How Long Can a Chef Eat Like A Goop-Devotee? Like, A Day.
Because, tbh, a week sounds way too long.
January 24, 2018
By Richie Nakano | Gwyneth Paltrow by Getty Images, art by ChefsFeed
Gwyneth Paltrow is many things: talented actress, mother, a person who lifted a crap musician out of obscurity.
She’s also the pinnacle of the lifestyle blogger—the perfect distillation of gluten-free avocado toast, yoga poses, and perfectly framed “candid” shots of groups of very healthy looking people mid-laugh at #blessed brunch. She’s a walking, talking Lululemon store, but probably something more obscure and expensive. If the kombucha section at Whole Foods were a person, it might be Gwyneth Paltrow. You get it.
Paltrow has a website (and a new magazine) all about living that lifestyle, called Goop. It’s not clear to me why it’s called Goop, but I can assure you, it being called Goop is the least absurd thing you will read here. She's authored four (!) cookbooks, all centered around “clean” eating, cleansing, and so forth. The recipes are gluten-free, vegetable-forward, and wildly expensive—my grocery bill for this experiment came in at $146.44, for one day’s worth of food. A single almond flour tortilla, I learned, costs $2.00.
In my preparation for this, some asked, “Why not do a whole week? Why not do the full-on Goop detox?” To which I said, “Because I'm an adult human and I am not doing that to myself.” The Goop Detox requires no: dairy, grains with gluten, meat, shellfish, anything processed (including all soy products), fatty nuts, nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant), condiments, sugar, and obviously no alcohol, caffeine or soda. Which I'm pretty sure leaves you with water as your only nourishment. If I had to go a whole week with no coffee, I would definitely wind up hitting someone with my car.
There is a method to Goop-ing of course. Skip breakfast, exercise, eat a light lunch, then, supposedly, you can eat whatever the fuck you want for dinner. Gwyneth says she likes cheese and french fries and wine for dinner, but this seems highly suspect to me, so I will be eating an official Goop recipe for dinner. Probably.
6:15 am: I'm fumbling around my house in a fog like a fucking idiot, trying to get lunches made for my kids, get them dressed, etc. Normally, I'm a cup of coffee deep by this point, but some monster pointed out to me that Goop Day should be caffeine-free to fully live the Gwyneth experience. No breakfast and no coffee is a really shit way to begin your day and I recommend it to no one. If I had to pick a Gwyneth Paltrow movie to describe my mood right now, I would pick Se7en.
8:15 am: I have dropped my kids off at school, and as I poke around the Goop website, I see that in fact, Gwyneth DOES drink coffee in the morning. I immediately get two coffees and drink them as fast as possible.
My gratification is immediately ruined when I realize that I added milk, when Gwyneth would NEVER. I haven’t even made a single recipe yet and I’ve already ruined everything. I take two Advil, a multivitamin and Pepto for the weird, inexplicable heartburn I'm suddenly feeling. It’s unclear if Gwyneth ever feels pain or has acid reflux, so I give myself a pass on this one.
10:30 am: I need to eat something. On the Goop website, there are recipes for “breakfast bowls,” but I want to maintain some form of dignity here, so I settle on avocado toast with kale, egg, and turkey bacon.
Upon further reading, I see that the bread is supposed to be gluten-free and dressed with Veganaise, and well, fuck that, no way, not in a million years are gluten-free bread and Veganaise permitted entry into my home. I cook up the kale, fry an egg, and crisp the turkey bacon. A note about turkey bacon: I wouldn’t serve my worst enemy turkey bacon. If, in life, you are faced with the choice between turkey bacon and nothing, step into the void and choose nothing.
The kale and egg were fine. I have a third coffee and some water. I'm still hungry.
12:30 pm: Currently languishing.
3:30 pm: I love mint chip ice cream. I love it so much I got it tattooed on my right hand. So when I saw a Goop recipe for a “Collagen Mint Chip Smoothie,” I tempted fate, and paid the price.
The smoothie consisted of dates, sunflower seed butter, cocoa nibs, mint leaves, maca and collagen powder, and other assorted horrors. The mint leaves immediately oxidized and the powders never fully hydrated, so the final product was a chalky, watery, herby mess. I took two sips and dumped it out. Also, some collagen powder got on my phone and now my phone is…sticky.
4:00 pm: My egg and kale and trash bacon are long since digested, so I make Goop’s black bean and sweet potato tostada. Why are there so many sweet potato recipes? Sweet potato, kale, and quinoa salad. Savory sweet potato pancakes with arugula. Sweet potato pancakes with coconut and berries. (Note, I was going to make the pancakes, but they require gluten-free oat flour which I'm convinced doesn’t exist. I went to three different stores and talked to three different people and they were all like, “Uhhhh, I mean, we have oats. Is that what you’re looking for?”)
I roast sweet potatoes, crisp the almond flour tortillas, pickle onions, and cook black beans with garlic and cumin. I cut lettuce, and pick cilantro, and I gotta tell ya, for a recipe that bills itself as “an easy way to use up what’s left in your fridge” this sure is a lot of work. I skip making the creamy cilantro dressing because again, it requires veganaise, and you know the rules in this house about that. I assemble the tostada and it's…not good. The almond flour tortilla has the texture of a very old communion wafer. There are chicken cutlets and rigatoni in marinara in my fridge that mock me as I put the tortillas away.
5:55 pm: For dinner, I'm going to make the Goop Italian Kale & Chicken Soup, mostly because I just want some actual chicken. The soup features gluten-free pasta, but strangely forgoes any actual vegetables and just calls for fennel seeds. Not ground fennel seed, just…fennel seed. I read the fennel seed part over and over again then make myself a sandwich with the leftover chicken cutlets.
7:00 pm: The final part of this failed experiment is a cocktail, and hoo boy do I need a cocktail. Goop doesn’t feature any ol' cocktail though—they have CBD oil cocktails with names like “Up In Smoke” and “Cannabis Cup.” It’s worth noting that I don’t do the weed, but supposedly the CBD oil won’t get me super stoned. I settle on the “Gin & Chronic." The drink is fine, and as far as I can tell CBD oil gives you all of the side effects of weed: cotton mouth and hunger, while simultaneously doing….nothing. Why the hell would anyone do such a rude-ass thing to a perfectly polite alcoholic beverage?
9:30 pm: I'm astonished by how much damn time this lifestyle requires. Supposedly Gwyneth fits in two hours of exercise on top of this, not to mention the time spent procuring all of these bizarre ingredients. I Google how much it would cost to have a personal chef, assistant, and a private, in-home yoga studio.
As suspected, the Goop diet is high bougie. Most of the ingredients aren’t readily available in your local supermarket—and keep in mind, I live in San Francisco. If I couldn't find chlorella algae, good luck. I know that this was supposed to open up my chakras and make me radiant and stuff, but the bizarre arrays of textures paired with some of the most one-dimensional flavors available made me feel dour, at best. With a few minor tweaks (acid, fat) and normal, everyday ingredients, these recipes could be good. What's the point of clean eating if it makes you miserable?
Mostly, all of this just made me crave a cheeseburger. Which is what I'm going to go eat—propped up on my chest in bed, like a certain someone I know—right now.