Lay Off Me, I’m Starving! My Week on the GOOP Diet

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on October 1, 2012

I have never had to apologize to so many people in so few days as I did the week I tried Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP detox diet.

I don’t even remember why I decided to do the cleanse anyway. I’m not an unhealthy eater, but working in fashion had probably made me a little neurotic about my indulgent habits and full-fat allowances; and along the same lines as my decision to make Phish Food ice cream from scratch, I think I just wanted to see if it could be done. Plus, unlike most juice cleanses, which don’t allow you to chew a single solid thing for a week, Gwyneth’s detox involved real chicken, fish, fruits, and vegetables. There were actual lunches and dinners. I could totally handle it!

carrot-miso dressing
On Monday, the first night of the detox, I showed up at Irene’s doorstep grumbling both mentally and physically. The plan was to roast a whole fish: olive oil, salt, pepper, lemons, and herbs were allowed on the GOOP diet, even though I was already cheating by eating fish on my first night of the cleanse instead of waiting until the fourth night, and adding a serving of quinoa on the side—grains weren’t on the menu plan until day seven. (Day Seven? Really, GP?)

But after a morning of sipping coconut water in a futile attempt to kill my hunger, an afternoon of carefully rationed-out vegetables and pumpkin seeds was like throwing pennies down a well. I could almost hear the echo as the seeds fell into the empty cavern of my stomach. Poor Irene made the fatal mistake of offering me the usual post-work, take-the-edge-off glass of Riesling. “I CAN’T HAVE ANY WINE!” I exploded, like Chris Farley when you try to take his french fries away.

You can imagine how well the detox diet went from there. By Wednesday, the prospect of eating a hot breakfast of oatmeal with almond milk was enough to keep me going after two days of smoothies and lukewarm lemon water; by Friday, my resolve—and patience for tiny portions of miso soup—was crumbling faster than a piece of forbidden cornbread. An unexpected half day of work left me free in the city with a paycheck burning a hole in my pocket and a desire for a big plate of real food burning a hole in my gut. A bowl of mac and cheese ended the cleanse two days early.

carrot-miso dressing
I discovered two things from my week of deprivation. One: I really, truly, honestly like juicing. I can’t drink juice as my only sustenance, but I do love it. Two: the GOOP diet’s carrot-ginger salad dressing really is, as Gwyneth called it, “the jam!” Sharp and tangy, it reminded me of childhood trips to the hibachi bar (as exotic as we got in the hinterlands of Pittsburgh back in the day) and made the prospect of daily lunch salads almost bearable.

I’ve adapted the dressing to be even more pungent and punchy with the help of scallions and miso. Never cooked with miso? It’s a fermented soybean paste typically used in Japanese cuisine that’s basically the taste definition of umami: savory with hints of sweet and salt, adding just a little tickle and oomph to boost the flavors of sauces, marinades, dressings, or whatever condiment you’re working with.

Usually found in the prepared dips and spreads section of the supermarket (near the hummus and guacamole), miso comes in a few different varieties based on how long it’s been aged and whether it’s been blended with barley or rice. Start with the sweet or mellow white versions for this recipe and experiment with using it in other recipes—add a spoonful to your next batch of chicken soup or a dab to a steak marinade. Miso keeps forever in the fridge, so you’ve got time to play.

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