Content warning: eating disorder mention
Gwyneth Paltrow wants you to drink raw goat’s milk for eight straight days. Doing this, she says, will ‘cleanse’ your body of those nasty parasites and heavy metals that are stopping you from living your true female life.
Paltrow has used her celebrity status to plug all sorts of dubious trends before – from colon cleansing to vaginal steaming (really). These kinds of ‘cleanses’ are advertised under the guise of ‘clean living’ and are seductive for many readers. They promise a version of you that is refreshed and rejuvenated. Taking part in this eight-day ‘cleanse’ will make you lose weight, but only because it is little more than a socially-sanctioned eating disorder.
‘Orthorexia’ is an eating disorder where people fixate on ‘clean eating.’ Cleanses, like the ones Paltrow continuously promotes, are simply corporate spin on damaging eating disorders. Paltrow, with her demonising of all things white (sugar, gluten, dairy), feeds into this view of healthy eating. She is creating a society of women striving for the purity of their food, where having an eating disorder is seen as laudable. But their fantasies are far from scientific. And, for many women, this form of ‘clean eating,’ means not getting all the nutrients your body needs to function.
Detoxing is a scam. It is a pseudoscience wearing a blonde wig and cashmere, trying to sell you products. The truth is, your body gets rid of toxins no matter what you eat: whether it’s a bowl of crispy quinoa salad or eight pints followed by a fat doner kebab. Some foods are more nutritious than others, but depriving your body of essential nutrients for days on end is not going to magically make you pure.
Paltrow’s ‘clean living’ guides are prescriptive – she believes every woman should live how she lives. Clearly, she holds the secrets to true beauty and wellness. But her guides are completely out-of-touch with the average woman who doesn’t have easy access to fresh raw goat’s milk. Most women don’t have the money or access to goods that Paltrow has.
It encourages them to live lifestyles they can’t financially, or even physically, maintain. This ‘cleanse’ is as likely to cleanse your bank account as it is to evacuate your bowels.
Gwyneth Paltrow has power as a celebrity. Even though she’s not a medical expert, she leads a lifestyle that’s the envy of many women: she’s fit, she’s beautiful, she’s stylish – she exudes this idea of being healthy. What’s more, she has perfected her brand, and she’s dangerous because it is one which glamorises eating disorders.
Everyone knows that you shouldn’t starve yourself, but by cloaking it in the language of purity and healthiness – ‘You’ll look and feel amazing!’ – it is somehow justifiable to deprive your body of what it needs. There is no magical solution to becoming fit and beautiful. Denying yourself key nutrients will not magically transform you into a fairy like Gwyneth Paltrow. If anything, it will just make you ill and gassy.
Image: Athena LeTrelle