June 27, 2013

The Simplicity Project: Food Is Anything Our Grandparents Would Have Once Recognized.

*elephant journal received this item for free, in return for a guarantee to review it. Having said that, the author says what she wants—good and bad, happy and sad.

The Simplicity Project Lacked Simplicity.

I was interested in reading The Simplicity Project: A Simple, No-Nonsense Approach to Losing Weight & Changing Your Body Forever! by Jenn Pike because in the last year, I have been seeking my optimum health. The more I learn about what this means, the more I learn that everything begins and ends with what we put in our bodies.

Everything always comes back to the same idea—eating food. And by food I mean actual, whole food.

To use Michael Pollan’s definition, food is anything our grandparents would have recognized when they were younger. This eliminates virtually anything in a package. So it was with great enthusiasm that I picked up Pike’s book, looking for ways to simplify and refine my diet.

What I found however, wasn’t very helpful.

The book started out promising enough, with Pike setting her goals in the first few pages: “I want you to become more educated and empowered by your food choices, to know a whole food from one that’s not, to know how to combine your foods for proper nourishment and balance … and to know how to make the most delicious healthy meals and snacks right at home.”

Unfortunately, if I knew any of those things when I finished the book, it wasn’t for having read it.

Pike lost me almost right away with her writing style and the tone of the book. Throughout the book, Pike uses emoticons, texting language (ex. LOL) and an abundance of exclamation points. It was distracting and took away some of Pike’s credibility.

I was also distracted by the informality of the tone, as when she wrote about food in our gut that is “building a lovely little internal bomb that will burn your butt and blow your friends away too!” I assume she is trying to be funny, but this just didn’t resonate with me.

Additionally, for a book about simplicity, I found the organization and structure confusing. The book is broken into different sections with varying areas of focus, from inflammation to the gut. However, sometimes it seemed I would go from reading about one thing, such as my thyroid, to suddenly reading about sugar, with no explanation connecting the two.

Overall, the book lacked the level of clarity that is important when discussing diet and health. For example, in one section Pike addresses eating organic foods and mentions the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen.” She says:

“This fantastic resource will help you navigate your way through the grocery store as a more conscious and educated shopper. Yes, we would all love to buy everything organic, but for many of us, it just isn’t possible. Fortunately, not all of your produce needs to be organic. When you are choosing conventionally grown fruits and veggies, use a good wash like Nature Clean Fruit and Veggie Soak; it’s like a bath for your produce!”

The book then lists the “Dirty Dozen” and Clean Fifteen” with no further explanation or clarification. If I were new to this concept, I wouldn’t know which was which. All I understood from that paragraph was that I’m supposed to wash some of the listed items with the noted wash product.

I found this kind of muddied language throughout.

I also disliked the repeated product recommendations, and felt a little like I was holding an advertisement for those products. Further, of the products she mentioned, I often disagreed with many. For example, she recommends keeping Luna bars on hand. But in my food philosophy a bar loaded with cane syrup, brown rice syrup and other processed ingredients doesn’t fit into a whole food lifestyle.

Maybe Pike and I just aren’t the right fit—she may speak to a different crowd. My relationship and journey with food began and has been evolving for a while now, so I think the book just didn’t find me at the right time. If you’re looking for a light, general overview of how to eat, this may be the book for you. I however was disappointed, and prefer my nutrition information without all of the “You Go Girls.”




  • Asst. Editor: Edith Lazenby
  • Ed: Brianna Bemel

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