When Gwyneth Paltrow experienced a migraine and panic attack that made her feel like she was “‘going to die”’, she embarked on a series of tests at the urging of her doctor. The test results revealed that Paltrow had high levels of inflammation and food sensitivities. The treatment? A radical shift in her diet. Her doctor told her to eliminate wheat, dairy, caffeine, nightshade vegetables, eggs, alcohol, red meat and refined sugar.
Doesn’t really sound like much fun, right? To help her stick to the new diet, Gwyneth had to find a way to make food still feel comforting and full of pleasure. Her latest cookbook It’s All Good is the result of that journey.
This volume is actually Paltrow’s second cookbook. The first, My Father’s Daughter, celebrated food, gatherings and family with delicious offerings including chicken with dumplings and blueberry pavlova. It’s All Good is like the healthier younger sibling to her first cookbook – it features great tasting, family-friendly meals that are more health-minded.
The book’s subtitle makes quite a claim: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great. Who’s not up for looking good and feeling great? And as for delicious, easy recipes, everyone can use a bit of inspiration from time to time. A bit of Gwyneth-inspired motivation to eat better probably wouldn’t hurt either.
The healthy cooking inspiration is especially welcome if you’re on a strict diet to manage the symptoms of a digestive condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Many people with these health issues find that avoiding trigger foods such as gluten, alcohol and refined sugar can help to combat symptoms and reduce the likelihood of severe flare-ups. Luckily, most of Paltrow’s ‘all good’ recipes avoid these trigger foods too.
So, with so much of the ‘good’ stuff off Gwyneth’s detox eating plan, what’s left to eat? And is it really all good, just like the book’s title suggests?
Love her or hate her, Paltrow’s book really does deliver in terms of it being ‘all good’. The recipes are tasty and positively bursting with healthful, flavourful combinations. Think along the lines of healthy avocado smoothies, green beet soups, gluten-free sweet potato muffins and a comforting lamb tagine.
While some of Gwyn’s ingredients have come under fire from readers and the press for being a little outlandish or expensive (duck egg omelette anyone?!) the recipes themselves are fairly easy going and approachable, even for novice cooks.
As well as providing recipes that, for the most part, deliver on their promise of being easy to prepare, Paltrow and her co-author Julia Turshen furnish readers with an array of diet and menu plans, including a seven-day detox diet. You can read one woman’s hilarious experience with the seven-day detox diet here.
The book itself is beautifully produced with lovely food photography… and quite a lot of Gwyneth’s photography as well. It’s a bit of showpiece, and in this day of impersonal, digital books and cooking videos on YouTube, it would make a thoughtful gift to anyone who is about to embark on the frustrating journey of an elimination diet or a gluten-free eating program. They might take solace in the tasty quinoa, seafood, berry and kale laden pages. And they might even invite you over for dinner!