Gwyneth Paltrow is addressing the controversy over her ultra-strict wellness routine after a clip of her explaining it went viral.
In a recent interview with The Art of Being Well podcast host Dr. Will Cole, the Oscar-winning actress walked through what she eats in a day, which admittedly doesn’t sound like much. Apparently, Paltrow drinks coffee in the morning, practices intermittent fasting, has soup or bone broth for lunch “a lot of the days,” and eats a Paleo, vegetable-heavy dinner “early in the evening.” She also exercises for an hour every day.
That snippet of their conversation went viral on social media, with many folks expressing concerns that Paltrow’s stringent diet was verging into disordered eating territory. It’s easy to see why people were so critical: Paltrow is the founder of Goop, a holistic wellness brand with a massive following. As a successful entrepreneur in this space, she has a degree of authority, and with authority comes responsibility.
Not to mention, she is a privileged celebrity whose thin frame fits Hollywood’s rigid beauty ideals. It’s safe to say that when women like Paltrow espouse a certain wellness routine, people will listen, even if it feels reminiscent of diet culture’s toxic rhetoric.
“If you want to eat one real meal a day… be my guest,” The View co-host Meghan McCain opined in a Daily Mail op-ed about the clip. “But the problem is that Paltrow is not just living her best life — she’s broadcasting it out to the world and selling it on her website.”
As People reported, Paltrow later addressed the backlash in a live Q&A session on Instagram Stories. “I think it’s important for everybody to know that I was doing a podcast with my doctor,” she told her 8.3 million followers. “So, this is a person I’ve been working with for over two years now to deal with some chronic stuff.”
Paltrow has long COVID, a post-viral condition with potentially debilitating symptoms that impacts an estimated one in 13 U.S. adults who were infected with COVID-19. Her work with Dr. Cole led her to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet — so, lots of veggies and minimal sugars.
“This is based on my medical results and extensive testing that I’ve done over time,” she said. And while her routine is “working very well” to keep her long COVID symptoms at bay, Paltrow wasn’t trying to offer “advice for anybody else.”
“It’s really just what has worked for me,” the actress explained, “and it’s been very powerful and very positive.”
“This is not to say I eat this way all day, every day,” she continued. “And by the way, I eat far more than bone broth and vegetables. I eat full meals, and I also have a lot of days of eating whatever I want. You know, eating french fries and whatever. My baseline really has been to try to be healthy and eat foods that will really calm the system down.”
So, there you have it: Paltrow does eat more than bone broth and veggies, and her diet is less strict and more varied than the viral clip let on.
This whole controversy is a great reminder that just because a celebrity promotes their diet or fitness regimen doesn’t mean it will work for you. The protocol Paltrow described doesn’t suit my needs, and it probably won’t suit yours, either. Most of us need to consume a lot more than bone broth and vegetables to fuel our bodies, especially if we’re exercising regularly.
Simply put, there is no universally applicable wellness routine. It all depends on your individual health concerns, lifestyle factors, and fitness goals.
It’s equally important to acknowledge systemic issues surrounding wellness and nutrition. As a thin, wealthy white person, Paltrow navigates the world with a lot of privilege. She doesn’t live in a food desert, so she’s easily able to access fresh produce, and she can afford whatever food or workout classes she wants. For many people in the United States, that isn’t the case. In 2021 alone, a staggering 13.5 million American households faced food insecurity.
If you’re concerned about your health or nutrition, don’t get recommendations from podcast interviews. Instead, consult with a professional nutritionist, dietician, or healthcare provider to develop a personalized plan.
Check out these powerful quotes to inspire healthier attitudes around food and nutrition:
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