Sunday, January 24, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama Plan: A Review

You may recall that a couple of months ago, I reviewed  Trim Healthy Mama CookbookEat Up and Slim Down with More Than 350 Healthy Recipes, written by sisters Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison.  I thought that there would be enough information in the cookbook about the plan that I could take a short cut and just read the cookbook, skipping the plan.  I was wrong.  As I wrote in my review, "if you are not following THM, you will find this cookbook frustrating and confusing.  If you are not yet, but would like to start, following THM principles, start with Trim Healthy Mama Plan, then get Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook."

So that's what I did.  I requested Trim Healthy Mama Plan: the easy-does-it approach to vibrant health & a slim waistline to review.

Trim Healthy Mama is anchored in protein.  Pearl and Serene suggest that each meal and snack contain protein and either complex carbohydrates or healthy fats, but not both.  The book is organized into 4 sections: The Basics, which explains, well, the basics of the plan, including types of meals; Let's Go, which is kind of a quick-start section; Menus, Eating Tips, and What to Expect, which addresses the concerns of several different types of folks who may be using the plan, including pregnant or nursing mamas, and allergen-free; and Trim Healthy and Beyond, which is kind of the advanced learning section, talking about exercise and balance.

I have mixed feelings about the book and about the plan.  One of the biggest criticisms I've heard about Trim Healthy Mama is that it's difficult to understand and that there is a steep learning curve.  I think that criticism is absolutely valid.  If you already have a good understanding of nutrition, especially macronutrients, you will find the plan easier to understand and follow.  If not, you are going to have a really hard time with this.

Another criticism I've heard about THM is that it requires a lot of specialty ingredients that are difficult to find in your local grocery store.  While that's not entirely true--in fact, it is possible to follow THM eating principals with no special ingredients at all--this is also a valid criticism.  The sisters are forever talking about and recommending special ingredients I've never heard of and wouldn't know where to find (except for on their website).  They way they talk, and the way their recipes are formulated, it seems so much more difficult to achieve success without those special ingredients.

On the other hand, the message makes sense.  I really do feel like if one was able to successfully follow the principles of THM, it would work.  And I also think that once the reader navigated that steep learning curve, eating this way would become easy and second nature.  I just don't feel like it makes sense for me right now.

I received this book for free from the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.


  1. Thanks for sharing! I was curious about this book and have had it on my wish list in the past. Unfortunately there is a steep learning curve to most items around trying to eat healthy.

    1. Oh good! You can borrow.

      I don't agree that there is a steep learning curve around eating healthfully in general (just lots of conflicting opinions & theories, which isn't the same, in my opinion), but in any case, this system definitely provides lots of opportunity for frustration, even for folks who already have a good grasp of nutrition.


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