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Celebrities and the Cleanse Diet

Posted on January 16th, 2009 by Alison Read 8 Comments - Add Your Own »

I’m not sure what it is about celebrities and cleansing but it has become quite fashionable to “detox.” Celebs are doing everything from the Lemonade Diet to the Maple Syrup Diet to the Cayenne Pepper Diet. Recently, 2 major stars prescribed eliminating gluten as part of their cleanse diets. Upon further inspection, however, both their diet plans actually contained gluten!

oprahOprah wrote a blog describing her 21-Day Cleanse in which she attempted to eliminate caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten and animal products from her diet. According to her blog and the blog of her coworker who also did the diet, they ate seitan, which is pure wheat gluten, and Morningstar veggie sausages, which list gluten as the first ingredient, and also have egg and milk (while they were supposed to be on a vegan diet also). I say this not to come down on Oprah — she did the diet as directed and stuck with it for 21 days as planned. I just think it’s strange that as much as her diet planners and chefs probably get paid, and as much publicity as this got, they didn’t even get the diet right! Next time hire me, Oprah! (And by the way, O, you should probably be gluten-free given your weight fluctuations, thyroid disease, and exhaustion — I’m just saying.)

And then there’s Gwyneth Paltrow. She publishes a pretty cool website gwynethpaltrowand newsletter called GOOP in which she shares her ideas on what to MAKE, where to GO, what to GET, what to DO, how to BE and what to SEE. Nice ideas and you kind of feel like Gwyneth’s friend-in-the-know. This month in her MAKE newsletter she talks about her detox diet and includes menus to follow. Here are the rules of the diet: “remember that there can be no dairy, grains with gluten, meat, shellfish, anything processed (including all soy products), fatty nuts, nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant), condiments, sugar and obviously no alcohol, caffeine or soda.”

Upon inspection of Gwyneth’s very-detailed diet and recipes, I found that gluten was on the menu 5 of the 7 days in the form of barley miso. I don’t get it — do they not know that barley is gluten? Also, there was supposed to be no dairy on the detox diet, but it was on the menu every day in the form of whey-protein fortified powder added to smoothies. Whey is dairy. Again… if you need help creating an elimination diet plan, Gwyneth, I’m only a phone call away!

Detox or cleanse diets are “in.” It’s no wonder that people feel better when they do a diet that happens to eliminate gluten as part of it. The Low-Carb diet used to be popular, and guess what you cut out when you cut carbs? Gluten! I have known so many people who did the low-carb or no-carb thing and rave about how much better they feel. To me it is clear that it is because they are eating less gluten, to which a lot of people are intolerant.

For some reason it is easier for people to accept and admit not eating carbs than not eating gluten. If you don’t eat carbs, people are impressed that you are on a weight loss kick and they are even a little jealous of your discipline not to eat muffins. If you don’t eat gluten, people think you are a weird health nut freak and wonder why you would impose such a horribly restrictive diet upon yourself. Maybe the word “gluten” just isn’t cool enough for people. Maybe we need to start calling the gluten-free diet something else… it would go like this:

SOMEONE:  “Why can’t you eat that?”
ME (in the voice of Tina Fey):  “Cuz I’m doin’ this no g-carb thing.”
SOMEONE:  “Cool.”

So go ahead and cleanse, detox, go low-carb, or call your elimination diet whatever you want. The important thing is to pay attention to how your body feels once the foods are removed. If you feel a whole lot better, you may have an intolerance to something that you probably eat every day. Add the foods back in one at a time, slowly, not all at once, and see if you can figure out what is not agreeing with you. Be highly suspect of some of the most common problem foods: gluten, dairy, soy. And if one of these diets leads you to an answer and to better health, then I guess they’re not so bad after all.

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  1. I LOVE the “no g-carb” thing. I am so using that! Seriously, great post. I guess when you have to do your own shopping, label reading, and cooking, you can be a little more educated about what you’re actually consuming, then again it’s probably more fun to be able to afford to have all that done for you and be blissfully ignorant! But hey, I’m glad the celebs are starting to take notice and speak out about how what we eat can effect us, ’cause when the celebs speak, people listen. :~)

  2. We should get thick reading glasses for all the “experts” who are dropping the ball with Oprah and Gwynth. Rookies, I tell ya.

    Then, we’ll go and get you a pair of Tina Fey glasses. They’d look great on you.

  3. If the celebs want to find out what the gluten free diet is all about with one of their own, they should consult with Elizabeth Hasselback, who really does have celiac disease and really does eat a true gluten free diet because she HAS to, not because she wants to.

  4. VERY good and humorous article….MIL

  5. Well written and very entertaining. I think you should do a whole series on gluten humor…. Ever notice the word for bread in French is spelled p a i n…?

  6. very helpful!!!!!
    The candida diet worked for me in ’87.
    Am sick flu like symptoms, headaches etc
    so I thought that I’d try the basic elimination diet whatever that is….

  7. I’ve got a question for you. I’ve been reading Gwyneth Paltrow’s diet and the Master Cleanse and I’m confused. Gwyneth has done the Master Cleanse too, which is what makes me more confused: why does the Master Cleanse incorporate Cayenne Pepper, when it is a Nightshade, which Gwyneth said should be strictly avoided during her cleanse diet, which is supposed to be a more fulfilling form of the the Master Cleanse?

  8. Im a young early 30’s healthy mom of 2 with a loving hubby at home and a part time job – so I am always busy!

    I have been taking the Dr Max Powers 15 Day Cleanse (no, its not just for men as my dr told me) for approximately 8 days and they have worked wonders with my diet.

    In the past 3 days I have lost 6 pounds of waste. My appetite is down and I feel great. I’m taking 2 pills a day, 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening. There is no stomach cramping, although my stomach has made a couple of growling noises at me..giving me a warning that it is time to go to the bathroom..but other than that..no real problems..I am going to continue using these pills. Looking forward to more waste (weight) loss…hip-hip-hooray!!!

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