A review of Girlosophy – Real Girls Eat By Anthea Paul

The book’s content is all about empowerment through food knowledge: respecting your body through choosing to cook, understand nutrition, and choosing to eat and exercise in a way that will give you the energy to do whatever you want. Paul is critical of the media and magazines that perpetrate images of overly thin and unrealistically airbrushed models, and in particular, of unhealthy diets.

Reviewed by Magdalena Ball

Girlosophy – Real Girls Eat
By Anthea Paul
Allen & Unwin
ISBN: 1741141427, A$31.81, Paperback, 200pp, November 2005

The first and most striking quality of Real Girls Eat is its glossy, high octane cover. Can’t judge a book by its cover? In this instance you can. This is a book designed to appeal to that most style oriented and glamour jaded age group – the mature teen or young adult. Anthea Paul’s girlosophy theory is as stylistically appealing as it content rich. The young will instantly be drawn to its bright colours of chartreuse, tangerine and hot pink, and will instantly warm to the clever use of layout and typefaces, and that’s before getting into its personal and intimate approach which will inspire trust in teen girls.

The book’s content is all about empowerment through food knowledge: respecting your body through choosing to cook, understand nutrition, and choosing to eat and exercise in a way that will give you the energy to do whatever you want. Paul is critical of the media and magazines that perpetrate images of overly thin and unrealistically airbrushed models, and in particular, of unhealthy diets. Instead she presents very practical information about the five food groups, the importance of keeping blood sugar levels high, reading labels, being mindful of food safety, especially when travelling, choosing healthier take out and restaurant food, vegetarianism, and eating mindfully.

The heart of the book is the cookbook, which contains two sections. In the first, Anthea uses thirteen young women from Hawaii, Spain and Australia to present their own favourite recipes for simple foods like asian burritos, lasagne, coconut pancakes. The second section comes from Anthea’s sister, celebrity chef to the stars Kate Paul, and is set out in time of day segments. 6-9am includes juices, smoothies, a high energy porridge, a muesli, and a fruit salads with a home made basil and lime syrup. 9-11 includes cooked breakfasts like a fried egg sandwich (what my dad calls an “Egyptian eye”), French toast, and bruchetta. 12-3 is lunchtime, with hearty salads, sandwiches, maki rolls, soups and tacos. 3-6 is for late lunch or early dinner, and has starters like spiced chickpeas and hummus, quesadillas, and sweet afternoon tea treats like cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies. 6-9pm has heavier dinner faire like soups, pasta, risotto, stir fry, curries, roasts, chicken dishes, side dishes like roast potatoes, tomatoes or vegetable crisp. The book finishes at 9-11 with some delicious and easy desserts. The emphasis throughout the cookbooks section is on flexibility, with recipes containing tips for leftovers, serving, and variations.

There are also tips for stocking the cupboard, and further reading. This is the perfect book for a teenager or young adult about to move out, or to inspire a younger teen to treat her body with more care. The advice is all practical and above all, empowering, using Anthea Paul’s considerable design and fashion skills to influence teens to take control of their own health, and resist the overt and unhealthy pressure of media advertising and fast food magnates. It’s a timely and important message delivered in a fun, funky, and non-didactic way. For more information on the Girlosophy series, visit: www.girlosophy.com

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