Gwyneth’s Detox Diet

Hip Mom Tries Gwyneth’s Detox (So You Don’t Have To)

*disclaimer:  PVT would like all of you to know he thinks Gwyneth Paltrow is an egomaniacal quack at best and has no idea why I would read anything she trots out.

What is it about darn Gwyneth? Surely I know — intellectually — that even if I buy a “clean” product from her new beauty line, or attempt one of her newfangled workout regimes, or follow one of her darn detoxes, I won’t suddenly become a tall, willowy blonde with dewy skin and a large staff.

Right, I know this! But I do love her goop newsletters, and I really think she does her homework in the health and wellness field. So when she talks about doing a 10-day “detox” regime in the New Year, I consider it. It occurs to me, now that I am (aaahhh!) in my 40s, my diet should probably not be as reliant as it is on chocolate, Diet Mountain Dew, sugar and wine. And I have these odd little ticks. While I’ve always been a worrier, these days I seem to be plagued with a nameless, restless anxiety — even when there is nothing specific to be concerned about. I suffer from odd bouts of nausea here and there. I have a tiny, imperceptible shake in my left hand. I wake up each morning with a queasy sense of dread as I tick off the tasks I need to complete that day.

I wonder… Are there real changes in my daily sense of sanity that could be brought about through changes in my rather crappy diet? Is there something to this whole “clean eating” thing?  And is it even possible for a regular mom like me to make it through a regular day of lunch-making, carpooling, butt-wiping, crumb sweeping and kid-schlepping without coffee and wine — and not fake my own abduction?

So, while it’s late in January (Hey! New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t start until February. We have to recover from the holidays first!), I attempt the 10-day detox. You won’t believe the rules:

  • No alcohol (whaaaaaaa…..)
  • No caffeine (I can’t even.)
  • No dairy (does whipped cream count?)
  • No eggs
  • No beef, no pork (no BACON?!)
  • No shellfish, no raw fish
  • No gluten
  • No soy
  • No nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers – don’t ask me what a nightshade means)
  • No strawberries, oranges, grapefruits, grapes, bananas
  • No corn
  • No white rice
  • No added sugar (and my reason to live is….?)
  • No peanuts
  • No processed oils and butters (like margarine)

What’s left? Kale, air and sadness?

When I start my grocery list, I review some of  Gwyneth’s suggested recipes and have to laugh.  What, Gwyneth, is teff? Wakame? Bonito flakes? But then I’m humbled. I find all of these odd things at Whole Foods! (Now, they aren’t cheap: Teff (an Ethiopian flour) is $7.69; bonito (fish flakes) are $7.99.)  And things like almond butter, almond milk and cacao powder I find at good old Tarzhay. OK, Gwyneth! Maybe regular moms can do this! So here we go.

Day 1:

In lieu of slugging Diet Mountain Dew as soon as my feet hit the floor, I sip some green tea. It’s not entirely unpleasant; I keep slugging the tea while making buttery eggs and toast for my kids, and while I do want to snatch their leftovers, which are positively crawling with scary gluten, I abstain. I wait until I get all the kids off to school TWO HOURS LATER to make my breakfast, a Chocolate Milkshake Smoothie, which I have in lieu of my morning coffee with cream and whipped cream. I mix almond butter, almond milk, a bit of avocado, cacao powder, and pitted dates in my old, crappy blender, and while it’s certainly not a chocolate milkshake, it’s not horrible (although I probably need a new blender to avoid the big chunks of dates).

The morning goes fairly OK! I’m not too tired, not hungry at all, just a bit thirsty. For lunch, I have turkey deli meat with Vegenaise (there’s no added sugar in this), a Kevita Probiotic drink (I pick one with no added sugar — all this label reading is time consuming!), and some Kale Krunch from Whole Foods. These are little kale “chips” with Gwyneth-approved ingredients like chia seeds. My lunch is a little sad, but not so sad that I cry. Yet! I usually have a little chocolate or cookie for dessert, and this I miss. I have one of my Bai “Molokai Coconut” drinks, which has some sort of proprietary Stevia-based sweetener, and I think Gwyneth would approve.

For dinner, I make ham, biscuits, Rice a Roni and Brussels sprouts roasted in olive oil. Just Brussels sprouts for me! Alas, they are good, but I eat too many, which is not the wisest gastrointestinal decision. But I actually feel OK — calmer, maybe? — than usual. And I notice throughout that night that I feel tired, but in a relaxed, calm way, instead of trying to fight my way through the night with lots of Diet Mountain Dew.

Day 2:

I wake up perhaps a little less shaky the next morning — I have slept fairly well! Huh! I am not terribly hungry, and that’s good, because I make Gwyneth’s morning concoction, “Canarino.”  It sounds just lovely, but all it consists of is boiling water with a swirl of lemon peel (a few days later I slice off some of my finger while slicing the pretty lemon peel). Gah! Hardly my favorite white chocolate mocha. But then I make ”Breakfast Porridge” with the aforementioned teff, oats and coconut milk. I boil this up, and it looks reminiscent of some Dickensian gruel, but I slug on some coconut oil, and it tastes pretty darn good to me! The children? One declares it OK, two deem it disgusting, and the rest won’t go near it. Sigh.

For dinner that night, I make Kimchi Turkey Burgers. Gwyneth declares they are “easy to make, and satisfying enough for non-detoxing friends and spouses.”  As I am pulverizing kimchi (the Korean spicy cabbage) in my food processor to combine with the ground turkey, I am terribly skeptical – but wow! She’s right. They are tasty with a great zip that isn’t too much for the kids.  One for the win! But alas, the sweet potato “noodles” I found at Target are a big bust. For some reason my family prefers good old gluten fettuccini. Can you imagine?

Day 3:

This morning, as I brew my darn hot lemon water, I am really missing sugar. I am quite certain there is a circle in Dante’s Inferno where you have to drink herbal tea while serving your kids double chocolate Costco muffins.

Day 4:

There might have been a little cheating last night. I am not going to divulge more.  Overall, though, I am impressed with how good I feel and how most of the time, I don’t need or miss sugar or dairy. Man, this would be really easy if I lived in an Ashram with no kids. We have broiled salmon for dinner, which everyone devours, along with broccoli and potatoes. No potatoes for moi.

Day 5:

Today I wake up a bit h-angry, so instead of turkey for lunch, I decide to treat myself to lunch at the new Ediblend cafe. Ediblend is overflowing with all kinds of Gwyneth-approved ingredients: kale, cashews, maca, chia seeds, and smoothies galore. (Pure Food and Juice on Brookside is also a great spot for detox-friendly meals)  I order a turmeric shot and their glorious kale salad with walnuts (I’m not kidding! It is really good.), and am just sitting down to inhale my salad when I realize that the kale salad has Parmesan shavings. Duh, dairy! I suppose I could have a salad custom made, but I realize I just don’t care. Salad vanishes.

Day 6:

It’s Friday. How are a weekend and a detox at all compatible when you’re a mom?  Gwyneth actually has the audacity to suggest you start the detox on a Friday “so you have the weekend to rest and relax.” Ha! Apparently, Gwyneth can outsource all the driving to birthday parties and soccer games. I consider doing a “poor man’s detox” and taking the weekend off for my mental wellbeing. Plus, we’re going to our traditional VT family Mexican night! Pretty sure that the tequ….um, nightshades, aren’t on the detox. So, I celebrate the end of the week with the fam, enjoying all sorts of spicy delights. The next morning I wake up feeling like I got beaten by maracas for several hours. Whoa! I guess if I’m going to “re-tox,” I have to re-tox a little more slowly!

Days 7-10, slouching toward the finish line:

After taking one day off, I attempt to get back to my more stringent plan — and I do, more or less, although I never manage to make that Japanese detox soup which requires bonito flakes (so much effort for something no one but me will approach with a yardstick!)  So was this worth it? Is it repeatable? I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to give up wine, mochas or chocolate for long periods of time. (What can I say? I’m weak!) But I can honestly say I won’t ever go back to Diet Mountain Dew and truffles for breakfast; now eggs or oatmeal with coconut oil and green tea are really soothing and filling, and keep me calm and satisfied. Breaking a 20-year bad habit is not a small thing! And while I still feel anxious at times, I feel a bit better equipped and calmer to handle it all.

As for you? I don’t know! If you are going through a relatively calm period in your mothering, where you are getting enough-ish sleep, and feel like you can take the extra time to make a few dishes that require a bit of thought, then give it a try. But if you’re living a season of chaos and sleep-deprivation, skip it for now. If you’re on the fence, you might even try to make a little change — even for a day or two — for a little mini health tune-up. But, dear mamas, in the end, if there is one little “vice” you have that makes you happy, keeps you sane, and allows all the love to flow out of you just a little more freely — then I say bless you, and let’s thank our lucky stars we don’t have to glow like Gwyneth every day.

Categories: Hip Mom