I Tried Living Like Gwyneth Paltrow and Barely Lasted 3 Days
I don’t like goat milk enough
The first thing I do when I embark upon my intrepid mission to live like Gwyneth Paltrow is to part my hair severely down the middle — GPal’s signature style. The second thing I do is look in the mirror and immediately regret convincing myself a mere three days ago that I could hold off on scheduling an appointment for highlights until May. How daft.
I shake my dishwater strands and map out a game plan. I know I can’t simply live “like Gwyneth Paltrow,” because who is Gwyneth Paltrow, really? One day she’s drinking goat milk and waxing poetic about flowering zucchini plants in her garden, and the next she’s smoking cigarettes and getting laser treatments. She would rather do crack than eat cheese from a can, but claims her favorite airport snack is Doritos.
Gwyneth contains multitudes. Too complex to reduce to a single flavor profile, she is the umami walnut of public figures, and I am the latest plebeian nutcracker in a long string of admirers. To cover as much Gwyneth as possible and still keep things digestible, I decide to break her persona into three bite-sized chunks: “My body is a temple” Gwyneth, “Clickbait” Gwyneth and “Cool-girl” Gwyneth. If you are wondering how on earth these seemingly disparate personas can possibly exist inside one single human, let me answer your question with another question: Are we 100% sure Gwyneth Paltrow is human?
DAY 1: “MY BODY IS A TEMPLE” GWYNETH
There is a blog post on Goop with a feature image of an adorable goat nestled inside a rustic bucket. Its headline reads: “You Probably Have a Parasite — Here’s What to Do About It.”
What follows is a delightful Q&A in which Santa Fe-based naturopathic physician and homeopath Dr. Linda Lancaster prescribes goat milk to draw your probable parasite out, which explains the eight-day goat-milk cleanse Gwyneth referenced in her January Women’s Health cover story.
“You can get goat’s milk at most health food stores, but if patients have access to safe, raw goat’s milk, that’s the ideal,” says Dr. Lancaster. My local goat is on vacation as of this writing, so that rules out raw milk. Rats! I go to Whole Foods before work and purchase a small bottle of Coach Farm Yo-Go Plain Cultured Goat Milk — regrettably not fresh from a teat, but “additive-free” nonetheless. I take two contemplative sips and immediately decide goat milk is not going to be the only thing entering my esophagus today. I remain determined to keep treating my body like a Paltrow-blessed temple for at least 24 hours and decide to pivot to one of her slightly less-punishing detox plans. (I’m pretty fond of my probable parasite anyway; his name is Francis.)
The Annual Goop Detox rules are straightforward, but tough. Alcohol, caffeine, added sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, corn and nightshades (white, blue, red and yellow potatoes; tomatoes; eggplant; peppers) are all strictly off-limits. I chase my goat milk with a delicious, satisfying, 10/10, stick-to-your-ribs mug of hot water with lemon. After draining the mug, I am still hungry enough to eat two actual goats, but instead drink a green juice from the office fridge. It is the only thing I can find with Goop Detox-approved ingredients.
For lunch, I order a vegetable stir fry, hold the soy. It comes with a hefty serving of farro, which I can’t eat because apparently farro is lousy with gluten.
I am hungry again an hour later. This is annoying (but not surprising) given that I only ate vegetables for lunch. I eye a bag of almonds in the office snack cupboard. Gwyneth only eats “activated” almonds, which are almonds that have been soaked in water to remove their phytic acid. I drop a few into a glass of water on my desk, thinking I will marinate them for approx. 30 minutes and enjoy the fruits of my manual labor. Five minutes later, my activated dreams are shattered when Kate informs me I have to soak nuts overnight in order to reap the true nutritional benefits.
When I get home from work, I cue up a 27-minute Tracy Anderson full-body workout on YouTube. For the uninitiated, Tracy Anderson is Gwyneth’s trainer and trusted fitness advisor. She is, in fact, credited for the successful restoration of Gwyneth’s ass after the birth of her son, Moses. After completing all 27 minutes of the workout, my body feels less like a temple and more like a sweaty potato, but Gwyneth temples aren’t built in a day.
For dinner, I eat tomato soup (lousy with nightshades) and a side of “cauliflower rice,” after which I consciously uncouple my fingers from a bag of Hershey’s Kisses I keep in the pantry.
DAY 2: “CLICKBAIT” GWYNETH
“The real golden ticket here is the Mugwort V-Steam: You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release — not just a steam douche — that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in LA, you have to do it.” These words of advice are excerpted from a Goop review of Tikkun Spa which, to no one’s surprise except perhaps that of Gwyneth’s parboiled vagina, broke the internet shortly after publication. The subsequent backlash rained down like manna from the SEO heavens:
For the Love of Goop Don’t Steam Your Vagina
3 Reasons You Definitely Shouldn’t Get Your Vagina Steamed
Sorry, Gwyneth Paltrow, But Steaming Your Vagina is a Bad Idea
Gwyneth Paltrow Defends Vaginal Steaming Against Medical Science
Vagina Steaming Isn’t as Glamorous as Gwyneth Paltrow Makes It Sound
I dutifully Google “vagina steaming” to research options in my area and am shocked to discover 10 listings on Yelp. One even has a review raving about the “ab massage” during the treatment. Huh. Upon further investigation, the barrage of medical advice against even entertaining the idea appears to be quite unanimous. I might as well just send my uterus to a normal dry cleaner next time I have to wash some cashmere sweaters. Much cheaper.
Speaking of vaginas (ace transition, I know)…Did you hear about Gwyneth Paltrow’s jade eggs? It all started with another topnotch headline courtesy of Goop: “Better Sex: Jade Eggs for Your Yoni.” The feature image is extremely choice; I’ll spare you a description and let it be a private surprise for you and your screen.
According to beauty guru/healer/inspiration/friend Shiva Rose (whose entire title I wish to adopt as my own, but that’s another article), “Jade eggs can help cultivate sexual energy, increase orgasm, balance the cycle, stimulate key reflexology around vaginal walls, tighten and tone, prevent uterine prolapse, increase control of the whole perineum and bladder, develop and clear chi pathways in the body, intensify feminine energy and invigorate our life force.”
Oh, have I mentioned you’re supposed to put them inside your vagina? And sleep with them in there if you’re hardcore??? Sorry, clickbait Gwyneth. I prefer my eggs inside burritos or on top of avocado toast. My chi will have to fend for itself.
In a last-ditch effort to execute at least one clickbait Gwyneth activity, I Google the recipe for Goop’s internet-viral “sex bark.” It’s apparently an aphrodisiac, so I am excited to whip up a batch before diving into Homeland season 6.
Unfortunately, however, almost none of the ingredients in “sex bark” (including “sex dust” and ho shou wu) are available at regular grocery stores — not even Whole Foods. You have to buy them at moonjuiceshop.com and in total, they cost $93 dollars. For sex chocolate! I re-couple my fingers with my bag of Hershey’s Kisses.
I realize this means I completely failed to embody any aspect of clickbait Gwyneth. In penance, I will name my firstborn child Raisin.
DAY 3: “COOL-GIRL” GWYNETH
When she’s not doing stuff like drinking goat milk for eight days or working out religiously, Gwyneth Paltrow is sooooooo chill!!!!
“I really don’t have any rules. I really believe in delicious food and enjoying life and not saying no to anything,” she told Yahoo Beauty.
And then there’s this, in You magazine: “I don’t mind my wrinkles. I think aging is beautiful and very sexy. I’m never going to give up martinis and French fries and I’m never going to be one of those people who sacrifice life for vanity. So this is me.’
Translation: this is cool-girl Gwyneth.
I know what you’re thinking. Cool-girl Gwyneth sounds a lot like cool-girl Amy in the first half of Gone Girl, but cool-girl Gwyneth’s plot has no twist. She drinks martinis and eats French fries, but has not faked her own murder. Not even once! She’s too relaxed.
I start abiding by her “no rules” rule immediately upon awakening. For example, as a rule, I would usually apply concealer to the zit I discover on my cheek, but instead I forgo makeup entirely because no rules are allowed. That’s the rule.
I continue disregarding rules right and left as I decide what to eat for breakfast, opting for a muffin the size of my entire adult woman face instead of my usual bowl of sad desk oatmeal. I commend myself for choosing nourishment that doubles as a zit shield for optimal selfie-taking.
Cool-girl Gwyneth is all about balance. She keeps organic snacks in the house for her children but also lets them eat Oreos. She’s cool like that. I do not have any children, so instead I encourage my coworkers to chase their (hopefully) organic lunches with various processed treats such as Hi-Chews and (hopefully) non-organic popcorn. All I ask in exchange is that they start calling me Hoss — my own devil-may-care nickname inspired by none other than GPal’s “Goop.”
Cool-girl Gwyneth’s chillness extends beyond food and into her relationship with ex-husband Chris Martin. “Chris is always welcome at my house and I at his,” she told You magazine. “We go on holidays together – it’s all very relaxed.”
I do not have an ex-husband — or any romantic exes, for that matter — but I do have an ex-friend from high school (what? we drifted!). In lieu of a planned vacation, I follow her on Instagram as an overture of goodwill. It’s all very relaxed.
As final proof of Gwyneth’s carefree ‘tude, I give you her account of her 40th birthday trip to Sedona, Arizona:
“I’ll never forget it. I was starting to hike up the red rocks, and honestly, it was as if I heard the rock say, ‘You have the answers. You are your teacher.’”
I wish I could go to Arizona and commune with the rocks like Gwyneth. I would like to know if I, too, am my very own teacher. Right now, all I know is I just wrote almost 2,000 words about living like a possible alien with a somehow perfect middle part. I should probably stop now.
Feature photo by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.