Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook borders on quack science

Julia Belluz on ‘It’s All Good’ and the dangers of elimination diets

Gwyneth Paltrow and Apple Martin

Today marks the release of Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Good. Already, this latest offering from the Oscar-winner has been lambasted south of the border for its gluten- and sugar-free recipes, which offend foodies, and, as one critic put it, “take laughable Hollywood neuroticism about eating to the next level.”

But foodie-ism and the possibility of encouraging eating-disordered behaviour aside, Science-ish was immediately stung by the panorama of pseudoscience premises on which the cookbook rests.

Paltrow opens by describing how she was literally brought to the brink of death—culminating in no less than a migraine and panic attack—after too many stress- and French fry-filled months.

She undergoes what sounds like every medical test imaginable, and finds she has a thyroid problem, anemia, vitamin D deficiency, a congested liver, hormones that were “off,” and “inflammation” in her system. “Another roster of tests” exposed “high levels of metals and a blood parasite.” Mixing her young children into the madness, she gets them tested for food sensitivities, too, and finds they are all intolerant of gluten, dairy, and chickens’ eggs, among other things.

While some of her ailments (An inflamed system? High metal levels?) are questionable bordering on quack-ish, and food-sensitivity testing has been shown to be an expensive waste of time, the most distressing part of the book is what comes next.*

The actress says she went to her doctor, Alejandro Junger—also known as the MD behind the “Clean” regime—and he prescribed an “elimination diet.” Instead of addressing and finding the causes of some of Paltrow’s real health woes, like vitamin deficiency, anemia, and liver congestion, which can be caused by heart failure, he advises she cut out basically everything but quinoa and lettuce. No meat, potatoes, sugar, dairy, eggs, coffee, alcohol, wheat, and, oddly, bell peppers, corn, and eggplant.

Science-ish asked Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an an evidence-based and obesity-focused family physician, about the scientific basis for such a purge. He said, “The recommendation itself at best can be described as non evidence-based hope, and at worst, as plain old malpractice.”

Worse still, Dr. Paltrow prescribes the diet to all her readers in the form of this latest cookbook! For Dr. Freedhoff, this amounted to another layer of celebrity medical malpractice. He worried that “pseudoscientific claims may keep patients from a true understanding of their condition and/or its treatments, putting them at risk of irreparable harm or even death.”

Now, this isn’t Paltrow’s first assault on science; she’s already a purveyor of quack remedies on her lifestyle website, Goop. But the enduring question that Paltrow’s book raises is why we continually buy into the junk advice of celebrity health promoters who have no specialization in health and everything to gain from us believing their claims.

Would you go to your mechanic to ask about how to heli-ski? Would you seek advice from your banker on climbing Kilimanjaro?

  • Here’s a podcast with Julia Belluz where she discusses the differences between food allergies and food sensitivities and the science—from brain imaging to psychology—that explains why we buy into celebrity health advice. 

No. You’d go to specialists for information on which your life hinges. So why, then, do we perpetually believe celebrities—people who make-believe for a living, as a dear Science-ish friend once said—for advice about that which is most precious, our health?

Paltrow trades on the expertise of a physician, Dr. Junger, and her ageless blondeness for authority about health. This combination—while attractive—should not form the basis of our health decisions. No amount of cooking like a celebrity will make the rest of us as shiny and golden as Paltrow, and the book risks complicating and confusing diet-related matters by suggesting expensive testing and abstinence from most every food group are the way forward for everyone.

That’s not all good, Gwyneth.

*Addendum: There was a lot of reader interest in the science behind food-sensitivity and heavy-metal testing so here’s a bit more fodder.

Dr. Elana Lavine, who wrote the primer for Canadian physicians on food-sensitivity testing mentioned above and also this position statement on the topic for the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, explained that there is actually no medically-agreed upon definition for food “sensitivity” because the science behind it is spurious.

To test for food sensitivity, blood is drawn from a person and then exposed to a range of foods. “If, in that blood sample, there is a particular type of antibody called immunoglobulin G, or IgG, which recognizes any of those foods—and there generally always is, because we all make IgG to food—the test measures how much IgG you have against particular foods.”

The question is: does that antibody response signal that the food is unhealthy for you or that you have an allergy? The consensus in the medical community is that it does not. There’s no relationship between a real allergy and high IgG levels in a food-sensitivity test. “When studies are done that try to take people with an allergy to a food, like milk or peanuts, and make them tolerant to that food,” explained Dr. Lavine, “their IgG levels to that food actually go up, and that’s a finding seen in many studies. So that suggests that some particular kinds of IgG are associated with tolerance of food, or the absence of allergy.”

When MD allergists—in contrast to the alternative-medicine practitioners who do food-sensitivity testing—look for allergies, they use skin testing. Small needles dipped in allergens are pricked against skin to test for a reaction. These tests are covered by medicare, whereas food sensitivity tests are not. Dr. Lavine said many doctors may also do blood tests, but they look for a different antibody—IgE—and only test it against one or a small handful of suspected allergens instead of the catch-all associated with food-sensitivity testing. (For more on this, listen to the podcast above.) As well, MD allergists confirm the IgE tests with other information, such as skin testing. “A high IgE to a particular food is a good piece of evidence that your likelihood of an allergy to that food is elevated, and that’s been studied in great detail for many foods,” she said.

What’s more: Many of the studies that proclaim food-sensitivity testing helps patients are flawed by design. “The thing that bothers me the most is the sale of these tests, easily $400 or more, to adults and even children, when there does not exist any consensus that they are valid and lots of evidence supporting that IgG is part of the normal physiological human response to food.” In other words, these tests medicalize normal reactions and encourage people to stay away from whole groups of food that aren’t even problematic for them.

As for heavy metals testing, this is another over-sold and generally unnecessary practice. There is no good evidence to suggest people should be recreationally tested unless there is reason to suspect poisoning as a result of an occupational hazard or some other extreme exposure. Toronto toxicologist Dr. David Juurlink explained, “If I took you and measured your blood and urine, looking for arsenic and mercury, I’d find it in both body fluids. That would indicate you had exposure to mercury, but it would not indicate any disease or poisoning. It’s just a result of living on the planet.”

In his decade on the job, he’s seen fewer than 20 patients with dangerously high levels of heavy metals. The rest of us, he explained, are exposed every day from the food we eat (mercury from fish, for example) and from our environment. This shouldn’t be fear-inducing, he said. “The problem arises when people interpret these levels as something that needs to be treated. More often than not, someone’s arsenic and mercury levels should be disregarded and not treated at all.”

Science-ish is a joint project of Maclean’s, the Medical Post and the McMaster Health ForumJulia Belluz is the senior editor at the Medical Post. Got a tip? Message her at julia.belluz@medicalpost.rogers.com or @juliaoftoronto on Twitter.




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Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook borders on quack science

  1. I can’t believe there are still quacks out there who take advantage of ignorant parents and do so-called sensitivity testing on kids. When I was a kid in the ’70′s, some quack tested me (and my siblings) and told my parents, based purely on depositing vile-tasting extracts under our tongues and registering how we reacted to the disgusting substances, that we were sensitive to a wide range of everyday foods. My list included milk products (despite the fact that I am not lactose-intolerant), tomatoes and chocolate. My parents wisely considered the advice and fed me a steady diet of spaghetti, lasagna, and chili. No mole, though, I note. The quack still got paid, despite the fact that she was clearly selling snake oil.

    There _are_ conditions that require a restricted diet, such as lactose intolerance, celiac disease, shellfish and nut allergies, and I’m sure a host of other diagnosable medical conditions of which I’ve never heard. But general “food sensitivities”? Definitely two words that should put your quack radar on high alert.

    • I will say this, in perception I cant remember kids being so sickly in hte 60s and 70s when I grew up as there are today. Daughter in-law has a kid, she is a vegan, and one of the kids has a severe iron deficiency. Doc say cook them rare steaks at least once a well and burgers are good for kids. But she sticks by vegan. Really stupid.

  2. While you may not agree with her foreword or any of the textual information contained withing the book – you’ve COMPLETELY ignored and not talked about any of the actual food contained within. I just got a copy of the book today and it is full of some great ideas – all of the recipes within are good, healthful foods, not to mention they look delicious. I don’t agree with all her “health information” but I do agree with good food. Plus, there’s a waffle recipe that doesn’t contain eggs – something my husband has a full-blown allergy to and I’m just learning how to cook without eggs. (There’s also a scrambled tofu “recipe” – I’m a fairly accomplished cook, but I’ve been afraid to try scrambled tofu because I thought it would suck. I’ll try this idea so that my husband has another breakfast option) None of the recipes are “quackery”, unhealthful, or dangerous. Loads of chicken and fish – even a duck recipe. Great salads. If you review a cookbook, you really should mention the actual recipes instead of just slagging on the text.

      • Okay… then don’t write an article about a COOKBOOK. The book IS a cookbook, and it’s roughly 300 pages. This article is about a COOKBOOK but only talks about less than a handful of pages. My point is, regardless of how you feel about her “story” and what she says led her to writing this book, the food is not at all “quackery” and going off about the “story” will lead you to believe the food is all nonsense. The food is all hearty, healthful stuff that I think everyone here would enjoy.

        • But the cookbook comes with health claims, and those claims are the focus of this science article. It seems fair game to me.

          • not so sure that it purports to be a health tome: rather a cook book.And I have tried the recipes- they are actually good.And let’s just assume for once that the general readership has the capacity to gauge and judge what is useful and what is not…the recipes are healthy and wide ranging.It isnt all expensive and exotic.

  3. This is an evidence-based critique of Gwyneth Paltrow’s book?? Perhaps delving into the works of Joel Furhman, Colin Campbell, Michael Gerger and Caldwell Esselstyn might broaden your view.

    • Furhman, Campbell and their ilk are just as quacked out.

      • You’re demeaning intelligent and experienced individuals who base their nutritional opinions upon peer-reviewed scientific research.

        • No, I’m legitimately criticizing health professionals who cherry pick their data and then refuse to back up their untenable claims. I’ve had personal experience with Joel Furhman and we he couldn’t come up with evidence to back up one of his claims he started deleting my comments. They base their nutritional opinions on their belief system and then cram irrelevant and extrapolated evidence to fit their preconceived ideas.

          • I’d say you’re the cherry picker. Suggest you get off your pulpit.

          • Ahh the “I know you are but what am I” response. Completely expected. Suggest you do a bit of objective reading and suddenly your gurus won’t come out sparkly.

          • You sure are obsessed. I’m out of here.

  4. I am not particularly a fan of Ms. Paltrow’s work, but for someone like me who knows what her own medical conditions are (including Celiac), and knows personally the value of eating the right way to feel my best, I love the whole foods recipes and recipe ideas presented in this beautiful cookbook. Regardless of one’s personal feelings on elimination diets, allergy testing, stars-writing-cookbooks, or Ms. Paltrow personally, if one takes the time to read and perhaps test the actual recipes in this book and bases their review on those recipes instead of one’s own viewpoint of ‘quackery’, I doubt one could deny how well-written, creative, and enticing these recipes are, nor the benefits of eating minimally processed foods, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, etc., as the recipes suggest. Did you even read past the introductions? Geez…

    • This isn’t a food blog. The science-ish claims were reviewed, and they’re nonsense.

      • and the doctor who claims mercury and arsenic in our bodies can be ignored is not?!

  5. This is possibly the LEAST informed “science” critique I have ever read.

    A young lady was having health problems. She found a way to fix those problems that worked for her, and she wants to share what she learned with others.

    You response? Vitriol, hatred, and insults. I hope you can do better.

    • She didn’t “fix” anything. She was sick in the first place due to her overly-stringent eating and lifestyle habits. It was a very sound “science” critique and if you have anything of evidence to refute it please do share.

  6. There is absolutely no way you can liken this to asking your mechanic how to heli-ski. Food and eating is something that EVERYONE engages in on a daily basis. Regardless of your professional occupation, you can educate yourself and take a keen interest in your own health – to differing levels of course. In Gwyneth’s case, she has delved into the deeper end of being in tune with her health; each person knows what works best for them, and in this case, this is what worked for her.

    The underlying message in the book is to promote eating fresh organic produce, minimising processed food and providing helpful advice for people who are actually legitimately sensitive to particular foods. Lucky for the author of this article, it seems as if they are 100% ok with their diet and subsequent physical and mental body functioning.

    I suggest you look more deeply into the book – and Paltrow as a person, not as an actress – before jumping to misguided and prejudiced conclusions about celebrity quackery.

    • Well said. Some of the comments here are totally ignorant. I’m not sure why so many people have to get defensive when someone eats differently to the traditional western diet (i.e., the diet that is behind many of our cutlures preventable diseases). Gwyneth used to be vegan (I think she is not anymore but still vegetarian) so her diet literally does not hurt any person or being – unlike the western diet so many defend.

      • It’s not about “eating differently” it’s about foisting an unnecessarily restrictive eating pattern on adults and children with no science to back it up. The western diet mention is a straw man argument.

    • I totally agree.I am completely unsure why there is such a degree of vitriolic.This is a cookbook with an emphasis on healthful eating- fresh,organic,non processed…sauces made from scratch..no added chemicals..There is bread,rice,gluten,tons of options…..please: when you review: READ THE ACTUAL BOOK

  7. Gwyneth Paltrow is the worst kind of crank. It’s astounding that people are circling the wagon defending her. For years she has been spreading misinformation – most of it complete bunk – some of it bordering on dangerous. Her foolish lifestyle choices is the likely cause of her having early signs of osteoporosis and she tends to jump on every flighty trend there is. It’s infuriating that she has such a big following.

    It’s one thing to have misguided and overly-stringent eating patterns when it’s just you but when you foist orthorexic and unnecessarily restrictive diets on your children you are not a concerned mom – you are a food nazi.

    I can only imagine the conversations in that household … “APPLE… POMEGRANATE… I CATCH YOU LITTLE TURDS EATING BREAD AGAIN I’LL FORCE YOU TO LISTEN TO YOUR DAD SING YOU LULLABIES”.

    • Actually I think her mother does an TV ad for some osteoporosis drug.

  8. It’s a cook book, not a medical book. Full of recipes

    • And this is a science column, not a book review column. Full of fact-checking of dubious claims.

      • perhaps you should fact check that levels of mercury and arsenic in our bodies can be safely ignored or dismissed.

  9. “pseudoscientific claims may keep patients from a true understanding of their condition and/or its treatments, putting them at risk of irreparable harm or even death.”??
    Most people turn to Orthomolecular (diet based) medicine, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, TCM etc. because conventional medicine has failed to help them.
    Imagine using the publication of a cookbook to write a diatribe against holistic medicine… I guess it’s just another one of those media skeptic tactics to disparage something most people have found to be overwhelmingly helpful in recovering or maintaining good health. Fortunately Skepti-Nanny doesn’t get to dictate what obviously better-educated individuals choose to do.
    People are not sick due to pharmaceutical deficiency.

    • I’d like to see source for your claim that most people turn to alternative medicine when conventional medicine has failed them. Snake oil salesmen prey on the ignorant and endanger their lives for profit. Steve Jobs wished he had had conventional treatments instead of quackery when he was on his death bed, conventional science didn’t fail him because he never gave it a chance to instead he turned to quackery that probably made someone else rich, but never had any chance to help him beyond the placebo effect. People that trade on other people’s fears convincing them to for go scientifically based treatment for treatment that is at best unproven and usually scientifically disproven are the lowest form of scum. How many kids are suffering crippling ailments or died because of Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carry’s advocacy against life saving vaccinations.

      • I’d like to see your source for what Steve Jobs “wished” for. Steve was a big boy and made his own decisions — I’m sure he did so poorly financially because he was an idiot LOL
        Show us the iron clad guarantees that chemo cures cancer — I’m sure if Steve had been given a guarantee he would have gone for it. You’re pleading for “a chance”? How many 1,000s took the chance and died in more pain than if they did nothing?
        Just because pharma treatments are based on chemistry does not make it “science”. That Vioxx snake oil killed over 200,000 people. That other Avandia snake oil killed thousands more. Who is preying on the ignorant?
        How many kids are autistic and suffering crippling ailments after adverse reactions to vaccines? How many girls have been paralysed forever by Gardasil?
        Mainstream medicine trades on the fact that most people haven’t read health technology assessments that conclude that over 50% of mainstream treatments are of unknown effectiveness.

        • Didn’t Steve Jobs regret his diet-based battle with cancer, saying if he could do it again that he would have went with chemotherapy?

          • No.
            But I know dozens who said if they knew they were going to die anyway they would have passed on the chemo.

          • lauriej….Steve Jobs said exactly that he wished he would have gone with chemotherapy. It was in an interview he gave on 60 Minutes. He had a very treatable form of pancreatic cancer. He was given assurances that the chemotherapy would be effective IF treated quickly. He decided not to treat it. As for your BS story over Vioxx, do some real research. The people who suffered from serious adverse reactions were taking way over the recommended dosage for very long periods of time. If a person took way over the recommended dosage of aspirin for long periods of time, they too would suffer serious adverse reactions, like GI bleeds and strokes. Regardless, the pharmaceutical company pulled Vioxx off of the shelf. The fact that you are still insisting that vaccines lead to autism is very telling given that NO ONE has been able to replicate the studies that suggested there is any link whatever between vaccination and autism and the person who did the phony studies in the first place lost his medical license when it was discovered he used fraudulent methods to get his results. You and Jenny McCarthy just can’t turn the page despite the fact that science doesn’t support your claims.

          • There are no “treatable” forms of pancreatic cancer. It’s the most lethal type of cancer there is. The notion that chemo is effective, especially for pancreatic cancer is some fantasy created by you. There are no oncologists who would make such a silly claim.
            The very numerous successful lawsuits against Vioxx prove you wrong — you’re the one who needs to do more research. Hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits (almost 30,000 documented in Canada last year alone) for routine use of prescription drugs cost the system over $30 million a year. And it’s probably about 10% of the real number.
            You are referring to Andrew Wakefield — his study found measles/MMR virus in the intestines of autistic children. He did not say vaccines caused autism per se, but other researchers have indeed verified his findings. His license was revoked by a kangaroo court who objected to his taking blood samples from children WITH the consent of their parents outside of a hospital setting. You sure don’t have your facts straight.
            I don’t know Jenny McCarthy, just like you don’t speak for “science”. Media skeptics and paid shills for pharma companies frequently make claims in the name of “science”.
            Mainstream medicine is not science. It’s health care technology that makes use of chemistry.
            Anyone who claims that mainstream medicine is “science” is very naïve.

          • Again you are detracting from the original argument with non sequiturs. It’s funny how you will move goalposts when it’s convenient. The courts that persecute big pharm are all legitimate while the one’s that admonish a known falsifier of research (Wakefield) are “kangaroo court”. Do explain.

          • Your sweeping generalizations about medicine make it very difficult to take anything you have to say seriously.

          • From Scientific American:

            Jobs had a rare form of the cancer, known as neuroendocrine cancer, which grows more slowly and is easier to treat, explains Leonard Saltz, acting chief of the gastrointestinal oncology service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “Survival for many years or even decades with endocrine cancer is not surprising.” For that type, the sort that Jobs had, “survival is measured in years, as opposed to pancreatic cancer, which is measured in months.”

            “When you have a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, that is substantially different from pancreatic cancer,” Saltz says.

          • So it means that if he’d done nothing he’d live longer.

          • lauriej….look up the whippel procedure and then tell me again there are no treatable forms of pancreatic cancer.

          • The remotely possible 5 year survival rate is maybe 20%, less than 20% of people with pancreatic cancer may be candidates, it’s a very risky and lengthy procedure and it’s done hardly anywhere. That’s your solution? It’s little better than idle speculation.

          • Lauriej1 – I’m sorry to say but your concept of evidence and “science” is very skewed. Beacuse a civil court case says something happened has NOTHING to do with science – cases are often decided by 12 lay people with no understanding of evidence/science – ie like how people win law suits for hot coffee and other ridiculous cases in the US. I’m not arguing that medicine can’t have side effects however your statement that Vioxx killed 200,000 people is crazy. Because someone used Vioxx and died doesn’t mean it was the medication that killed them – thats called correlation – not evidence. However all NSAIDs increase risk and yes if they are overused in patient who are already at risk those patients may have adverse outcomes.
            And the “kangaroo courts” opinion you disregard is that of EVERY SINGLE EVIDENCED BASED journal and scientist and physician – there is no scientific verification of his studies and I think you need to check your facts. Unfortunately there are a lot of biased sources out there and it is easy to be misinformed by “scientific looking” propaganda however statements and positions like yours are risking children’s lives.

            Mainstream medicine isn’t perfect however trusting “sources” who don’t have evidence to back up any of their claims is a much riskier.

          • Oh I see. You’re not only claiming to speak for medical journals, scientists and physicians but every single one of them. And anyone who says otherwise has been reading propaganda. Seriously?
            The numbers of Vioxx deaths is actually likely to be much higher considering the lack of mandatory reporting.
            Gut dysbiosis (I’ll wait while you look this up) from vaccines has been found by other researchers, so you’re out to lunch on this too.
            The notion that vaccines are responsible for the elimination of certain diseases has been the best example of how “correlation” can be claimed to be causation.
            Which pharma company is paying you a crowd sourcing fee to write this stuff?

    • You are making broad-based and sweeping generalizations. Red herrings and straw man arguments. If the so called “holistic” medicine had an evidence-based framework we are having a different conversation. Your bias is FAR more evident than that of western medicine practitioners. I’m delighted people like this author exist to counteract the quackery that people buy into. Railing against big pharm doesn’t make your argument any more credible – in fact quite the opposite.

  10. “To test for food sensitivity, blood is drawn from a person and that blood is exposed to a large panel of foods.” Blindly doing a large number of tests when you have no underlying reason to suspect a problem is a terrible idea. As is so often the case, the reason why this is a terrible idea is best illustrated by an XKCD comic: http://xkcd.com/882/

  11. “I just got a copy of the book today,” I guess I’d try and defend a ridiculous purchase as well…

  12. “The question is: does that antibody response signal that the food is unhealthy for you or that you have an allergy? The consensus in the medical community is that it does not.”
    In the same vein (pardon the pun) an antibody response to a vaccine signals that you’ve been exposed to a pathogen but doesn’t indicate immunity…
    The other pearl from this line is that mainstream medicine relies on “concensus” not facts.
    Concensus=opinion.
    The author is claiming that the “medical community” buys into a particular theory but hasn’t established that this is in fact the case either. That’s the problem with Cookbook Medicine and the one size fits all method.

  13. This is ridiculous. I love how people can blast something they don’t understand so easily. Give me a break and eat what makes you feel good. If you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it. The only thing I agree with in this article is that we should not be taking advice from celebrities. There is a place for both holistic nutrition and western medicine in this world.

  14. What else can you expect from this luvvie ?

  15. I would not accept Ms. Paltrow as a nutritionist, nor as any authority on anything except Ms. Paltrow.

  16. This article is very poorly written.

  17. Ok, well while I can understand one’s need to eat in a cleaner and more organic way, that also costs a lot of money. But if you peruse the recipes in this book, the average meal will cost roughly $200.00 to make. For instance, she refers to a particular type of honey that costs $75.00 an ounce! I am not sure that her target demographic has been kept in mind when they decided to release it for sale in Kmart and Target where average folks shop. It just seems a bit confusing….and pretentious.

    • sorry to be a pain but: I’ve made multiple recipes in this book- nothing has cost $200.Some of the sauces and dressings make sufficient quantities for multiple meals .The vast majority of the salads,soups,dressings for fish,pasta,paella- are average cost if you typically buy fresh ingredients and make from scratch.Not sure where you are getting your numbers.I found this to be a cookbook with light,healthy,and tasty recipes!

  18. That eggplant tomato thing sounds like someone thinking that these “nightshade” plants cause some vague “inflammation.” It’s part of the master cleanse type stuff.

  19. Wait! Are those not the dreaded eggplants in the background on THE VERY COVER of her book??

  20. OMG…Ms. Paltrow as a nutritionist?…i think that they are people more qualified…
    __________________________
    Maquinas de vacio

  21. What an obtuse mindset. As a meat-eater and varietal food lover, I still
    have room in my mind for critical thinking and speculation as to the
    nutritional knowledge provided by health practitioners and nutrition
    scientists. As someone who possesses a PhD, let me tell
    you that the first thing you learn when you achieve a PhD is that we
    are all continually learning and researching. That includes doctors.
    The ‘experts’ you have brought in to your anxiety-ridden case here are
    knowledgeable, yes, however they are building on a knowledge base only
    established within the last century. To write with the intention of disproving
    a woman’s ‘quack’ theories of ‘blondeness’, as you have stated reveals a strong
    personal bias on part of the journalist, reducing your article’s legitimacy. I find
    that this piece sounds ignorant and hateful. I’m not on any diet but I feel a bit
    disgusted by poor journalism.

  22. To the last comment I ask,

    What’s the harm is in providing an alternative view on the insanity that is Paltrow’s opinion? I don’t feel the article is attacking healthier living here nor do I, with my PhD in Psychology, feel that they are being biased with their statements. Standing up for a celebrity figure who is using their influence to sell their manic ideals on bettering oneself,instead of looking inward for why they feel the need to control everything and avoid facing their ego’s unrealistic expectations, is just as equally obtuse”, as you would say. I feel they are merely showing you the realism that her asinine behavior denies. Once you’ve progressed professionally and actual dealt with some of the varieties of eating disorders, then I think you will see the danger that an opinion like hers can cause.

  23. I made the mistake of reading the comments before leaving one of my own. The cult of celebrity is huge in this country, think of all of the celebrity chefs, etc. and look at all the diet books. I know that I won’t be buying this book. You can get some good ideas from cookbooks, certainly. I think sometimes people do get frustrated with modern medicine and modern food, and I wonder if some of this is a reasserting control thing. I know I am sensitive to certain pesticides or preservatives (the non-organic version of the food makes me ill, the organic one is fine). We do seem to have a lot of *stuff* in our food. That being said, eating “free” anything (gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free, etc) tends to mean you eat more chemicals or fat/sugar/etc as they have to replace the missing item with something else. I miss having a nice baguette, or whole wheat bread/pasta. Gluten-free sensibly is HARD. And re the heavy metals…yeah, unfortunately, we have them in the air, water, etc. we are born with a “toxic load” these days. For the woman whose hubby is allergic to eggs, ricotta “scrambles” nicely, if you want a little less soy in hubby’s diet.

  24. At first, I was upset when reading this article because it discredits most of what I know based on clinical practice in the field of naturopathic medicine…then I listened to the interview .After that, my concerns were dissipated as it became clear within a matter of mintues that these two share an extremely biased viewpoint that doesn’t even consider the merits of alternative care. I possess a respect for western medicine as I know that in acute care situations, treatments offered my MDs are sometimes necessary. But when we are faced with an ailing population where it’s obvious that traditional health care (or sick care, if you will) is failing, medical doctors are doing patients a great disservice if they are not questioning how they practice and whether or not their evidence-based medicine is in fact making a marked difference for their patients or just acting as a figurative band-aid.
    Such a strong degredation of naturopathic medicine and other complimentary fields leads me to conclude that not enough effort has been made to thoroughly research the benefits of seeking alternative care. My aim in my field is to work with a patient to restore their body to true health – health that is free from prescription mediciations that come with more negative consequence than merit. I educate and empower patients to make lifestyle and diet changes that provide an optimum enviroment for healing – not just scribble my name on a pad for a drug without investigating why the ailment exists.
    The lesson to be learned is that every patient needs to act as an advocate for their own health. Question everything and listen to your body.

  25. actually my take on the cookbook is just that- a cookbook- not a medical tome: the recipes are,in my view,healthful and delicious- they are not “over the top”- did you check out the chicken and turkey sausage paella???it’s excellent! of course there are quacks everywhere- even within our own hallowed halls- but perhaps we need to evaluate this as a cookbook….which it is..and rather good…..

  26. You’ve kind of oversimplified allergy testing in this piece, one way in particular is that in order to test for suspected food allergies is to do an Elimination “diet” based on what the results of your skin test indicated. I.e. you can test positive for an allergy to the corn plant, but you may not have any substantive reaction to eating corn itself/vice versa. You can grow in and out of allergies, they can be mild on their own but in certain contexts the “glass can overflow” for example. Medicine is not an exact science, but an art. It uses and interprets science, but it itself is not a science. I’m very happy for this book because I happen to have to be on an elimination diet at the moment and we’re looking at dairy, wheat, soy, corn, and nightshades. So out they go, and since Italian and Mexican are my go to foods, I’m desperate for a cookbook that has some suggestions for how to cook all those vegetables I normally ignore, or ways to make them taste good without cheese. You’re supposed to have 7-11 servings of veggies a day, the low glycemic fruits, the good fats, whole grains, and just a little bit of meat. The only essential food that you miss on this diet is dairy and usually people with diary issues can have yoghurt for some reason. So the “diet” itself isn’t necessarily any different from the Canada food guide. While I found what you wrote interesting, it seems biased from the start by the way you totally dismiss “alternative” medicine and is based on hearsay, the very thing for which you take the cookbook author to task!

  27. This woman is a complete moron-not only does she comment on books SHE HAS NOT EVEN READ, she jumps to her own assumptions, she does MINIMAL research and she is completely out of it. Newsflash: Toxic Metals in the body causes Neurological damage, and Corn is VOID of any nutrients, it is just filler. For somebody who is so hell-bent on disproving people’s health choices, you would think she would be the picture of perfect health. Judging by her picture, she clearly could get on the health tip herself. So disappointed with Maclean’s for having a journalist that is such a joke. I will no longer read this magazine if they allow this junk to grace their pages.

  28. Lots of quack science. In fact, 99% of news media today that quotes science is in fact quack science. Fruit fly myopics, to Hollywood stars….little scientific method and lots of hype and politics to sell for profit.

  29. I seriously think you are the quack :) the food and recipes in this book are just whole natural foods combined in a delicious way. it may be drastic to some but maybe that’s what the world needs? with so many people dying of cancer and being diagnosed with a million other ailments and illnesses we need drastic change. it’s pretty sad state when you are thought of as a quack cause you eat quinoa but not when you eat McDonalds.

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