This is one book you don't want to miss! Sexy by Nature: The Whole Foods Solution to Radiant Health, Lifelong Sex Appeal, and Soaring Confidence, by Stefani Ruper, is a unique take on the Paleo woman.
You might remember Stefani Ruper from this podcast or from this post where we discussed her eBook, PCOS Unlocked. She is an Ivy League chemist, an international go-go dancer, and a nationally renowned eating disorder counselor, as well as the voice behind the Paleo for Women blog. She also hosts the first ever body image and self love podcast Live. Love. Eat. and a self-love YouTube Channel. You can find her at any of those places, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
Below, we catch up with Stefani and delve into her new Paleo woman’s health manifesto. Her amazing and thought-provoking perspective about women's health and inherent sexiness is eye-opening and so necessary in our Western culture that shapes our beliefs about what women are supposed to look like and be. Stefani is also generously giving away a copy of Sexy by Nature to ONE lucky reader – enter the contest at the bottom of this post!
1. The title of your book suggests that women are naturally sexy. Why do you believe this is true? Why do you think many women do not recognize their inherent sexiness?
I believe that all human beings are naturally sexy–or at least have the potential to be. This is because of how I define the term “sexy.” Sexy is not a waist measurement. It is not an hourglass figure. It is not a dress size. “Sexy” is a feeling. Sexy is a way of being; it is self-love; it is excitement to be in skin you're in.
Most people don't feel sexy. Society is the problem.
Western culture conditions women from a very young age to develop negative relationships with their bodies. This is for many reasons, but one of the worst is that low self-esteem fattens corporate wallets. The more you doubt yourself, the more lipstick you buy, the more diet programs you participate in, and the more Western culture’s beauty norms dominate your notions of womanhood and wellbeing. This is not good for any of us.
2. Sexy by Nature has five sections: Trailblaze, Nourish, Live, Overcome, and Strut. Which do you think is the most challenging for most women? Why? Which is the most challenging for you?
Easy answer: it's five–Strut.
The middle three sections of the book help you with optimizing your diet and lifestyle, and with overcoming female health issues such as hormone imbalance, PMS, and hypothyroidism. They have their own unique challenges, certainly.
Yet Step 5 is all about psychological changes, which are usually the most challenging (and rewarding!) to make. You learn about your own habits. You become familiar with your own feelings about yourself. You cultivate love and positive feelings for yourself on an on-going basis.
Five is the most challenging step for me, personally. I can eat liver and kale no problem (Step 2). But can I affirm and love my body every day in spite of all the self-doubt society throws in my face? It can be a struggle, and it is not always perfect, yet nonetheless the answer to that question is a firm Yes.
3. The Sexy by Nature Golden Rule is, “Your body is a natural body with natural needs, that, when loved properly, loves you right back.” How does a Paleo approach to nutrition and lifestyle promote this “rule”?
Paleo can mean many things. For me, it used to mean simply that I ate all the right foods. That was wrong. I may have eaten vegetables and meat, but was I really nourishing my body on 1200 calories a day?
Doing Paleo so “wrong” is what led me to develop the Sexy by Nature approach to Paleo. Sexy by Nature Paleo is not about macronutrients or rules or having a particular body shape. Sexy by Nature Paleo is about nourishment. It's about your genes. It's about giving your body the fuel that it was designed for (this is special for women!!). And then what happens?
Healing happens. Nourishment happens. Growth. Peace. Comfort. Acceptance. Love. Partnership.
Paleo–Sexy by Nature Paleo–promotes the golden rule by doing everything it can to align your diet and lifestyle with what your (female) body genuinely needs, and by witnessing all the life, vibrancy, health, and joy that spring forth as a result.
4. Sexy by Nature is focused on women's health. Does that mean it is only for women? What would a male reader gain from this book?
I am so glad you asked.
No. This book is not just for women.
I wrote this book for women because women need it. Did you know that how much fiber you eat affects your estrogen levels? This is one of hundreds of examples of female-specific health phenomena covered in the book that all women deserve to know about.
But this book is definitely not just for women. It helps everybody.
My nutrition and lifestyle recommendations are gender neutral. What’s more, even the parts of the book on self-love and body image are important for men. Several male Paleo health gurus (Paul Jaminet, Robb Wolf, George Bryant, and Jason Seib, for a few examples) have all expressed a profound appreciation for this aspect of the book. They know as well as I do that you need to feel good about yourself in order to make genuine and long-lasting gains for physical health.
5. How would you suggest that we support and teach girls and young women to embrace their bodies and sexiness as they grow and mature?
The first and most important step is to communicate. How can we develop empathetic and supportive relationships without open, honest communication? So talk. Ask them about their opinions. Share your experiences. Explain different viewpoints. Listen. Be kind.
Step 2: Educate. Without knowing about the long, complicated history of sexism in Western culture, we can be trapped into thinking restriction, calorie counting, and self-doubt are the only way to do things. So teach girls all about the origins and effects of these negative cultural trends (I do this in Step 1: Trailblaze in my book). Then the future is opened up to more positive, loving, informed, and healthy alternatives.
Step 3: Bolster those alternatives. Shower girls with love and affection for them as whole, powerful human beings. Don't praise toddlers and young girls based on how “cute” they are. Affirm them with compliments of courage, intelligence, or wit. They should still feel beautiful, most definitely. Yet this should be a beauty of the whole person, in which the body is loved as a part of the whole. Eyes are beautiful because they are the windows to a soul. A smile because it shows who a woman is. Hair perhaps because it whips around in the wind and brings out the goddess in women. A girl is beautiful because she is her, inside and out and all around.
And knowing that, then who is going to stop her?