Hungry Girl.com is a perky pastel-toned ode to Why You Are Too Fat. Within it, the super hot cartoony avatar of the proprietress tells you what you need to eat to avoid becoming a terrifying lard monster. This apparently means living off, among other things, low calorie chocolate muffins, 100 calorie packages of soy crisps, and easily microwavable recipes. Hungry Girl's founder says, in her mission statement, that "Nothing gives me a thrill like discovering a new low cal snack or assembling a no fat pizza! " Gosh, wherever do I sign?
Hungry Girl seems to get a lot of mileage out of the fact that Americans love to eat snacks, even if they are completely and utterly not-hungry and have burned about 100 calories cumulatively that day by sitting on the couch and breathing. No matter how inactive you are, in America, you are entitled to that cheesy poof, even if you are overweight and self loathing. Hungry Girl seeks to fill that void by suggesting delicious solutions, like low fat donuts, 20 calorie chocolate truffles, and microwaveable soy protein ribs. , which they claim, breathlessly, "taste unbelievable."
Apparently you too can sit on the couch like any other Bubba and hoover down these "delicious" low calorie snacks, and will somehow come out of looking Gisele Bundchen. This is of course untrue. Eating highly processed food that tastes like paper while watching Desperate Housewives will make you fat, no matter how "low calorie" it is. What happened to cutting out snacks entirely and eating better and more filling meals? Or eating something really radical like fresh fruit?
As an example of the websites cheery culinary butchery, let's look at Hungry GIrl's charming analysis of ethnic foods that may not come out of an easily microwaveable container.
Sushi: "Quite often sushi is served by the piece. That makes it easy to over-order. If you want to save calories, carbs and/or points, order "light rice."
It's true, those Japanese people are so immensely fat because of all that dangerous, tempting white rice and raw fish they eat. Oh, wait.
Chinese: "That's exactly why you should use these tricky sticks. Fiddling with them will force you to eat slowly."
Well, if you're an incompetent round-eye who lives on sweet and sour pork.
"Order your dishes steamed, with sauce on the side. Then dip, don't pour!"
Chinese chefs around the world salute you for this brilliant innovation. Mmm, plain chicken and vegetables sprinkled with MSG and dipped in sugary sauce...don't mind if I do! Chinese food IS bad for you if you're into the "deep fried chicken parts in sauce" type cuisine. Which is not actually Chinese. There is no damn point in eating Chinese food (or anything else) if you're going to suck the life out of it by ordering it to all your insecure suburbanite proclivities. Go suck on some cardboard. (Ordering this way also increases the odds of your food being spit in. Which will, of course, add CALORIES.)
Hungry Girl deeply offends me, and I think I know why: it takes the love and the quality and the freshness out of food and converts it into some perverse ritual between insecure women and calorie laden sugary treats. The phrase "guilt-free" exemplifies this: if you eat something that tastes good, you had better be guilty, you big fat cow. Due to this, women in America have a profoundly screwed up attitude about food. The daily and totally necessary act of eating something becomes a moral battle, creating victims on either end of the aisle: anorexics, yo-yo dieters, the super obese. Food, instead of being a friend or a lovely way to end the day, becomes somehow evil, which is impressive for what is (usually) an inanimate object.
So, instead of treating food as important, food is treated as the enemy, with rich ingredients and preparations called "freakish" or "repulsive." Instead of espousing all things in moderation, Hungry Girl seems to be saying that the ONLY WAY to be thin is to survive on Lean Cuisine and soy protein crisps. Which is total bullshit. The reason Americans are so damn fat is because we eat out of shelf stable boxes, drive everywhere in large cars, and consider fresh crunchy vegetables to be unpleasant and "boring," while we freebase artificial sugars and fats then beat ourselves up afterwards for "giving in." This is incredibly odd behavior and not one other cultures share, even cultures with excellent, rich food. (I'm looking at you, France and Italy.)
I admit: I'm skinny, I've never had a weight problem, and I am probably not the target market for this advice. But I still think I know enough about maintaining a healthy body weight that I can say Hungry Girl is total crap. If you want to lose weight and keep your soul intact, try hitting the farmers market and walking more, not taking Hungry Girl's asinine "tips" or eating repulsive low-calorie and chemical laden foods.