FEMAIL tests Gwyneth Paltrow's pricey five-day Goop detox

Is Gwyneth Paltrow REALLY the ultimate wellness guru? Food-loving FEMAIL writer tests actress’ VERY pricey five-day Goop detox – and discovers the ultra-healthy plan will hurt more than just your credit card…

  • FEMAIL’s Louise Cheer tried Goop’s annual detox, which lasted five days
  • The cost of the groceries came to almost $300, which included bone broth
  • On the menu is the Green Goddess Soup, something she would never eat again 
  • Cacao Cashew Chews and Gluten-Free Seeded Cracker Tartine were tasty
  • Read on to find out how Louise, who has never been on a diet, fared during detox 

I’d not even started yet and I had already f***ed up. 

There I was on Wednesday night trying to scoop out the copious amounts of arrowroot powder I had accidentally dumped into the Gluten-Free Seeded Crackers I needed to make for the Gwyneth Paltrow-approved Goop Annual New Year Detox.

The recipe had called for two tablespoons, and I had misread and heaped in an entire cup. And now I was fighting a losing battle of trying to sift the powder out of the mixture full of flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, without a sieve.

Up until this point in my life, I had never been on a diet. I’ve just never been very good with that sort of discipline. 

Food is one of my biggest joys in life. Out of the seven deadly sins, I am gluttony personified. When I get a craving for something my appetite for it will not abate until it’s in my belly – sometimes this can last for weeks.

FEMAIL’s Louise Cheer put Gwyneth Paltrow’s five-day Goop detox to the test to see if it can really help to ‘reset’ your body at the start of the year 

Paltrow, seen here in a Vogue video, released a spread of ultra-healthy recipes as part of her annual Goop detox program earlier this month


Food is one of my biggest joys in life. Out of the seven deadly sins, I am gluttony personified. I’m pictured on the left enjoying pasta, and on the right downing tea and a croissant

Happier times: How joyful I usually look while enjoying my food

So I was a very unlikely candidate to try out the five-day detox. But when I saw it, I was intrigued and I was up for the challenge. It seemed to be a reasonable amount of food – the Grilled Chicken Paillard, Turkey and Zucchini Burgers, and Winter Salmon, Delicata Squash and Wilted Spinach with Lemon-Caper Aioli all sounded divine. 

But what I was most worried about initially at the time was its ban on caffeine. My daily cup of tea in the morning is one of the highlights of my day that is steeped in many years of ritual. 

Before I begin, as a disclaimer, I swapped out the almonds and almond butter for cashews and cashew butter as the former nut doesn’t agree with me, and I opted for gluten-free oat milk instead of almond. 

So did I last the distance or did I crumble under the pressure of my hanger (hungry anger)?

The week’s menu: Gwyneth’s five-day detox plan, revealed

SUNDAY PREP 

1. Make the bone broth. Gwyneth says: ‘This is the hardest and longest recipe you will have to make. Better to get it started and out of the way. You can also buy great-quality bone broth’

2. Make the Gluten-Free Seeded Crackers

3. Poach the chicken for the Classic Chicken Salad

4. Make the Parsley Pesto

5. Make the Greener Goddess Soup – ‘it holds well throughout the week’

1. MONDAY 

Morning: Warm water with lemon; Breakfast: Make My Day Smoothie; Lunch: Classic Chicken Salad; Snack: Gluten-Free Seeded Cracker Tartine; Dinner: Greener Goddess Soup 

2. TUESDAY 

Morning: Warm water with lemon; Breakfast: Turmeric-spiced bone broth and Scallions; Lunch: Sesame and zucchini noodle salad; Snack: Cacao Cashew Chews; Dinner: Turkey and zucchini burgers with roasted sweet potatoes and parsley pesto 

3. WEDNESDAY 

Morning: Warm water with lemon; Breakfast: Cacao Cashew Chews; Lunch: Grilled Chicken Paillard with shaved kale salad and apple cider vinaigrette; Snack: Roasted carrot hummus; Dinner: Winter salmon, delicata squash, and wilted spinach with lemon-caper aioli 

4. THURSDAY 

Morning: Warm water with lemon; Breakfast: Make My Day Smoothie; Lunch: Greener Goddess Soup; Snack: Gluten-Free Seeded Cracker Tartine; Dinner: Chicken and vegetable bone broth soup 

5. FRIDAY 

Morning: Warm water with lemon; Breakfast: Make My Day Smoothie; Lunch: Summer rolls with miso-dijon dipping sauce; Snack: Roasted carrot hummus Dinner: Cashew chicken wraps 

Goop approved: My very pricey shopping list for the detox

  • AMAZON 
  • Salmon: $8.99
  • Apple cider: $2.39
  • Rosemary: $1.79
  • Pumpkin seeds: $3.99
  • Tahini: $7.99
  • Flaxseeds: $4.99
  • Red onions: $2.79
  • Cinnamon: $3.69
  • Radishes: $3.99
  • Delicata squash: $2.30
  • Shredded coconut: $3.49
  • Cashew butter: $7.49
  • Chickpeas: $1.49
  • Chopped kale: $1.99
  • Dijon mustard: $1.99
  • Plant-based mayo: $6.99
  • Scallions: $2.47
  • Pitted dates: $3.99
  • Cucumbers: $3.98
  • Ground turkey: $9.98
  • Dill: $1.79
  • Limes: $1.47
  • Everything spice seasoning: $3.79
  • Ginger: $2.99
  • Cocoa powder: $5.52
  • Olive oil: $7.49
  • Garlic: $0.99
  • Carrots: $1.99
  • Mint: $1.79
  • Lemons: $4.29 
  • Capers: $1.99 
  • Mint: $1.79
  • Lemons: $4.29 
  • Capers: $1.99 
  • Shiitake mushrooms: $4.39
  • Cashews: $9.49
  • Chicken breast fillets: $8.99
  • Vegan protein powder: $15.29
  • Thyme: $1.59
  • Sesame seeds: $1.89
  • Chopped frozen spinach: $1.59
  • Zucchini: $5.18
  • Parsley: $3.18
  • Celery salt: $1.25
  • Ground turmeric: $3.29
  • Cabbage: $4.50
  • Lettuce: $2.79
  • Sweet potatoes: $2.79
  • Rice vinegar: $3.29

TOTAL: $201.37 (including tip)

BRODO

Four 30oz frozen containers of chicken stock: $69.00

TOTAL: $75.12 (including sales tax)

WHOLE FOODS

  • Cilantro: $3.98
  • Shallots: $1.36
  • Tamari: $8.69

TOTAL: $23.90 (including sales tax)

HMART

Rice paper rolls: $4.49

TOTAL COST: $ 298.76

The fun begins: Prepping for the detox on Wednesday night

I decided to start my detox mid-week. Right off the bat, I can tell you this particular choice was a mistake (as you’ll read when we get to the weekend). 

I thought I had already reached the depths of despair on Wednesday night when I remembered I wouldn’t be able to savor my first cup of tea for the day the next morning. 

For the record, the detox calls for the follower to be free from ‘caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten, corn, nightshades, soy, refined sugar, shellfish, white rice, and eggs’ for the five days they’re on the detox.

Shopping for this endeavor was an expensive undertaking. Usually I spend about $80 to $90 on groceries for two people, but this week it cost almost $300. 

I also had to shop at four different places to get all the ingredients: Amazon, Whole Foods, Brodo and HMart. So already it was a bit more complicated than my weekly shop.

My fridge teeming with ingredients the night before I began the Goop’s Annual New Year Detox

Some of the dry ingredients included cocoa powder, turmeric, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds. Ingredients for the detox cost almost $300

My first batch of Gluten-Free Seeded Crackers, where I added too much arrowroot powder

What I did like about this detox is that Goop, thanks to chef Kim Floresca, had laid out a meal plan for the five days and included a shopping list. My only complaint is that not every ingredient needed was on the list, a couple of items were missing – like the arrowroot powder for the seeded crackers and the cacao nibs for the smoothie. 

And my husband and I couldn’t find some fresh produce items after going to a few stores, such as celery, red cabbage, kale and spinach – we opted for the frozen items for the last two.

Day one: Thursday

Breakfast + snack

Thursday began how all the other days would start with a glass of warm water and lemon. Not a difficult task as I usually down water first thing in the morning anyway, but I was skeptical about how full I would be with just consuming the Make My Day Smoothie – a concoction of 1 cup of plant-based milk, 1 cup of ice, ¼ cup of frozen avocado pieces, 1 scoop of protein powder, 2 pitted dates, 1 tablespoon of cashew butter and 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs – for breakfast (it’s a lot of liquid). 

I had to use fresh avocado because there was no frozen alternative at my Whole Foods. 

For breakfast lately, I have been having some variation of a bowl of rice, fried/scrambled eggs and kimchi, or a breakfast burrito from the deli near work. 

As predicted I was ravenous before 11.30am and had a bit of apple with cashew butter (a Goop-approved snack) to tide me over past midday, when it was a suitable time to eat lunch.

Thursday began how all the other days started with a glass of warm water and lemon. Pictured here also is the Make My Day Smoothie

As predicted I was ravenous before 11.30am and had a bit of apple with cashew butter (a Goop-approved snack) to tide me over past midday

The Classic Chicken Salad with soy-free veganaise, cucumbers, pickled red onion and the crackers

Lunch

The Classic Chicken Salad was heavy on the protein and I was very relieved with that. The soy-free veganaise may be a bit of a culinary challenge for some, but I prefer the taste of a plant-based mayonnaise, usually soy based though. 

The Gluten-Free Seeded Crackers were also a hit with me – the everything spice seasoning was really coming through with the flavor. 

Dinner

Now the Greener Goddess Soup, which was day one’s dinner option, was not so good. 

The lack of celery made this soup harder to make, but even with its addition I can’t say my opinion of it would have improved as I’m not that particular vegetable’s biggest fan. It just lacked a depth of flavor that meat and other additions normally give soup, so unfortunately I was dreading having it a second time this week. 

I had some Cacao Cashew Chews, which had been prepared earlier in the week, to quell my hunger after that deeply unsatisfying meal. 

Unfortunately the Greener Goddess Soup, which was day one’s dinner option, was not so good

A Goop-styled photo of the Greener Goddess Soup infused with celery, garlic and kale

Day two: Friday 

Breakfast + snack

On the second day, I opted to have the Cacao Cashew Chews for breakfast as I didn’t have the time to defrost my bone broth in the morning. The chews are delicious and are one of the items from this detox I would make and eat again. 

But unfortunately the chews’ impact on my hunger levels was temporary. Before lunch I had to have a snack: my trusty apple and cashew butter combo.

Lunch

As I looked down at my Sesame and Zucchini Noodle Salad, minus the sesame seeds (I had used them all to make the crackers but there was tahini in the dressing), I thanked my past self for having the foresight to include the optional chicken the recipe had called for because without it I would have been miserable. 


On the second day, I had the Cacao Cashew Chews (my version seen left, compared to Goop’s on the right) for breakfast as I didn’t have the time to defrost my bone broth in the morning

As I looked down at my Sesame and Zucchini Noodle Salad, I thanked my past self for having the foresight to include the optional chicken

There was no way a mix of zucchini noodles (‘zoodles’ as they’re sometimes called), shredded cabbage, carrot and cilantro was going to keep my hunger at bay without the hit of protein I got from the chicken. 

Dinner 

I was actually looking forward to dinner, but the word ‘burger’ in the Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsley Pesto is a bit deceptive as there’s no bread involved at all. But all in all a tasty meal that surprised me. 

Would make again, but next time with a lovely soft bun. 

The word ‘burger’ in the Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsley Pesto is a bit deceptive. Pictured is the meal being prepped

The turkey and zucchini patties fry away in the pan. It was pretty straightforward to make


Bon appetit! My completed Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Roasted Sweet Potatoes (left) which Goop describes as a ‘bright and light twist’ on a traditional turkey burger (right)

Day three: Saturday 

This is the day I call my LOWEST point. I threw a small tantrum because I was starving and I struggled through my Reformer Pilates class. 

But then I got a visit from Lady Flo, and it made sense why I was more irritable than my usual hangry self. 

I really struggled with this diet on the weekend because I’ve just moved to New York and food is a way for me to explore the city. To be denied this made me particularly irritable, coupled with the resentment I felt towards this diet because it broke my regularly scheduled programming of eating whatever I wanted.

Breakfast 

I usually take a morning Reformer Pilates class on Saturday, so I try to eat a good amount of food, not too dense though, an hour before.  

That morning I had the Turmeric-Spiced Bone Broth and Scallions. It did satisfy my normal salty cravings in the morning, but after two days on this diet my body didn’t feel sufficiently nourished. 

I had a tough time finding the energy to tackle my exercise class with the same intensity I normally do and was immediately starving after it ended about 11am.

On day three, I had the Turmeric-Spiced Bone Broth and Scallions for breakfast

Lunch + snack

One of my favorite meals during this diet was day three’s lunch: the Grilled Chicken Paillard with Shaved Kale Salad and Apple Cider Vinaigrette. 

The herb marinade of olive oil, lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper, really leans on the ‘simple is best’ mantra sometimes applied in cooking. 

It packed a bunch of flavor and I was left satisfyingly full, a feeling I hadn’t felt since lunch on day one. A few hours after lunch I shared a snack of dates, apple and cashew butter with my husband.

Prep time: Slicing up the cabbage for the salad that went along with the Grilled Chicken Paillard


The completed lunch meal for day three (left), which was actually pretty tasty – although it wasn’t quite as picture-perfect as the Goop version (right)

Another meal I was looking forward to this weekend was the Winter Salmon, Delicata Squash, and Wilted Spinach with Lemon-Caper Aioli

Dinner

Another meal I was looking forward to this weekend was the Winter Salmon, Delicata Squash, and Wilted Spinach with Lemon-Caper Aioli. Salmon is a meal I would usually eat and would serve it with some vegetables. The dish did live up to my expectations. 

The lemon-caper aioli was delicious, but I do prefer the egg version. 

Sorry, but nothing beats the original.

Day four: Sunday

Breakfast

This was another day I knew I’d struggle to get through as the meal plan didn’t contain a lot of solid foods. I made the smoothie, but had it with a Gluten-Free Seeded Cracker Tartine. Now that’s a snack I could get on board with. 

Something about the avocado and pickled red onion combination really worked. I had booked in another Reformer Pilates class, but I decided to go forgo it after what happened the day before.

For breakfast on day four, I made the smoothie, but had it with a Gluten-Free Seeded Cracker Tartine (pictured above)

The Gluten-Free Seeded Cracker Tartine (pictured on the Goop site) is topped with a slice of avocado and some shards of pickled red onion

Lunch + snack

The Green Goddess Soup returns! But even with the addition of chicken to boost its flavor, it still couldn’t save. And I was hungry within the hour, so nibbled on some dates and had some more tartines. 

I was meeting a friend in the afternoon to go to the Brooklyn Museum, so I brought some dates and crackers as a snack just in case. There was no need for her to endure my hunger wrath. And the saddest thing was that we couldn’t go for a long lunch.

Dinner

And the final meal for the day was another liquid meal: the Chicken and Vegetable Bone Broth Soup. I swapped out the chicken for ground turkey. Even though it had more to it in terms of solids – and infinitely more delicious – than the Green Goddess Soup, it was still not satisfying. I missed carbs so much at this point.

The Green Goddess Soup returns! But even with the addition of chicken to boost its flavor, it still couldn’t save

And the final meal for day four was another liquid meal: the Chicken and Vegetable Bone Broth Soup

Day five: Monday

Breakfast

All I could think when I woke up this morning was: ‘Thank God, this cursed detox is almost over.’ Sorry Gwyneth. Day five’s breakfast calls for a Make My Day Smoothie, but I had some bone broth to finish from last night’s dinner so I had that instead. I can’t waste this liquid gold, literally it cost me about $17 for one 30oz container.

Lunch

I’m part Vietnamese so any variation on a rice paper roll (also opted for normal rice paper instead of brown because I couldn’t track down any of the latter) is going to irk me and this did. 

It was tasteless, even the dipping sauce couldn’t quite save it (I also didn’t spend the 11-odd dollars it was going to cost to buy chickpea miso off of Instacart to add to this one element for the week). I still had to eat it all because I’m only one more meal away from completing this detox. 

Dinner

I don’t know if it was just my hunger or that it was the last meal I had to eat for this diet, but the Cashew Chicken Wraps, which were ‘inspired by classic Thai-style larb,’ tasted alright. It’s mainly because I liked the creamy sesame dressing that was on the Sesame and Zucchini Noodle Salad.

Day five’s breakfast calls for a Make My Day Smoothie, but I had some bone broth to finish from last night’s dinner

I’m part Vietnamese so any variation on a rice paper roll is going to irk me and this did

I don’t know if it was just my hunger or that it was the last meal I had to eat for this diet, but the Cashew Chicken Wraps, which were ‘inspired by classic Thai-style larb,’ tasted alright

Over at last! So was the detox worthwhile…?

Overall I did feel good about putting more vegetables into my body. That was the major upside to this detox, I’ve never eaten more greens in my life. And I did come away with some new food ideas, which is what the Goop team wanted as they say: ‘[These] recipes become the foundation of our clean cooking for the rest of the year.’

But as someone who is lactose intolerant, I’m very open to alternatives – such as oat milk, cashew butter and plant-based mayonnaise – as some of these are already part of my everyday diet. I’m also someone who eats a lot of meals at home, so buying and planning meals wasn’t too tricky for me. 

But it was the price of the groceries that shocked me the most. It’s a privilege to be on diets like this because I can’t imagine a lot of people would spend almost $300 on a detox like this without proper consideration, particularly when times are tough like they are right now.

After finishing the detox, I went out to dinner, and had a Spicy Vodka Rigatoni, fries, a part of my husband’s fried chicken sandwich and a dessert

To be honest, I did feel a little ill afterwards as well as after lunch, probably because my body was adjusting to being back to my normal eating habits. Pictured is the rigatoni at dinner

After finishing the detox, I went out to dinner, and had a Spicy Vodka Rigatoni, fries, a part of my husband’s fried chicken sandwich and a dessert.

To be honest, I did feel a little ill afterwards as well as after lunch, something I initially just put down to an element of my meal not agreeing with me. But upon further reflection, it might have been my body trying to adjust to my new eating habits after the detox.

I also noticed I didn’t eat as much of my lunch as I normally would and had a bit of rigatoni leftover after dinner, which I took home.

Just something to be mindful of when returning to your regular scheduled programming, ease yourself back into it.

The skinny on Gwyneth’s Goop detox: My main takeaways in a nutshell

What I would eat again

Cacao Cashew Chews: Tasty snack with a lovely chew that will satisfy your sweet-tooth cravings

Grilled Chicken Paillard: The herb marinade gives a delicious flavor to chicken breast, which is usually flavorless

Gluten-Free Seeded Cracker Tartine: The pickled red onion really brings this tartine to the next level, good balance of flavors

What I would NEVER eat again

Green Goddess Soup: Unfortunately nothing redeemable about this soup, had no flavor. Not even a splash of tamari could save it

Summer rolls with miso-dijon dipping sauce: Again lacking in flavor, unsure if the addition of miso in the dipping sauce could distracted me from the blandness 

Quick overall thoughts

I definitely enjoyed the addition of more vegetables to my diet, but I got hungry very quickly in between meals

Like the Goop team says these recipes will be a good foundation for home cooks throughout the year, but I would be adding more protein and carbs into the mix to give me the energy I need day-to-day 

Overall I did feel healthier, but I wouldn’t do anything like this again because I love food too much and the joy I get from it was taken away from me while doing this detox

What the expert says: Nutritionist weighs in on Goop’s five-day detox program 

London-based nutritionist Kim Pearson says the Annual New Year Detox is overall ‘one of the better detox protocols’ she has seen.

‘As with most detox plans, the Goop Detox recommends avoiding substances like alcohol, caffeine, refined sugars and carbohydrates,’ she told DailyMail.com.

‘Eliminating these will always support liver health and enable the body to prioritize detoxification of other waste products.’

Nutritionist Kim Pearson says Goop’s Annual New Year Detox is overall ‘one of the better detox protocols’ she has seen

Kim says certain amino acids, which are broken-down components of protein, are required for phase-two detoxification in the liver.

Many detox protocols based around fruits and vegetables are very low in protein which means that these amino acids are not being supplied to support this phase of detoxification,’ she explained.

But the Goop detox program ‘does provide high quality sources of protein ensuring these amino acids are available to support detoxification,’ Kim added. 

‘The Goop Detox provides good amounts of fiber too, which also supports elimination of waste products from the body,’ she said.

But the nutritionist says the program could use more cruciferous vegetables – such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage – which contain phytonutrients that support the liver’s detoxification processes.

‘While the Goop Detox does contain some kale which is a cruciferous vegetable, I feel it could benefit from a greater variety of these kinds of vegetables to support detoxification. It wouldn’t be hard to add these vegetables into the existing recipes,’ Kim said.

The nutritionist also advised people to consume organic food, especially meat, because it helps avoid ‘pesticide, hormone and antibiotic residues,’ which ‘is always important but particularly when you are focused on detoxing.’

‘The recipes [in the Goop program] aren’t overly complex and those like the Greener Goddess Soup will keep for a few days meaning the detox should be fairly practical to carry out without spending hours in the kitchen,’ Kim said.

‘Carrying out a short-term detox plan like this can act as a reset, especially after an indulgent time like Christmas, helping to get you back into healthy habits again.’

Source: Read Full Article