Meal Plans for Weight Loss
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The truth about Gwyneth Paltrow’s diet? It is as strange as you’d expect
The actor and influencer has been called out for glorifying restricted eating. What is it with the rich and their weird ideas about wellness?
This time there aren’t any vaginas involved. I say that because half the time Gwyneth Paltrow is in the news it’s vagina-related. On this occasion, however, it’s because a lot of people are seemingly annoyed that she – a woman who has amassed a fortune doling out strange and often suspect health advice via her lifestyle brand Goop – follows that advice herself.
The trouble started when Paltrow appeared on an episode of Dr Will Cole’s The Art of Being Well podcast and shared what she eats in a typical day. Which, no points for guessing, isn’t much. She doesn’t eat until about noon which, in normal-person-speak, means she skips breakfast. In wellness land it means she’s doing “a nice intermittent fast”. Then she has something that won’t spike her blood pressure, such as coffee. She often follows that up with “bone broth”. An hour of “movement” ensues, wrapped up with some vigorous dry brushing and the sauna. Finally: an early dinner. “I try to eat according to paleo,” she says. “So lots of vegetables. It’s really important for me to support my detox.” I’m sorry, detox? You can’t detox if there was never any tox in the first place.
Paltrow’s routine quickly went viral and she was called out for glorifying unhealthily restrictive eating. She was also called an “almond mom”, which is slang for a mum who pushes toxic dieting habits on to their kid. (The term was originally inspired by model Gigi Hadid’s mother telling her to have “two almonds” to feel better.)
Reacting to the backlash, Paltrow said that her routine was due to the fact that she was suffering from high levels of inflammation after long Covid, and it wasn’t meant to be taken as generalised health advice. “This was a transparent look at a conversation between me and my doctor,” she noted. “It’s not meant to be advice for anybody else.” OK, sure, but the problem is that when you’ve built a brand that pushes wellness advice, everything you say tends to be taken as wellness advice. When you set out to be an influencer you don’t get to profess surprise that some people might be influenced by you!
That said, I am a little bemused by the fact her comments received so much attention. Her routine is odd and sounds, to me at least, unhealthy, but it’s also precisely what you would expect from anyone living in LA. The only really notable thing about the episode was when Cole noted that Paltrow was hooked up to an IV while recording the podcast. “Which is so on-brand for both of us,” he gushed. “We pod and IV at the same time!” What does this even mean? It means that Paltrow is injecting herself with nutrients. “Phosphatidylcholine … that’s my favourite IV when I can find them,” she shared. On that occasion, though, she was on an IV drip of “good old-fashioned vitamins”. Eat the rich? No thanks, they’re all skin and bones and intravenously injected phosphatidylcholine.
But, again, while this is all bonkers, it’s predictably bonkers. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that the rich and famous have weird ideas about wellness. Tennis star Novak Djokovic, for example, has suggested that he thinks you can purify water with positive thinking. Rightwing provocateur Jordan Peterson has extolled the health benefits of only eating beef. Tech bros, meanwhile, are obsessed with “biohacking”, or treating their bodies like machines. Bloomberg recently published a feature about a 45-year-old multimillionaire software entrepreneur called Bryan Johnson who has a team of 30 doctors devoted to monitoring his body and trying to reverse his ageing process. He’s reportedly on track to spend at least $2m on his body this year. “He wants to have the brain, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, tendons, teeth, skin, hair, bladder, penis and rectum of an 18-year-old.” This is all for the greater good, of course. “What I do may sound extreme, but I’m trying to prove that self-harm and decay are not inevitable,” Johnson told Bloomberg.
I’m afraid that nothing is more inevitable than decay. Studies show that 100% of people die. Should we try to stay as healthy as we can? Of course. But as the glitterati’s routines demonstrate, at some point wellness can become a sickness.
- Gwyneth Paltrow
- Diets and dieting