and smaller portions at restaurants, being mindful of what you eat, including the types of food and the quality, and only taking tastes of the more indulgent foods, rather than filling up on them.

At first I absolutely loved the book.  Bethany was able to put into words, a way of eating that comes very natural to some people, requiring no real thought once learned.

The concepts were very reasonable and easy to understand, and she came across as a balanced person.  She recommends choosing organic only when it makes a big difference, condones drinking alcohol within reason, and actually encourages the reader to eat the foods they love.

Bethany herself enjoys eating indulgent foods like fried calamari and delicious flavorful cheeses like feta and parmesan.  I liked that she came across as a real person, and didn't put crazy limitations on her readers that they would never be able to keep up with long term.

But then I got to the second half of the book, and her formerly balanced scales tip extremely when she demonstrated how she uses the 10 rules in her own life.

Her application of the rules completely irritated me (and my husband who kept reading over my shoulder!), and made me hate the second part of the book, even though I managed to read it to the end.

Even though she'll tell you not to, she skips lunch at times because she's so busy.  She eats meals that consist of watermelon and hot chocolate, or only eats a few bites of some fatty dinner items while claiming to be full and content, and at one point manages to eat JUST the icing off of a cupcake - which to me is something most people simply would not be able to do unless they truly hated the cake.

So while I do think the rules make good sense, and are certainly level-headed and seemingly easy to follow, I would not recommend following Bethany's actual eating style.  She is a very controlled person who can walk away from a plate of lasagna after only two bites, give up a candy bar after two bites, and can go hours without eating.

And while she does say that you need to adapt her eating style to fit you, I feel that the three-week example she walks you through in the second half of the book is irresponsible.

Now would I recommend the book?  Actually, yes.

But only if you promise not to take the second part too seriously.  It is not a guide that should be followed to a "T."

The rules and her explanations in the first half alone make the book worthwhile.  It's the way I personally eat, without really even thinking about it.  And I think it's an eating style that can be learned, and eventually become natural in many people.  It's really about being mindful when you eat.

The book is also a very easy read. Bethany's tone and writing style are very engaging, and I found myself effortlessly moving through chapter after chapter.

And many of the recipes are good too!  I have tried a few that I didn't care for, but others I really enjoyed and so have reviewed them on this site.

You can learn more about Naturally Thin on the Amazon website here.

Have you read this book?  Share your own review by commenting below!