Skinny Bitch Kim Barnouin Admits Weakness for Vegan Desserts

Former South Beach resident Kim Barnouin is better known as Skinny Bitch -- and she likes it that way. She's one of the authors of the best-selling Skinny Bitch series of diet and self-help books, and she returned to Miami this week to promote the latest in the series, Skinny Bitch: Home, Beauty & Style. The Magic City may not be as healthy as L.A., she says, but she secretly fantasizes about bringing her vegan lifestyle back to South Florida.

Short Order recently sat down with the Bitch.

New Times: How would you sum up the Skinny Bitch philosophy?

Kim Barnouin: It's a a healthy lifestyle, one that teaches you how to pay attention to the food you're eating, the products you're putting on your body and in your home, and just caring...really paying attention to your impact on the earth.

So being a "skinny bitch" is a good thing?
The name isn't something that we ever wanted to be about being skinny. It's about, how good do you feel about yourself every day? Are you getting up a flight of stairs and not about to pass out?

Skinny Bitch began as a guide to food and dining. How does it relate to home, beauty and style?

When I was researching for the book Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven, which is for pregnant women, some of the research I was doing extended outside of food. I came across information about products that expectant mothers had to be careful about. It got me digging even further, and I learned that the body absorbs 60 percent of what we're putting in it, so you have to be careful ... That sort of set the ball rolling to think of paying attention to more than just the food we eat, but what we're putting on our bodies. And then my son spent three years being really sick with allergies and asthma, and we worked with a phenomenal allergist who really opened my eyes to looking outside of the box and saying, "What's in the environment? What's in his bedroom? What is he breathing in that could be potentially harmful to his condition?"

Have you seen any evidence of Miami embracing the Skinny Bitch lifestyle?
I lived here for about eight years. I lived in South Beach, I met my husband here, and this is my favorite city that I've ever been to. I absolutely love it. Then I moved to L.A., and being in L.A., even in San Diego, I feel like California is much more ahead as far as any of the eco and the green and the vegan -- we're really pretty progressive in that sense. There's definitely some stuff going on down here; there's a Whole Foods, and I'm so excited to see that. I think the rest of the places are slowly catching on... Maybe it's not quite L.A., but anyway, who is? It's such a big thing out there, but I really feel that down here, it's up and coming. Let's face it, [in Miami] it's always bikini season. People want to be healthy.

What are your guilty pleasures?
Sweets. Sweets is definitely the biggest thing that takes me down. I'm fine with it; sweets is my best friend, we love each other, and I'm never giving it up. But I'm vegan, so I've found a way to make it taste completely normal. There are some places, I have to admit, that can't make a good vegan dessert.

So no Cuban pastries since you've been back?
No, I just like to make my own stuff. And I made cookies before I left, so I've had sugar cookies in my bag. I just whipped out my own little stash. I'm kind of a snob when it comes to desserts. I want it to be good; I want a good vegan bakery. That'll be one of my future projects -- come to South Beach and open a little bakery.

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Ciara LaVelle is New Times' former arts and culture editor. She earned her BS in journalism at Boston University and moved to Florida in 2004. She joined New Times' staff in 2011.
Contact: Ciara LaVelle

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