I try to eat healthy. I really do. But if I haven’t planned ahead and don’t have a healthy meal in the fridge, I could end up eating anything. I won’t go into detail except to say that one time I had cookies for dinner right before rushing off to teach a nutrition class. I’m not proud.
Goop wanted me to shave the squash into thin tortilla-like slices. Nope.
So I love when somebody else plans my meals for me. Lately, Goop (Gwyneth Paltrow’s vaguely health-related website) has been cajoling its audience to do a “three-day summer reset“. I wouldn’t for a minute assume to get any “detox” benefit from these recipes, but they are tasty, and most are easy to prepare. Here’s how to tweak Goop’s diet into a sensible three-day meal plan.
Skip the Arsenic
It’s kind of sad when a recipe on a detox diet contains a significant amount of something toxic. Breakfast every day on the Goop plan is a Morning Matcha Smoothie that calls for four tablespoons — yep, a quarter cup — of Sun Potion Tocos. This is a vitamin supplement made from rice bran.
You know how there’s brown rice, and then there’s white rice? White rice has just had the brown stuff polished off. That brown stuff is rice bran, and it really does contain a lot of vitamins. So far so good. But rice bran can be very high in arsenic, as longtime Goop critic Dr Jen Gunter pointed out. One smoothie isn’t going to kill you, but it seems a little weird to include in a diet that’s supposed to represent healthier-than-usual options. I left this out, and saved myself $US35 ($46) in the process.
Double the Protein
One thing I didn’t notice until I was halfway through the first recipe: Everything here makes two servings. That means you’re splitting an 225g salmon filet, or a single chicken breast, between two people. Fine if you want to cut kilojoules, perhaps, but the small portions left me hungry, and I didn’t want to sabotage my results in the gym due to a lack of protein.
So I doubled up: I’d eat a whole chicken breast. Woo! Look at me go! Or sometimes I’d make the two-serving meal and eat both halves. Adjust this according to your own appetite.
Oh, and that matcha smoothie is amazing with a scoop of whey powder.
Season to Taste
One thing that struck me early on: These meals are flavorful. Really flavorful. I don’t know why I expected detox food to be bland, but after every meal on the first day my stomach felt like it was on fire. There was a ton of ginger in everything, and on the second day, the ginger was replaced with large doses of cayenne pepper.
I like ginger, so I’m not really complaining. But a three-day shopping list that calls for 225g of ginger is a bit much even for me. I’m guessing the ginger is included to cure anxiousness, food sensitivities and abnormal pap smear results (note to Goop: Ginger does not actually do these things) so I felt safe reducing the amount just a bit. Do the same with the cayenne if you aren’t big on spicy stuff.
Make It Convenient (and Cheaper)
The first day’s lunch, fennel-crusted salmon served over a simple salad, was quick to prepare and tasted amazing. Even the more involved recipes were quicker than your typical meal prep kit. But a few of them have creative elements that I wasn’t in the mood for.
I didn’t buy large lettuce leaves to wrap up my turkey burger (what’s wrong with eating a bunless burger with a fork?) and I definitely didn’t slice a butternut pumpkin into tortilla-like taco shells. Instead, I bought some cubed pumpkin and roasted it in the oven while I was cooking the previous night’s dinner.
And as long as we’re tweaking the recipes, we might as well substitute some ingredients, too. I never put spirulina on the spirulina popcorn, because I couldn’t find a store that sold any at a reasonable price. (Also, its supposed benefit relates to its amino acids. You know what can deliver more amino acids than a sprinkling of spirulina? Literally any protein source. Take an extra bite of chicken at dinner and you can skip the spirulina at snack time.)
I also left out the olive oil from the turkey burger’s basil guac (why was it even in there?) and freely substituted lemons and limes for each other because I’m a rebel. Oh, and instead of mixing up my own turkey meatballs, I grabbed some frozen chilli lime chicken burgers instead. Come at me, Gwyneth.