I Gave Up Caffeine, Alcohol, Dairy, Sugar, Gluten & Joy In Pursuit Of Goop’s Idea Of ‘Wellness’

In the spirit of trying to live my best life and be healthy or whatever, I decided it was time to do something drastic, like not eat junk food for five days. With that said, I would like to take this moment to apologize to everyone that I interacted with this past week as I was without caffeine, and honestly we knew the risks. I can’t be held accountable for my actions during that time. 

In looking for inspiration, I turned to the pioneer of influencers peddling questionable “wellness” tactics: the one, the only, Gwyneth Paltrow. When you want vague promises of “detoxifying” your body, a bizarre approach that may or may not harm you, and candles that smell like your vagina, you go to Goop—and it did not disappoint. In my searching, I discovered Goop’s Annual New Year Detox, a five-day detox that’s free of caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten, corn, nightshades, soy, refined sugar, shellfish, white rice, and eggs, and apparently joy. While this sounds intense, and it kind of is, it’s important to note that this is a detox and not a diet, meaning that the purpose of this week is to reset your body and mind for a healthier lifestyle, not lose weight. And it’s also important to note that this is NOT Goop’s COVID “detox”, which health experts have warned could potentially be harmful. With that in mind, join me on my journey of becoming America’s Next Top Wellness Influencer, and see how I did for the week.

Start: Sunday Prep

Sunday funday! Sike, Sundays are for grocery shopping and meal prepping. Goop provides you with a shopping list, but they also invite you to make substitutions and to alter the detox to whatever works for you. They say, “Embrace the swaps and tweaks that make sense for your tastes, your body, and your lifestyle. Opt for some store-bought shortcuts and let them bring you joy.” Furthermore, Goops acknowledges that all the dietary restrictions aren’t necessarily realistic for everyone, and permits you to customize it to your lifestyle. Goop states, “Eat more if you’re hungry. Eat a little less if you’re full. Listen to your body. Maybe eliminating all of the above is too much and you just want to see what happens when you remove dairy from your diet for five days.” I kept this in mind when I did my shopping, because in my humble opinion, there’s no need to buy a whole bottle of something just to use one teaspoon, unless you have a Paltrow-level paycheck. 

While meal prepping is not a required step, it does help in making the first detox day slightly less overwhelming. I started by marinating my chicken, no big deal, and then chopped up all my veggies for the next day. Excuse me while I go accept my Food Network award for culinary excellence.

Day One: Monday

Detox At A Glance:

Day one, I am energized and ready to go. Ok, maybe not “energized” because this detox cuts out caffeine, but I am enthusiastic and eager to start! Every morning begins with a mug of warm water and lemon, which is great for me, because I already do that most mornings. The real first challenge is the Chocolate Cherry Almond Smoothie. Mine consisted of frozen cherries (duh), frozen cauliflower florets, seeds galore, almond butter, sea salt, water, a quarter of a banana, and a dash of mocha collagen powder. So not exactly the Goop recipe, but again, alter to your desire. I swapped out the date for a bit of banana, upped the seed count from a Teaspoon to a Tablespoon of each kind, and added mocha collagen powder instead of cacao powder, because that’s what I already had on hand. The taste? Actually really good! Don’t let the cauliflower deter you, it blends in really well and you don’t even taste it—I think the banana also helped in masking that veggie flavor.

Because I wasn’t super hungry after my mid-morning smoothie, I opted to just make the soup for lunch, and save the curried chickpea salad and bread combo for another day. Honestly, making soup on a rainy day, I felt like I was Martha Stewart. The soup making process was surprisingly easy, and I followed the recipe as listed. As for the soup itself? Unnecessary. I get that this was supposed to be a sneaky way to eat all your greens, but it really was just glorified baby food. The flavor was totally fine, savory and a little salty, but the texture was just not great. Plus, and I get that I was fairly warned with it being called Everything Green Soup, but it was really really green—no thanks. 

Up next was the Super Seedy Apple Rings. Way better, it’s just apple slices with almond butter dipped in some seeds. Standard, simple, and delicious.

Lastly was the Miso Chicken with Cucumbers and Furikake. I let the chicken breast marinate in the miso for 24 hours as recommended, patted off the excess miso, and threw it in a pan. In lieu of furikake, I sprinkled a little Everything But the Bagel seasoning over my cucumbers, which wasn’t that far off from the intended seasoning. Overall, chicken paired with brown rice and cucumbers is basic, healthy, and filling—not too shabby for the first day.

Day Two: Tuesday

Detox At A Glance:

I miss my morning coffee, but I’m powering through. This breakfast was my favorite hands down, because it’s just avocado toast, a staple in my normal diet. I could live off of this every day. I went rogue and mixed my avocado with a little lemon juice and salt and pepper, then added a generous sprinkle of chia seeds, red pepper flakes, and a few cherry tomatoes on top. *Chef’s kiss*. Lunch was easy; I simply heated up the leftover miso chicken, no biggie. However, I have a bone to pick with this so-called Rooibos Almond Latte. Apparently Rooibos is a tea, the almond referred to almond milk and almond butter, and the latte part was… nothing! There wasn’t any coffee, not even decaf. I’m sorry, but you cannot call something a latte that contains zero coffee! Goop did me dirty on that one. They got my hopes up and played with my emotions for some tea with almond milk. The nerve. It was fine, but I drank it with contempt. 

For dinner, I made some more minor adjustments. I am not a fish person, or really even a seafood person, it’s just not my thing. So, instead of haddock, I used chicken breast. This is a classic sheet pan meal, toss it all on the pan and let the oven do the work. The salsa verde was also super basic and easy to throw together. I give it a thumbs up! It’s fresh and healthy without feeling like it’s diet food. I would totally order something like this at a restaurant, just maybe with a margarita.

Day Three: Wednesday

Detox At A Glance:

Did I mention that I miss my coffee yet? Because it’s day three and I’m not not cranky. I’m into the routine at this point: wake up, warm water with lemon, check. Breakfast though, breakfast was interesting. I had to take a separate trip over to Whole Foods, aka a whole paycheck to pick up this small pack of fonio, which is a grain that is similar to couscous. I opted to blend it after heating in a saucepan to achieve that porridge-like consistency, and it was great—at first. But then it oddly solidified. I don’t know if I didn’t stir in enough almond milk, but something happened where it turned into this block of goo. Not overly appetizing. This could be user error, but I’m hesitant moving forward. 

After a lackluster breakfast, I am looking forward to lunch. And what’s on the menu? Baby food soup—ugh. Hard pass. Luckily, I still have the curried chickpea salad to try. Fingers crossed! Verdict is, it’s okay. Is it my favorite thing that I’ve had so far? No, but it’s still good, and relatively easy to make, so I’ll take the W. I mashed the majority of my chickpeas, because I prefer a creamier, hummus-like consistency, but to each their own. 

Then, like the previous day, apples and almond butter for a snack, super chill. Time for dinner, and to be honest, I’m a little sick of cooking at this point. I know it’s only day three, but having to cook four meals a day, every day, is a lot. I miss takeout. Anyway, I pretended I was on Chopped and made the fastest meal ever. Once again, I made another substitution, and swapped the sweet potato for some chicken breast, because I have the taste buds of a 10-year-old and I’m not a fan of sweet potatoes. But I did eat the cauliflower rice, so like, I semi-adulted. This was good, similar to your standard power bowl. Nothing to write home about, but the chicken paired with the pickled cabbage was a good call! 

Day Four: Thursday

Detox At A Glance:

Home stretch! I am feeling good, feeling healthy, missing my pizza delivery guy—shout-out Sal—but I feel light and clean. This morning is laid-back—I love my lemon water, and I love my cherry smoothie, all good there. Lunch was also a relaxed event, which after being tired of cooking, was ideal. But can you guess what my swap was this time? If you rolled your eyes and said sweet potatoes, then you are correct! Instead of making a sweet potato hummus, I opted for a store bought organic avocado hummus with a side of veggies, which was freaking awesome. I also made my “latte” at the same time and “enjoyed” it simultaneously. By now I am somewhat recovered from my cooking burnout, and can handle making the stew for dinner. Like with most things in this detox, the prep isn’t overly difficult, though the end result isn’t overly great. It’s good enough to have a healthy dinner. All in all, I would say it was a fairly successful meal day. 

Day Five: Friday


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Detox At A Glance:

Today is the last day of this detox, and I am proud to say that I successfully survived the week, and I did it all without caffeine. I will pause for your applause—thank you. At this point, I have accepted my destiny as a wellness influencer, and will now look down on others as they eat their french fries and pizzas—just kidding, I’m totally getting McNuggets tomorrow, but I’ll wash them down with a green juice, because balance. 

The menu for this day was a round of celebratory courses. To start, I had avocado toast instead of the fonio, because I know what I like. I then finished off the leftover stew, thus eliminating all traces of this week’s meals in the fridge. Followed that with more avocado hummus, which I will continue to eat all day, every day, till the end of time. Lastly, I had one final recipe to try out: the Veggie Fritters with Avocado Cilantro Sauce. This one was worth the wait. Easy prep, I utilized a bag of store-bought organic slaw, and easy execution, as all you had to do was form the fritters and toss them on a pan for a few minutes. I may have slightly burned my fritters, but the flavor was still incredible, and the sauce was unmatched. I can confidently say that I would make this meal again. Seriously, 10/10—and I never thought I would say that about something where the main ingredient was vegetables.

Post-Detox Thoughts

Reflecting on the week, I wouldn’t say I feel completely detoxified, but I did prove to myself that I could go five days without coffee, pizza, or a midnight Kit Kat—so I considered that much a success! Basically, I ate healthy for a week and it didn’t kill me. It’s not fun, but it’s completely doable, and probably necessary every once in a while. My main takeaways? I don’t super enjoy cooking and a caffeine-free diet is not for me—and is also not for the well-being of everyone around me (again, so sorry). This new year reset was essentially a crash course in how to not order off the kid’s menu for a week—which isn’t a bad life hack.   

In the end, what I loved most about this detox plan was how flexible it was. There was no guilt in making substitutions or swapping out a meal. At no point did I ever feel like “I blew my diet” because I changed it around to make it more suitable to my tastes and needs. That’s the beauty of a detox versus a diet, yes you may still drop a few pounds, but you don’t feel deprived or guilty for altering the regimen. While I wouldn’t recommend 100% of the provided recipes (looking at you, baby food soup), I would favor a healthy detox every once in a while to refresh the body and the mind. Not anytime soon, but let’s talk again this time next year!


Artem Labunsky / Unsplash; Giphy; dietstartstomorrrow / Instagram
5 Diets That Are Actually Worth Sticking To

Here we are again on the eternal quest to lose three pounds and attain the bodies we had when we first thought we were fat at age, like, 13. Unfortunately, the world of weight loss can be a complicated one, what with pills, flashy commercials, fake news, and Instagram models telling us to chug laxative tea and work out 20 hours per day to attain our dream bods. Going on a fad diet won’t work, but adopting a lifestyle change and actual diet that you don’t go off of after four weeks will help you in the long run with weight loss, heart health, cholesterol, and more. Luckily, we found a few diets that work, and won’t make you hungry all the time.

The main thing you’ll notice about all of our top five best diets that work is that none of them cut out an entire food group, limit calories to ridiculous amounts, or tell you to continually eat one type of food group over and over again (I see you, grapefruit diet). Tbh, they’re not really diets so much as they are lifestyle changes. They’re all varied, allow you to splurge in places, and are something you can stick with through the best of times (like winter when sweaters cover our arms) and the worst of times (when Tinder bae ghosts you and ice cream becomes your bff).

These are the best diets—that aren’t really diets in the way you’re thinking—that are worth sticking to.

1. Mediterranean Diet

According to Pure Wow, the Mediterranean diet works because it aids in heart health, focuses on all the right food groups and allows you to splurge once in awhile. The “diet” is really just focusing your eating on veggies, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and mostly seafood as opposed to red meat. Plus, you’re saying “nope” to butter and using olive oil in most recipes, so there isn’t as much saturated fat sitting around waiting to f*ck your sh*t up. The best part is that, yes, you can have (and are encouraged to drink) wine with dinner, plus fruit-based desserts here and there. Note: This does not include drinking an entire bottle of red alone while nursing a pint of strawberry ice cream. Sorry

2. Nordic Diet

Eat lots of fish, berries, whole grains, and vegetables to live like the Vikings do, minus the raping and pillaging! According to Harvard Health, following the Nordic diet won’t only help you live a healthier (and probs slimmer) lifestyle, it could also help lower the risk of stroke later on. Like the Mediterranean diet, the Nordic diet limits red meat in favor of fish, tells you to keep your hands out of the cookie jar (and maybe don’t eat so much dessert in general), and advises against processed crap, so say adieu to the morning Danishes and late night pizza rolls.

3. Cooking Light Diet

If you’re familiar with Cooking Light at all, you know that the whole aim is to eat the foods you want, prepared in a way that won’t completely ruin your relationship with your scale or pants. Recipes are created to keep calories minimal but flavor to the max (sorry). The best part of this diet is that you still get to cook and be creative with your meals without adding in all the extra fat. You can go all in and, like, pay to do it (which includes a plan for you, diet tips, reminders to exercise, etc.) or you can just peruse the site for tons of recipes that are low in calories but still satisfying. It’s a great lifestyle plan for those of us that hate being on an official restrictive diet, love to cook, and want to learn to make a healthier mac n cheese (CAN I LIVE).

4. Flexitarian Diet

You’re basically becoming a flexible vegetarian with this one. The best part is that you can claim not to eat meat and pretend to be better than all of your friends when you’re out. The even better part is that as soon as you get home, you can totally inhale a small chicken or plate of fish. Since you’re limiting your meat intake, you’re encouraged to eat more fruit, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, which are good for you anyway. According to Red Book Magazine, “vegetarian and vegan diets typically lead to weight loss … you’ll see results from being a flexitarian, too. Studies show that those who are mostly vegetarian or vegan have a lower BMI than full-on meat-eaters.”

5. DASH Diet

According to US News, “the DASH Diet, which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to do exactly that: stop (or prevent) hypertension, aka high blood pressure. It emphasizes the foods you’ve always been told to eat (fruit, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy), which are high in blood pressure-deflating nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber.” So, yeah, eat healthy and chill on the crappy food like cheese, ice cream, sleeves of Oreos, and triple smothered fried chicken, and you’ll be well on your way to a newer, healthier you.

Images: Brooke Lark / Unsplash; Giphy (2)