I'm torn on how to write this review. On one hand, no one can argue the benefits of a clean diet, both physically and mentally, and the recipes in this book are overall healthful. On the other hand, it briefly made me wonder if we colinized Mars while I was asleep and made Gwyneth Paltrow the Planetary President... I'll explain.
I eat a clean diet and have to cook without gluten, tree nuts, and soy due to varying dietary issues in my family. So, I'm always looking for new recipes and I was excited for this book's release. But for disclosure, I admit to rolling my eyes when I saw the author was GP. Isn't this the same person who has sworn by macrobiotic diets, then raw diets, then juicing fasts, and those acupuncture and cupping procedures? And didn't she just write a different clean diet cookbook recently? But, I figured maybe she learned a few things and if the book provided some good recipes, then why not try it? So, I did. I will try to keep my eye rolls separate from the contents of the book, but it may get tricky. And with 35 of 80some photos in this COOKbook being of her and not food (that's nearly half, math wizard!), Ms. Paltrow doesn't make it easy.
First, the misinformation/contradictions:
Gwyneth decided that her kids, husband, and herself are intolerant to gluten, dairy, and chicken when her doctor put her on an elimination diet to clear out her system after she mistook a migraine for dying. (No, really.) I thought she was already eating this way, according to her past diets, but she calls her "overindulgence" a "lapse" in her healthy lifestyle sparking health problems that made her adopt this new diet. Call me skeptical, but it just comes across as someone just riding the newest diet wave.
In the book she writes,
"Every single nutritionist, doctor and health-conscious person I have ever come across...seems to concur that [gluten] is tough on the system and many of us are at best intolerant of it and at worst allergic to it."
This is full of hyperbole ("every" [related] person she's "ever" come across? wow), and absolutely false. Fact: A gluten intolerance mimics Celiacs which tears apart your GI tract and/or causes a wide variety of health problems. Fact: A gluten allergy is the same as any food allergy which can result in anaphylaxis.
The standard American diet is absolutely too glutenous. It's also too high in sugar, fats, etc... But there are very specific differences between gluten allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities. And some people just digest better without it. I digest a cucumber a lot easier than I do broccoli, but that doesn't mean I'm intolerant to broccoli.
For a clean cookbook low on allergens, it sure includes a lot of high allergen foods (eggs, soy, potatoes.) GP doesn't allow her kids or husband to eat potatoes, but corn is okay. I guess she skipped the memo on the downsides to corn, but kept the one on potatoes? Also, soy has not only been proven unhealthy for many reasons, but it's also been reported that up to 85% of the soy supply is genetically modified. There is nothing "clean" about GMO's. But I guess that isn't important, either.
Then the hypocrisy: GP claims she allows her kids to be kids and cheat by eating Oreos and Cheetos occasionally. I totally get that, I allow my kids indulgences, too. However, didn't she just say that people are "at best" intolerant of gluten, including her kids? If that were true, then she knowingly allows her kids to eat foods that are potentially tearing apart their intestines. Doesn't make sense? That's because it's nonsense and proves that her kids "tolerate" gluten just fine.
Yes, everybody benefits from limiting their gluten intake. That doesn't mean that most people are intolerant. But, she also says her whole family is intolerant to chicken and dairy. Intolerances and benefiting from cutting back a food group are not the same thing. People who aren't lactose intolerant don't have to eliminate dairy, but can highly benefit from switching to organic (ridding the antibiotics and hormones); doesn't make them intolerant. A few glasses of red wine may be healthy for you, but overindulging consistently will send your liver straight into failure. Doesn't mean you're intolerant to wine, it means you drank yourself to death. I haven't eaten meat in nearly a decade, but I've never once made the claim that I am intolerant to it. You see, I like to use facts rather than rhetoric. The book would have been better had she done the same, because once the contradictions started, the rest was too hard to take seriously. (ie: picking and choosing what you *think* is healthy, while promoting other foods that studies have proven are not, especially when you've already tried so many fad diets and back peddled yourself into that migraine-disguised-as-death drama.)
But, let's move on to the "recipes":
I'm not sure how to say this without sounding like I'm lying, but just trust me. One of the recipes is a "hard boiled egg." That's it. A hard boiled egg. In case you're not sure how to make such a complicated dish, I'll sum it up for you: place egg in boiling water. Wait for it... Done!
Is this a joke? I paid for a cookbook but instead got a bunch of photos of GP riding a Vespa, her celebrity friend name dropping, stories of how she overnights vegan cookies to her manager, and a recipe for a hard boiled egg?! Not to mention, if your family is "intolerant" to chickens, then why aren't they "intolerant" to chicken bi products? Doesn't make sense again, right? I'm thinking of a word again, I'll give you a hint: starts with hypo, ends with crite.
If a hard boiled egg isn't fancy enough for you, fear not! Right below it is a recipe for an "Olive Oil Fried Egg"!! As in, an egg fried in olive oil. Yep. That's it. Too complicated? No worries! Another "recipe" is one she admits is not even a recipe: slices of avocado with store bought veganaise on a slice of gluten free bread. Note to the author: if you find yourself typing out the words "it isn't an actual recipe"? It's not. That's what Pinterest is for.
And then comes my favorite recipe of all: POPCORN. This tough-to-master, little-heard-of gem of a recipe was taught to her by her very famous celebrity friend Cameron Diaz, whom Paltrow calls a "popcorn making master." ... In case you missed my sarcasm, it's popcorn. You pop it. You eat it. The end. Move over, Diaz! Looks like I'm a master, too!
You can't make this stuff up.
The book isn't ALL bad. The photography and layout are gorgeous and Gwyneth is glowingly beautiful, which shows how well her diet works for her. There are a lot of recipes in the book, but I didn't find anything I don't already have from other cookbooks and sites online. But if this is your first clean eating cookbook, you may be happy with the selection. The people who are complaining about the cost of the recipes... Well, that's not *always* GP's fault (although, if she gave recipes for freakin' popcorn, she could have taken the time to detail a few "on a budget" meals...) But mostly, it's just the world of clean eating. It can get pricey. Load up on hard boiled eggs, I guess. And, lucky for you, this book will teach you how!
It's All Good just wasn't for me. Recommendations for nothing under $500 blenders (What? Can't *everyone* afford that?), outrageous ingredients not at all "easy" (what? doesn't everyone get their organic flour from "Williams & Sonoma?"), picture after picture of herself, recipes ranging from no-brainer non-recipes to ones I've seen before or found online for free, misleading health claims... She makes sure to mention all the organic apples she yields from her summer home in the Hamptons just in case you want to do the same!
I don't like giving out poor reviews, but It's All Good turned out to be All Ridiculous.
*Edited To Add:
Apparently, some people get really angry when you point out things that GP put in her own book. I don't have a personal vendetta against Ms. Paltrow. She wrote this stuff. I'm simply interjecting my opinion that it often comes across as hypocritical and, at best, not relatable. Jessica Alba recently wrote a book on ridding your home and diet of toxins that I liked because she went out of her way to list affordable options for regular people and doable changes for those who have to work, cook, clean, and take care of their own kids every day with no outside help. I'm not comparing books, I'm comparing mindsets. You *can* be wealthy without being completely disconnected from reality. Gwyneth Paltrow seems to struggle with that quite a bit which makes her and her books extremely hard to relate to. At least for me, anyway. I also find it odd that many reviewers on here whom are angry with others for disliking the book keep saying we aren't focusing on the "recipes" enough, yet they themselves focus very little on the recipes and instead just criticize the reviews and all the "hate" (calm down, people. I haven't "hated" anything since the movie Space Jam). It's hypocritical (which explains why they liked the book), and also silly to suggest at least HALF of the book (information, stories, and pictures) shouldn't be discussed. Seems more like a personal investment in defending GP rather than the "recipes", in my opinion.
Maybe you'll like this book more than I did. Some really seem to be enjoying it. But personally, I walked away from It's All Good wanting a refund and thinking the only thing Gwyneth is actually intolerant to is reality.