The INSIDER Summary:
- Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website, Goop, is known for giving out-of-the-ordinary health advice.
- I decided to give Goop’s “Working Girl Detox” a try, which is described as an easy three-day meal plan with simple, healthy recipes.
- I enjoyed the breakfast and most of the lunch recipes, although the dinners were a fail for the most part and everything was more complicated and took longer to prepare than advertised.
I’ve always been skeptical of Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand and blog. Most of her health tips seem pretty outrageous (i.e. getting stung by bees to alleviate inflammation), and her fancy vitamins might be a little too good to be true, but when I found a Goop diet targeted at working women with an on-the-go lifestyle, I was intrigued.
Goop’s Working Girl Detox diet claims to be a meal plan perfect for people who “can’t spend more than 10 minutes in the kitchen.” As someone who commutes about an hour and a half to work every day, I was very interested in a healthy diet plan that would save me time in the kitchen both before and after work.
The diet was pretty straightforward. It outlines recipes for three different meals for each day (in picture form), and says to follow the “usual detox rules,” which, according to Goop, include no caffeine, alcohol, added sugar, or dairy.
Breakfast is a different kind of smoothie each day. I was initially excited about these smoothies because they don’t contain bananas, the one and only food I refuse to eat. The recipes given are generally some mix of green ingredients — kale, spinach, and avocado — balanced out by tropical fruits like mango and pineapple.
The first smoothie consisted of frozen pineapple, baby spinach (which I replaced with kale), coconut milk, coconut water, and hemp seeds. It wasn’t as thick as I would’ve liked, but the next two smoothies included avocado, which helped the texture of the smoothies tremendously.
In terms of taste, the smoothies were delicious — I essentially only tasted the fruit, so I had no complaints in the flavor department.
A smoothie isn’t the all-time most convenient breakfast, but in terms of taste and being able to make me feel full, these green drinks were a surprisingly nice start to my day.
Lunch was a different kind of salad each day, but always some combo of leaves, veggies, protein, and herbs. One of them, pictured below, included lettuce, black beans, avocado, radish, and jicama.
The meal plan suggested simple dressings for all the salads, including a mixture of olive oil and lemon or lime juice. I thought that such a simple dressing would leave my salad feeling dry and boring, but a mixture of olive oil, fresh lime juice, and a splash of balsamic vinegar actually added all the flavor I needed.
The beans and avocado gave the salad substance and the radish and jicama added a unique flavor that definitely spiced the salad up, even though it took a little extra time to chop everything up. If I were to make this dish again, I would probably put the same ingredients on a bed of brown rice to make the meal feel more complete, but for the sake of this diet, I was happy with this salad.
Then there was the opposite end of the spectrum.
I prepared this salad at night so it was easy to grab and go on my way to work the next morning. All it included was shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, and sugar snap peas, which added a nice crunch to the salad, but was pretty unsatisfying. Granted, I forgot to add chicken, so I was still pretty hungry after eating it. All I could think about for the rest of the day was food, which I assume isn’t what any “working girl” wants.
Forgetting the chicken was definitely my mistake, although I suspect that even with the added protein the salad would have left me hungry after a little while.
The last salad, which included artichoke, tuna, and green beans, fell somewhere in the middle: it wasn’t totally lackluster, but it won’t become part of my lunch routine like the avocado and black bean salad probably will.
The dinners were where this diet lost me.
I was initially excited to try the green chicken curry because I make similar dishes all the time. I was a bit concerned, however, when these were the only instructions for the recipe:
“Heat coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add curry paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Add canned coconut milk and bring up to a simmer. Add cauliflower, squash, and thinly sliced chicken breast. Cook for 5 minutes, or until chicken and vegetables are cooked through. Season to taste with salt and serve over brown rice with black sesame seeds sprinkled on top.”
Despite my skepticism, I decided to give the recipe a try. When shopping, I was not able to find green curry paste anywhere — at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and a local supermarket. I did find red curry paste and decided to use that in the recipe instead.
The recipe calls for a half a cup of cauliflower and a half a cup of butternut squash, which felt like just a few bites worth of vegetables. Still skeptical, I persisted.
The recipe only called for cooking the veggies for five minutes, or until they are cooked through. Anyone who has cooked vegetables knows that they don’t just take five minutes cook. I stirred the vegetables, curry paste, and coconut milk for about 20 minutes, but the butternut squash still hadn’t softened and the “sauce” hadn’t thickened at all.
I imagine the recipe would work better if I were to roast the cauliflower and butternut squash for 30 to 40 minutes before adding it to the sauce, but that would contradict Goop’s claim that these detox meals shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to throw together.
I ended up throwing out the failed curry and ate some chicken and rice instead. I can’t help but feel that the recipe was put on this diet without being properly tested, and I was disappointed that I had wasted time, money, and perfectly good ingredients on an ill-planned recipe.
The rest of the dinners weren’t failures to the same degree, but Goop’s claim of the ease and convenience of these meals definitely fell short. The quinoa “fried rice,” for example, was fine, but not an incredibly satisfying stand-alone meal. The brown rice pasta topped with turkey sausage and Swiss chard was meant to be served without a sauce, which made the meal feel incomplete and kind of dry.
In theory, Goop’s Working Girl Detox is a great idea. Eating healthy can be hard when you’re commuting and working all day. I was intrigued by the accessibility and ease of the diet, and had hoped that it would help me jump-start a healthier lifestyle of cutting out added sugar, caffeine, and excess dairy.
However, the diet is much more complicated, expensive, and time-consuming than it claims to be. I spent almost $50 on ingredients for three days, which is not terrible considering I got 9 meals out of it. However, at least $30 were spent on items I will probably never use again — like flax seeds, hemp seeds, and coconut water.
While the salads and smoothies did only take around 10 minutes to make, the dinners took me an average of 25. Again, not terrible, but also not as advertised.
Going forward, I’ll probably make variations of these recipes, especially when it comes to the smoothies and salads, but I wouldn’t recommend this route for anyone looking for a new diet. In the end, the label of “working girl” for this diet felt entirely out of touch.
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