book

Let me be clear and start by letting you all know that I have a love-hate relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow, which leans more towards strong disdain/hate more than the love part.  Not for reasons you would probably guess though.  I’ve loved her as an actress for many years, and like most of the world, thought she was nothing but perfection when she sweetly accepted her Oscar in “the pink dress“.  No one can doubt her pure natural beauty, even if you think she’s too thin, too boyish, too flat chested, whatever. The woman is a beauty and at age 40, she looks much less tired than I do.

But after an initial love affair with the goopster, it became clear that Gwyneth and I didn’t have a whole lot in common, as she began to appear on more and more talk shows and more and more magazine interviews.  My disdain for Gwyneth reached epic proportions when she appeared on Conan with her legs all oiled up, talking about how she had just arrived home from a trip to some remote, far-flung island that clearly, only millionaires could ever afford traveling to, and she paused and looked at the audience, and smugly instructed them that “You all have to go there!”  As if.

I certainly don’t have a problem with affluent people, and I don’t have a problem with people born into wealth.  But when you are so clearly detached from reality and how the world actually works, that you assume everyone is able to live the same lifestyle as you Gwyneth, you come across as not just affluent but as delusional and entitled.  There are links upon links which I can refer you to, which shows the goopsters detachment from reality, but I’ll spare you, because I’m sure many of you get the picture.

So you may have heard that GP has a new book out titled It’s All Good.  I had no intent of touching it, until I read this review, and I gotta admit, it got me curious (clearly).  It’s subtitled Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great.   Well heck, I want to look good and I definitely want to feel great.  At 37, I’ve been feeling exhausted lately, which no amount of rest or sleeping in can seem to cure.  My dark circles seem to be getting more pronounced, and I’ve been experiencing chronic back pain that is some days so debilitating I can barely sleep.   I work out on a regular basis, I overall eat sort of healthy (but could always do better), and I try to take care of my skin.  But I was still looking and feeling older than I ever imagined feeling at 37.  So I asked my Dad to track down the book at the library for me, because I refused to give her any of my money.

30 pages in, I have to admit that I sort of liked it.  I actually really liked it. Loved it in fact.

Let me warn you in advance, if you are already slightly annoyed with GP, you will definitely at times, be annoyed with her in this book. 

Gwyneth-Paltrow's-Quiona-Granolaenjoying my breakfast in the garden, aka my backyard

Evidence A: The book jacket says “While she may not eat this way every day of her busy life, this is the food Paltrow turns to when she needs to revitalize or lose weight…and now you can too!”  First off, when the f*%k did GP ever need to lose weight?  That kind of sentence right there is why people in general are usually annoyed with thin people.

Evidence B: In her introduction, Gwyneth writes, “One sunny afternoon in London, in the spring of 2011, I thought – without sounding overly dramatic – that I was going to die.  I had just served lunch in the garden at home…”  Sorry GP, but you most definitely sound overly dramatic, especially as you read on and see that she was having a migraine.  Just a regular old migraine, not some scary heart attack or anything.  And she was serving lunch in “the garden”.  Do you mean your backyard?  She goes on to tell us she ordered up a battery of expensive tests (and you should too!), and equated a lot of her physical woes on the fact that she had been spending the last year eating too many french fries and red wine.   If you’ve known GP’s antics for as long as I have, are we really supposed to believe that the health crazed mom of 2 really went on some wild french fry eating bender for  a year?  Give me a break Gwyneth.

Evidence C: In one of the recipe instructions for a kids meal, she writes, “See the recipe for Homemade Gluten-Free Dumpling Wrappers on page 229, or find premade ones in the grocery store – we know they’re usually made with wheat, but considering that they’re a vehicle for quinoa and veggies, we’re pretty okay letting a little gluten fly here!”  Oh Gwyneth, you’re so easygoing and lighthearted!    Thanks for giving us allowance to feed our kids a little gluten!

Evidence D: One recipe is noted as being “quite a bit of work to make”.  You told me the recipes were easy Gwyneth!  Your book jacket even says so!  You lied GP, you lied.

So why in the hell am I still reading the book?  And why would you want to?  Well here’s why.juice

I do believe that food has the power to change us, both physically and mentally.  It’s as simple as when I eat well I feel well, and when I eat bad, I feel bad.  I am very sensitive to sugar and experience such a sugar hangover and crash the day after over-indulging that I suffer from a raging headache and mood swings all day.  When I eat too much processed foods I have a low energy and my digestion gets all out of whack for days.  My own body tells me food effects me, and science does too.  I believe clean eating goes well beyond just portion control and eating your fruits and veggies, though, and do believe there is indeed a science to it, based on your body’s needs.  Ever read the Eat Right For Your Blood Type Diet book?  Certain foods, no matter how healthy we think they to be, can in fact have different negative effects on your body.  If you believe that food allergies exist, then this type of science follows along the same lines (somewhat).

I am overall, poorly educated when it comes to true clean eating.  I have wanted a crash course for a long time now, but was overwhelmed by the dizzying array of information out there.   Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, the list goes on.  I would like to try out baking with rice flour, but I haven’t a clue what to do.  I’d love to try and eliminate a little bit of dairy from my diet, but where do I start?  This book gives a very simplistic crash course on eliminating some of these items for your everyday cooking.  All recipes are virtually dairy free and gluten free, and many are vegan.  While my hardcore vegan for life friends may in fact think the recipes are “lame” (Laura!), for a rookie, I’m finding them overall very mountable.

The content covers a wide range of diets and ways of eating.  To be honest, I don’t diet, but rather try to eat a well balanced diet as much as I can, and I think the many diet plans out there are overwhelming and a little overboard.  But whatever type of “diet” or eating system you follow, these recipes fit in with most of them.  Gwyneth says so.

Her co-author Julia Turshen keeps the book real and normal, not just a book dedicated to GP.  Gwyneth’s co-author’s voice is real and authentic, and her spirit shines through in the photos of her throughout the book.  She seems like the kind of gal I’d like to hang with.

Good little tips sprinkled throughout.  Did you know that if you soak almonds in water for half a day, they are easier to digest and absorb the great benefits into your system?  Neither did I!

chicken

Braised Chicken With Green Olives and Lemon, served alongside Mark Bittman’s Stewed Vegetables With Beans and Quinoa

So what about the actual recipes?  Well, I’ve only tried 3 so far, and so far so good.  The braised chicken with green olives I made last night was tasty and overall easy to prepare.  I was surprised she had my fry the chicken in EVOO I’ll admit, and the rest of the recipe instructions weren’t anything ground breaking, in fact I’ve made an almost identical chicken before, sans the green olives.  But it was good and at her urging, I bought an organic chicken for the first time and it was in fact very beautiful.

The simple green juice was indeed simple and delicious.   Only calling for 4 ingredients, it is the least complex but best tasting juice I’ve ever had, and I’ve had  a lot of concoctions!

I made the Quinoa Granola With Olive Oil + Maple Syrup last night and ate it this morning, and HOLY SMOKES, it is fantastic.  The kids gobbled it up this morning as a cereal and I ate it for dessert with goat’s milk yogurt (look at me!), and this morning as cereal with almond milk.  I couldn’t find quinoa flakes (GP says she’s allergic to oats, who is actually allergic to oats?!), but I used my coach’s oats because they’re so flaky and it came out great.

I plan to try more recipes in the following 4 weeks, before the book is due back to the library, and I even plan to follow the 7 day cleanse menu plan to see if I do in fact look good and feel even better.  I’ll keep you abreast of my adventures with Gwyneth, if you’re interested, and will definitely be posting some more of the recipes I try on Instagram, so please follow along if you’re interested.  I’ll use the hashtag #gwynethmademedoit

Also, because a couple of you asked for the green juice recipe, here you go:

The Best Green Juice
5 large leaves of kale, ribs discarded leaves roughly chopped
1 lemon, zest and pith removed
1 large apple, roughly chopped
A 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 sprig of fresh mint

Push all ingredients through a juice or in a powerful blender. If you’re blending, add 1/2 cup water. Juice/blend and enjoy.