I recently bought Gwenyth Paltrow’s new cookbook, “It’s All Good” for my mom, and I couldn’t resist flipping through it before I gave it to her.
Gwenyth has received so much negative press about this book lately so I just had to see what all the fuss was about.
One article I read claimed that she’s starving her kids by forcing them to avoid wheat and dairy.
The truth: she had her entire family tested, and they all tested positive for wheat, dairy & egg intolerances, which makes sense as these foods are some of the most popular allergens. I think any good mom would cut these foods out of their kids’ diets if they were making them sick.
Other critics are giving Gwenyth a hard time for being so strict with her diet, and say it’s extreme & unhealthy.
The truth: she starts the book by explaining the situation that caused her to change her diet. One day she was serving lunch to her family, and started to shake & almost fainted; she had had a severe migraine & panic attack; a reaction to her food intolerances. She was tested and it turned out: “I was severely anemic; I was vitamin D deficient, my liver was very congested, my stress levels were sky-high…there was a lot of inflammation in my system, and my hormones were off.”
These are all symptoms of food intolerances, and built-up toxins in the body. Many people live with this all the time, and may not experience extreme symptoms like Gwenyth, but instead always feel sick, low-energy or “off.”
Her doctor put her on an elimination diet (good doctor!): no coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no shellfish, no deepwater fish, no potatoes, no tomatoes, no bell pepper, no eggplant, no corn, no wheat, no meat, no soy, nothing processed at all.”
These are common foods to eliminate when one has severe food intolerances as they are all common allergens. Foods are then re-introduced one at a time to see which ones are causing symptoms.
This is exactly how I would help a client who came to me with a story similar to Gwenyth’s. I wouldn’t consider her diet unhealthy or extreme, and it’s strict because it has to be. Do we criticize the diets of people with celiac disease? It’s a healthy diet that works for her, and she now feels great.
While I really enjoyed the book I have a few criticisms of my own (sorry Gwenyth):
Too much soy
At the beginning of the book, she includes a section on soy; stressing the importance of buying non-GMO (soy is one the top genetically modified foods in the world, and it’s in everything!), and also talks about how soy contains phytoestrogens or plant estrogens, which can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. This can lead to hormonal imbalance, which can affect fertility and increase risk of certain types of cancer.
After reading this preface and considering the fact that soy is a very common allergen; I was surprised to see quite a bit of soy in her recipes. She frequently includes soy sauce, soy milk and “Vegenaise” (a soy-based version of mayo).
Soy does have some health benefits, and if you enjoy it I would recommend organic/non-GMO and fermented soy products (ie. Miso), and consume in moderation (no more than once/week).
Avoiding gluten completely is not necessary if you don’t have gluten sensitivity. That being said, gluten can be difficult to digest (it’s a sticky protein) so it doesn’t hurt to avoid it from time to time, and it’s a great way to experiment with some great gluten-free food (ie. coconut flour, brown rice pasta, quinoa etc.).
What this book is
– Recipe ideas for people who struggle with food allergies
– A great guide for anyone who wants to try a detox for a short period of time. For the most part, the recipes don’t include: red meat (except for a couple – Gwenyth doesn’t eat red meat, but the co-author does), cow dairy (goat & sheep milk are included, which have smaller protein particles & are easier to digest), refined sugar, gluten, processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine. Eliminating these foods for a period of time decreases the body’s toxic load, and can result in: weight loss, improved mood, clear skin, healthy digestion, increased energy, improved sleep, and increased libido.
– Great assortment of healthy recipes ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks & dessert
– Awesome information about an assortment of healthy foods for those who want to start making changes to their diet (even includes sample meal plans at the back!)
What this book isn’t
– The holy grail of how to eat healthy (which many critics are taking it as). It’s what works for Gwenyth. Nutrition is completely individual. Everyone has a different body chemistry, likes/dislikes, schedules, etc. This cookbook has great ideas for healthy recipes if you want to cut back on red meat, gluten, dairy & sugar, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut these foods out completely if you’re not intolerant to them.
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