Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook raises controversy

Gwyneth Paltrow

The actress Gwyneth Paltrow has become quite prominent in the food and lifestyle industry. She co-hosted with Mario Batali a PBS food show on Spanish food; published a cookbook (My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness); and set up a lifestyle website at goop.com. (This latter website raised a lot of eyebrows when it was calculated that her wardrobe of "spring essentials" would cost more than $450,000.)

But it is her second cookbook, just published, that has raised a firestorm of controversy. Called It's All Good, she sets out to describe the healthy eating she was encouraged to follow after experiencing a period of high stress and fatigue. Her doctor prescribed an elimination diet that meant no coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no shellfish, no deep-water fish, no wheat, no meat, no soy, and nothing processed at all. This book describes the recipes she developed to make this diet tasty.

The book received a number of critical reviews, especially on Amazon, but it was Mark Bittman who created a widespread reaction to the book. In his article, Healthy Eating on Just $300 a Day, he takes her to task not only for the quack science the book espouses but the implication that only the very wealthy can afford a healthy diet. Yahoo calculated that following Paltrow's diet (which includes duck eggs and rare Hawaiian honey as staples) would cost $300/day.

Others have piled on with the criticism, including Eater, which had a field day with The Best Lines From Gwyneth Paltrow's New Cookbook.  So far we haven't found any good reviews - if any of you are familiar with the book, we'd love to hear your sentiments regarding whether there's an argument to be made for adding it to a cookbook library.

7 Comments

  • sir_ken_g  on  4/9/2013 at 12:01 PM

    Food elitism at it's worst. Don't add it.

  • Vanessa  on  4/10/2013 at 6:05 AM

    Food elitism, and apparently the elimination of almost everything that tastes good! However, there's a certain unfairness here. The linked Mark Bittman / Shine! Yahoo articles that call this a $300/day diet are a bit disingenous and downright misleading in the name of making sport of Paltrow. All their costs are based on buying every kind of pantry supply from scratch. See for example, what they call the $44 muffin, detailed below. Sweet Potato & Five-Spice Muffins Sweet potato $1 Almond milk $3 Xylitol (a sweetener) $10 Gluten-free flour $20 Five-spice powder $4 Baking powder $3 Baking soda $3 Total: $44 If you are interested, here's the link: http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/gwyneth-paltrow%E2%80%99s-300-a-day-it%E2%80%99s-all-good-no--it%E2%80%99s-not-meal-plan-211506395.html Also, the diet is said to eliminate all "processed" foods, but the $300/day calculation includes some things that I think of as processed (vegenaise, dijon mustard, quinoa flakes). I haven't seen anything from the book itself, so I can't tell whether these are ingredients specified by la Paltrow or included by the commenter (so I'm not sure whether it is the author or the commenter who is responsible for this apparent contradiction in terms).

  • sgump  on  4/13/2013 at 12:31 PM

    Just a clarification: Even though "Healthy Eating on Just $300 a Day" appeared in Mark Bittman's *New York Times* column, the piece was apparently actually written by Jennifer Mascia.

  • NC Girl  on  4/13/2013 at 10:34 PM

    Seems to be wide inaccurate characterization or over simplification of the cookbook. I recently bought the cookbook without any awareness of the controversy. I am not a vegan nor do i have a gluten allergy. The elimination diet is only a small part of the recipes in the book which actually seems to be more focused on vegan and/or gluten free recipes. there are great recipes that use almond milk. I have a son who has a dairy allergy so we use almond milk- looking forward to the banana ice cream recipe. Some dishes may be costly- some are not! I think feeding our children whole foods- avocados, kale, spinach, fish, sweet potatoes, figs, etc...cannot be bad. I am pretty certain the Paltrow kids are indulging in a baguette now and again- but as a baseline packing your kitchen with healthy foods seems like a great idea.

  • maggielynne  on  4/24/2013 at 9:49 PM

    I am waiting to get it from the library. Mostly for her hot sauce recipe! I keep wondering why non of the "health" gurus that are advocates for being vegan neglect the FACT that 15-to-20% of the world population are NON-Secretors who don't process carbs and fats properly, amongst other issues. That is literally trillions of people. I tried a 30-day vegan challenge... religiously... eating a lot of vegetables and also eating small portions and did not lose any weight, my cholesterol did not drop and my triglycerides shot way up!!!!

  • Janice from Nantucket  on  6/7/2013 at 12:39 PM

    I love the book. The people that are saying all the negative remarks probably don't eat healthy. I think the book is full of great recipes and she had interesting information to pass on to her readers. So, if you don't eat natural and organic food, just don't buy the book. The rest of us that eat healthy can enjoy the book.

  • TanyaPaquet  on  3/14/2014 at 6:59 AM

    You know what, I like this book a lot because it's full of great ideas and I haven't been one bit shy about using substitutions! You've just gotta be smart and use your judgment and knowledge.

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