Sexy By Nature: a book review
This book is very near and dear to my heart, not just because it was released on March 18th, which is my birthday, but because this book literally saved my ladyparts. I discovered Stefani Ruper, the author of this amazing book, during my search for non-hormonal birth control. At that time I had been on The Pill for 14 years and desperately wanted to go off of it, but I didn’t feel the support I needed from my doctor at that time, who kept assuring me that hormonal birth control is a perfectly natural thing and I could actually hurt myself by going off of it. But that is a whole different story. Birth control is a huge topic that deserves attention, and we will definitely bring you some information in the near future. Stefani Ruper writes about women’s health, nutrition, hormones, and specifically female issues on her blog Paleo For Women; she is a female health specialist by day and bachata dancer by night. In the past, she struggled with her own health in areas that are specific to women with improperly balanced hormones, and she dedicated this book to teaching other women how to recognize, address, and solve these issues.
When this book was released in 2014, a few people were disturbed by the word sexy in the title and assumed that this book teaches young women and teenage girls how to be sexy to attract men. Don’t judge a book by its cover, right? In this case, it is the title that often gets misinterpreted, but the emphasis really is not so much on the word sexy, but rather on the word nature. While the title might seem provocative, there is nothing inappropriate about any of the chapters in the book, actually quite the opposite. Stefani operates with the idea that a perfectly healthy body is also an attractive body (and you know we fully support this idea) and a healthy body is not achieved just through nutrition, but you also have to add a dose of love, lifestyle adjustments, and as an important bonus, shatter a few of the myths and rules of modern society that we have learned to live by (we talked a lot about these ridiculous lies in our series about the negative impact of social media). If you liked the message of The Loving Diet by Jessica Flanigan, Sexy by Nature is like a sassy sister to this book.
A female body is very different from a male body, and I am not talking about the obvious visual differences. A female body is much more hormonally driven (let our monthly cycle prove it) and it has to deal with way more pressure than a male body. This is not to say that men have an easier life, but still, it is a female body that is able to grow another body within itself, carry it for nine months, deliver the baby, and spend the next, well, lifetime taking care of it. This book taught me that taking care of my fertility is very important for my overall health, even though I don’t plan on having children now or in the future. We know that each of the systems in our body, even though they each have specific functions, are very closely connected and one does not work properly without the other. Our reproductive system is also a major part of the game and no matter how annoying it can be, a regular menstrual cycle is a wonderful (yes, I used that word in regards to a period) sign of health and fertility.
There are plenty of books that focus on the physiology of the female body, some of my favorites are The Hormone Cure, Period Repair Manual or the best-selling book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and there are also a lot of materials available on nutrition, immune health, and also healthy mindset. This book has it all. As a normal, everyday woman with a full time job and a family to take care of, you don’t really need to understand the deepest science about digestion, muscle growth, or the manufacturing of vegetable oils, but you should be able to understand your body, its signals and biochemistry; you should be able to detect what is wrong and have a basic understanding of how to fix it (or where to turn for help). More than anything else, this book teaches you how to heal yourself – both physically, emotionally, and mentally. Sexy by Nature provides you with five steps to follow in order to get exactly that: a healthy body, a happy mind, and confidence for life.
The book is divided into five main chapters titled Trailblaze, Nourish, Live, Overcome, and Strut. Trailblaze addresses all the issues every woman has to deal with throughout her life, starting with body image, weight issues, and lack of self-love and confidence. Stefani is very passionate about positive psychology and here she explains how society messed us up mentally and how the food industry messed us up physically. Her mission in this chapter is to point out seven ridiculous and unrealistic rules that modern society has created for us, and it offers you seven new Natural Rules instead, the ones that should free you, empower you, and enable you to love you for who you are, not for what other people or media tells you that you should be.
Nourish is dedicated to the food side of the story. It is not a few pages on the importance of real foods with YES and NO food lists. It goes pretty deep into the details about the importance of whole foods with a focus on nutrient density, digestive health, support of our immune system, hormonal health, and foods that are specifically nourishing for the female body. This part of the book finally made me understand that my body needs to hold on to a certain amount of body fat, and I stopped fighting that extra fluff around my thighs. This chapter also explains why a very low carb eating approach might not be the best choice for women because of how hormones like leptin and insulin regulate our blood sugar, hunger, and satiety signals.
The third chapter is my favorite. Live is all about getting healthy outside of the kitchen. Many books I own about health are mostly about food and nutrition and all the science behind it, which is awesome, but very often not enough. This chapter teaches you how to add the happy to the healthy to complete the equation. It is divided into ten sections to address some of the most important lifestyle factors: Stress, Sleep, Standing, Sprinting, Strength, Sex, Sunlight, Spirit, Settling, and Striving. You can get the basic idea of what these are about based on their titles. This chapter is here to nourish your mind. Sometimes diet changes are not all that difficult, it is often that mindset that is very hard to adopt or at least adjust. Your diet might be perfect, your exercise regime might be dialed, but your poor sleeping habits or too much stress might be sabotaging your efforts, so this part is no less important than the previous one.
When you are done with nourishing your body and your mind, you can move forward and Overcome. This chapter targets specific issues you might have and are looking for answers on, including fat loss, fertility, low libido, skin issues, PMS, mental health and more. To me, this was an extremely helpful part, because before this book came out, I had no idea how glands like the thyroid work. Stefani explains scientific details in a way that everyone can understand, basically translating science into human language. Before I read this book, reading science papers and medical studies to me was like reading a car repair manual in a foreign language. This chapter taught me that I don’t have to be an MD in order to know how my body works and I don’t need to use fancy Latin words to talk about it. Sexy by Nature – turning hardcore science into human-friendly terms since 2014!
The last chapter called Strut describes the last steps on the way to your own version of sexy. Its final and very important words on self-love, sex appeal, and fearlessness are like an icing on the (gluten-free) cake and should leave you empowered, self-loving, and aware of your femininity, sexuality, health, and capability to do anything you put your mind to. I almost want to say Girl Power! at this point because this book really made me feel empowered as a woman. I found a whole new kind of love for myself, my physical body, a spiritual part of myself, for who I am as a person. My copy of Sexy by Nature is flooded with colorful sticky-note bookmarks that I often go through to remind myself of my favorite quotes from the book.
This book has really been a great gift from Stefani to women of all ages. I would recommend it to a teenage girl that has just started the process of finding herself to avoid all the mistakes she might possibly make under the influence of social media, the cosmetic industry, and the food industry, but I would also recommend it to her mother who is already living with those mistakes and would benefit from breaking free from those twisted societal standards. If nothing else, this book will teach you how to own and love who you are and to take care of your body and mind the best you can. Women all over the world should throw away magazines like Cosmopolitan and Elle and get this book instead.
If you suffer from bad digestion, hormonal imbalances, fat loss resistance, acne, or sleep problems, you need this book. If you have low self-esteem, no sex drive, if you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, if self-loathing is the only way you are able to treat yourself, you need this book, too. If you are a man, a husband, or a boyfriend and you want to understand the female body and mind, or even raise a confident, healthy, and happy daughter and help her avoid the traps of modern society, get this book. It is like the bible for women’s health!