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Reality Check: Gwyneth Paltrow's Detox Diet

Reality Check: Gwyneth Paltrow's Detox Diet

There are many ways to usher in the New Year. After a couple weeks of nonstop holiday celebration replete with rich foods and plenty of drink, many folks decide that the best way to begin anew is with a detox cleanse. I firmly believe there really is no need to detox, but if you insist on doing a cleanse, you can detox without starving yourself. This issue is a place where Gwyneth Paltrow and I have agreed to disagree.

Although her daily diet is incredibly healthy, Gwyneth believes in the New Year detox. After collapsing last January at the end of a five-day live-food fast, she is at it again following a week long cleansing regimen. This time, though, she is following the advice of detox specialist Dr. Alejandro Junger. Gwyneth is also sharing the details, recipes and all, on her website

The lovely, leggy blonde and mother of two writes:

It is that time of year, folks. I need to lose a few pounds of holiday excess. Anyone else? I like to do fasts and detoxes a couple of times during the year, the most hardcore one being the Master Cleanse I did last spring. It was not what you would characterize as pretty. Or easy. It did work, however. As I do not wish to subsist on lemon water in the middle of winter, I asked my doctor, a detox diet specialist, for the guidelines he uses to achieve a good detox that is not as hallucinogenic (in a bad way) as the Master Cleanse. He actually thinks that the Master Cleanse can be dangerous because the liver is not supported by the nutrients it needs.

To see what she is eating and why, just


While her explanation sounds sensible, just reading over the menu left me feeling hungry and deprived. The majority of the meals are liquids — smoothies, soups, or juice with hardly any grains (read: carbs to fuel your brain) in the meals. The simplest way to explain is to list the foods she will be avoiding for seven days:

  • No dairy
  • No grains with gluten
  • No meat or shellfish
  • No processed food including all soy products
  • No fatty nuts
  • No produce from the nightshade family — potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant
  • No condiments
  • No sugar
  • No alcohol, caffeine or soda

While jumping back into my healthy habits might be a bit jarring this first full week of the year, I am simply going to return to my old health habits of eating well balanced meals and exercising regularly to cleanse myself of my holiday debauchery.

Gwyneth concludes the detox edition of her newsletter like this: "I will be suffering along with you to kickstart my year a bit lighter." I, for one, do not wish to "suffer" with Gwyneth. I want to enjoy every minute of 2009 and eating just soup is not my idea of health or fun.


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