For context, a recent clip of Gwyneth speaking on The Art of Being Well podcast with Dr. Will Cole began to gain traction on TikTok due to her description of her daily “wellness routine.”
@dearmedia #gwynethpaltrow shares her daily wellness routine on The Art Of Being Well, listen now 🎧 #wellnessroutine #healthandwellness #healthylifestyle #routines #goop #podcastclips ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim
The gist of it is that Gwyneth will have an early paleo dinner, fast until midday (save for some coffee), exercise for an hour, then for lunch typically have some soup — which is often just bone broth.
Paleo is often dubbed the caveman diet and tries to re-create what humans ate during the Paleolithic era, although there’s considerable debate as to what exactly that entails. According to UC Davis Health, paleo has the potential for health risks including heart disease, osteoporosis, rickets, and bone fractures.
TikTokers began stitching the clip, dubbing Gwyneth an “almond mom” (i.e. an older woman who’s obsessed with diet culture) or simply criticized her for promoting under-eating and diet culture.
In the full podcast interview, Gwyneth said that she might also have “celery juice with lemon [or] lemon water” in the morning. She also claimed she had “trouble with methylation” and her “body is not a natural detoxer.”
Of her paleo dinners, she continued, “It was hard at first when I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to have to eliminate all the joys and all the pleasure’ and it’s not true. There’s so many ingredients that are packed with flavor — chilis and herbs and lemon. Especially with foods like Mexican foods or with Asian flavors, I think if you ate dinner at our house, most people, when our friends come over, they have no idea that they’re eating healthy food or that it’s paleo.”
So I reached out to Sammi Haber Brondo, a registered dietician based in New York, to get her take on things. “I think in general, this is just very, very little food and actually not that healthy-sounding at all,” Sammi began in a phone call with BuzzFeed.
“In the morning, [she has] coffee, celery juice, lemon water — those aren’t meals, those are beverages. Even when she has lunch, and she said she has green soup and bone broth, that’s also barely food, those are liquid, those are beverages. At night, she has just a really vegetable-heavy meal. This is really restrictive eating.”
On the note of Gwyneth’s exercise habits, Sammi emphasized, “We need enough energy to exercise. She’s not giving herself enough calories or energy to exercise.”
Sammi continued, “I can’t and don’t want to diagnose anyone without knowing the full picture or knowing them, but it definitely screams disordered eating to me. It’s not enough food for anyone.”As for Gwyneth’s full claims about “detoxing” and “methylation,” Sammi replied, “She was trying to use [methylation] to say she can’t detox well, but at the end of the day, our kidneys and liver do all of our detoxing. Unless you have really severe kidney or liver disease, your kidneys and liver will detox for you.”
“She’s just kind of using a big word to seem like she knows what she’s talking about,” Sammi added.
Ultimately, Sammi sees Gwyneth’s words, and other content like it, as a real potential cause of harm for others who view it as a way to get “healthy” or try to emulate Gwyneth’s looks.
“Even if she’s just saying, ‘This is how I eat,’ the bottom line is [that with] anyone who says how they eat on social media, you [will] have at least one person, if not many, many more, who will use that as an example of, ‘Oh, this is what I should do,'” Sammi said.
I further spoke to Kathleen Meehan, a registered dietitian based in LA. “My concern as an eating disorder dietitian is that there’s a lot of behaviors in here that read pretty disordered,” she began.
“I see [her] highlighting low-calorie eating, even though she’s not explicitly saying that. She’s normalizing things like fasting and restriction, and worrying about things like detoxing. That feels pretty problematic to me.”
“One thing that really struck me [while] listening to her interview is that she works really hard on feeling well. She does all of these different things that, by the way, are almost inaccessible to most people,” Kathleen continued. “I feel like it’s in relation to needing to eat more — when we’re not eating enough, we don’t feel well. … Something I see with people that I work with is, like, we often don’t realize that eating inadequately really impacts how we feel until we’re on the other side.”
As for Gwyneth’s insistence that she is not eliminating “all the joys and all the pleasure” from food, Kathleen added, “I feel like she knows that there’s a backlash against that type of eating. I’m sure some of the things she eats are very flavorful. But I just think it’s interesting that most of what she’s describing in terms of her eating — like drinking celery juice, or drinking bone broth — there’s not a whole lot of eating that she describes. It’s normal to eat food, it’s normal to chew food, it’s normal to eat every three hours and have something substantial.”