Gwyneth Paltrow's Bone Broth: When "Wellness" Hides Disordered Eating
By Alexandra Grieco
Photo by Pinterest
The patron saint of wellness, Oscar-winner and Goop mastermind Gwenyth Paltrow, infiltrated TikTok’s For You Page last week with her viral wellness routine. The actress-turned-mogul sat down for Dr. Will Cole’s The Art of Wellness podcast, and showcased her day-to-day diet: coffee in the morning, bone broth for lunch, one hour of movement and infrared sauna, and a vegetable dinner.
With a vitamin IV coursing through her veins, gaunt Hadid-esque cheekbones, and a black turtleneck that would make Elizabeth Holmes drool out her bone broth, Paltrow’s appearance and behavior triggered immediate thinkpieces and shocked responses. The clip quickly racked up 95 million views in just six days, with a flooded comment section that questioned if “wellness” is an appropriate word to attach to a routine that seems so dismal.
Paltrow’s Californian vocal fry hit many of the wellness community-coined terms, such as “intermittent fasting,” twisting them into buzzwords with little context. To impressionable listeners, Paltrow’s fasting and subsequent exercise might be interpreted as the self-proclaimed wellness expert sinking herself into caloric deficits. Her “paleo diet” dinner transports her digestive system to the literal Stone Age, detoxing her body of any toxin that might give a neanderthal an upset tummy. Paltrow’s extreme dieting triggered nasty nicknames, like the “ultimate almond mom,” some not-so-pretty comparisons to colonoscopy preparation, and even a game called “What Would Send Gwenyth Paltrow into a Cardiac Arrest?”. TikTok’s meme culture engulfed the clip into harsh criticism, yet its impact may dig deeper into the mass consciousness than a week’s worth of bad jokes.
Paltrow’s brand is packaged and sold as the leading wellness authority, with the actress’s newsletter, lifestyle products, and Netflix series supporting her ethos. Her name no longer triggers memories of Brad Pitt paparazzi shots or Shakespeare in Love Oscar upsets, but kooky headlines of orgasm-scented candles and jade egg vaginal steamers. Paltrow’s seal of approval on any holistic or dietary practice automatically brands it as “wellness.” This enters a danger zone when those practices become thinly veiled diet culture concepts. For example, Paltrow’s intermittent fasting contrasts a 2023 Johns Hopkins University study that found intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating, to not support long-term weight loss. Paltrow suggesting to her followers that fasting may help them attain wellness, though understanding that there is an implicit cultural connection between fasting and weight loss, hides the truth of the diet by ignoring its danger of descending into starvation practices.
Paltrow defended her routine in an Instagram story, saying that the podcast host, Dr. Cole, is her doctor who is guiding her through some “chronic stuff.” Paltrow may be on her own personal journey with IVs, fasting, and soup lunches, but sharing her borderline disordered diet with an app populated with teenagers might be a step too far.