The world is talking about what Gwyneth Paltrow eats. I want to thank her.

This image is hurting your head, yes? 

Two glorious 50-ish women, leaping in their swimmers. One is worth more than $250 million, one is me. One is this week's most-hated woman on the Internet, one of them (I hope) is me. I know. It's hard to tell us apart.  

Gwyneth Paltrow, you see, is just like us. 

If, by just like us, you mean absolutely nothing like us. Or, nothing like 99 per cent of us, at least. 

A quick illustration: Paltrow employs a celebrity book curator called Thatcher Wine. Yes, that's a job. When her family moved into their new, purpose-built Montecito home (somewhere she describes as "a Parisian apartment set within an old European barn", except in California, with a full spa in the basement) she needed 600 books to fill the shelves. Six-hundred. Cue: Thatcher. He sourced them, themed them by room, and his 'team' arranged them in pleasing colour-themed designs. 

Gwyneth Paltrow does not drag boxes of dog-eared books from home to home. No. She has a person for everything. It's part of her Thing. 

She has mega-trainer Tracey Anderson on speed dial when she needs to sweat. 

She has a world-renowned yogi, Eddie Stern. 

She has a 'body whisperer', Lauren Roxburgh*. 

She has a breath-work practitioner, Ashley Neese. 

She has a meditation teacher, Bob Roth. 

She has a chef. Kate McAloon.

She has at least one dermatologist - Dr Karyn Grossman. 


She has an acupuncturist, Paul Kempisty.

An intimacy coach. Michaela Boehm.

A nutritionist - Frank Lipman, MD

And a gut 'doctor', Will Cole. More about him in a moment. 

And of course, she infamously has a House Manager (who, she assured a New York Times journalist who came to her door was definitely not a butler) who oversees the various housekeepers and gardeners and maids in her various homes. 

Relatability and Gwyneth Paltrow are not friends. 

We're 90 per cent sure that she does have blood, rather than vegan masala chai, coursing through her veins. But otherwise, things in Gwyneth's life don't look much like mine. Or yours. 

And yet, here we are, in yet another furious tangle because she told the truth about her diet to a podcast host/author/sort-of doctor and it's... ridiculously unrelatable. 

Dangerous, in fact. 

In case you've been trapped under something heavy and missed the whole scandal, here's the topline.

Dr Will, Gwynny's Gut Guy, has a very popular podcast (because of course he does), and Paltrow went on it. And they talked about a lot of things that sounded like mumble-mumble to those of us who are not deep into the gut-health-paleo-intuitive-eating-keto-plant-based-mindful-menu-inflammation-is-the-devil world. 

To those of us who just eat food, and buy it at the supermarket or the butcher or the greengrocer or maybe on Door Dash, it sounded like a lot of strange musings about methylation, binders, detox, until we got to Gwynny's day on a plate. 

@dearmedia #gwynethpaltrow shares her daily wellness routine on The Art Of Being Well, listen now 🎧 #wellnessroutine #healthandwellness #healthylifestyle #routines #goop #podcastclips ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim

And her plate was empty. Gwyneth said that she fasted until noon when she had some bone broth. And then she had lots of vegetables for dinner, never after 7pm. And every now and then, she had some celery juice, a squeeze of lemon, and spiced things up with herbs and chilli. Oh, and in the morning, she had a coffee. 

That was it. And everyone said: That's not enough... food. 

And they were right. Of course, to compensate for the lack of actual food, Gwyn sat for the interview with an IV in her hand, pumping 'good old fashioned vitamins' into her blood while she and "Dr" Will talked. It was a moment. Clare Stephens wrote about it brilliantly on Mamamia, here

But here's something no-one's saying. 

Thank God for Gwyneth Paltrow, a multi-millionaire who doesn't pretend she eats ordinary-person food. Or any actual food, for that matter. 

Because, for a very long time, the very rich and the very thin have been busy pretending they are just like us.  

For decades, celebrities behaved as if their shape and size was all just a happy accident. That it was all just a kooky coincidence that all the world's most-rewarded famous people were standard-issue tiny. 

Think of the number of celebrity profile pieces that began with a beautiful young actress sinking her teeth into a juicy burger in front of a note-taking journalist. Or of women like Blake Lively saying things like this: "I don't really need a personal trainer or watch what I eat. I can't start the day without a hot chocolate." 


Or Emma Stone saying things like this: "You're a human being, you live once and life is wonderful, so eat the damn red velvet cupcake."

Let's remember that once, Jessica Simpson, who has since confirmed that she's been hounded about her weight her entire adult life, and has starved and binged and battled alcohol addiction, used to say things like this: "For me, it’s just eat whatever makes you feel good. Work out whenever you want to." 

And even Khloe Kardashian - whose shrinking body has become her most celebrated achievement, was on record with this kind of wisdom: "I think all diets are kind of weird. The word 'die' is in it."

I know it's a no-win game. If the privileged talk about what they eat and how they exercise, they are irresponsible. If they pretend they never think about it, they're gaslighting. 

But the reality is Gwyneth and her peers live on a different planet to the women who pay to see their films, follow them on Instagram, binge their reality shows and buy their products in their sleek online stores. On that planet, there are cooks who can make low-carb, high-protein tissues taste great, and there are perfectly weighed-and-measured portion-controlled detox meals delivered to your trailer and there are magic powders full of nutritional goodies and don't taste like mud. And yes, there are off-prescription weight-loss jabs stolen from someone who needed it to manage their diabetes (tangent, I stand by it). 

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, Mamamia’s podcast with what women are talking about this week. Post continues below.


Down here on our planet, we're feeling sh*tty about our inability to muster the will to live on steamed chicken and broccoli alone. We're wrestling with the fact you can feed the family a pizza for fewer dollars than a basketful of fresh veggies, and trying to work out whether it's gluten or carbs or dairy that's making us bloated and is gluten the same thing as carbs anyway and is sugar-free good or bad now, and what about low-fat?

Thank God for the lack of self-awareness (or, possibly, strategic genius) that allows Paltrow to admit that ultra-thin celebrities - and of course there are some genetic exceptions - do not eat ordinary-person food. They deprive themselves of things the rest of us don't even consider indulgences. Like... solids.

And if you are rich, and privileged, and looking a certain way is your job (or your 'brand'), then you will employ an army of people to enable you to eat that way, and yes, you will be thin. 

Gwyneth is not like us. And one day, perhaps we'll all finally realise that looking at the one per cent to figure out 'what we're supposed to look like' is insanity. 

We should be looking much closer to home - at our mothers, our sisters, our friends, our colleagues. We look all kinds of ways, and we're all kinds of excellent. 

Because you can't be what you can't see, but also, you can't be what you can see when being it requires an army of professionals and the kind of time that allows for 90 minutes of exercise, a session of dry-brushing, a sauna and some rectal O-Zone therapy on the regular. 


People who are very deep in the cult of Food As Medicine do not eat ordinary person food, either. Their shopping lists do not include the words 'nuggets' and 'frozen'. 

Elsewhere in the hour-long episode, Gwyneth talks about being macrobiotic in her 20s. She and Madonna were the reason I, and many other people like me, ever heard that word. Now, she says, that diet wasn't good for her - the brown rice made her put on weight (there are not enough facepalm emojis in the world) but she says that she always takes any wellness "protocol" (that's another word for diet, friends) to the extreme and follows it to the absolute letter. 

Of course she does.

Gwyneth is a good girl. She loves food, but she wants to eat "clean". Like many midlife women, she's been knocked around by COVID and she's trying to find a way through. Unlike lots of midlife women, she has a cutting-edge army of woo-woo pseudo-doctors to cheer her on. 


This image was made last year for a "bit" in Mamamia Out Loud's live show about how Gwyneth Paltrow and I were basically the same person. It was satire. I'm not anything like Gwyneth. 

I don't have a book curator. Or a breath practitioner. Or an intimacy coach. I have never steamed my vagina. Never put Ozone near my bum. 

I eat food. Some of it is "processed". Just like yours. Nothing like Gwyneth's. 

And I wonder. Are we all so suggestible, us women, that we can't tell the difference between sensible, grounded advice ('try to eat more vegetables') and nonsense ('bone broth lunches and IV dinners'). 

Do we need to be quite so frightened of Gwyneth, and her other-wordly habits? Or can we be trusted to pick at what works for us, and laugh at what doesn't? 

And would we really prefer that the Gwyneths of the world keep lying to us, telling us they eat the damn cupcakes, and leave us all wondering what we're doing 'wrong', here on our very different planet?

* These professionals are all people who are on record as having worked with Paltrow, or she is on the record as saying she has worked with them. Those professional relationships might not be current. 

Feature Image: Instagram/Supplied.

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