Gru­elling it like Gwyneth

New Straits Times - - Heal -

Gwyneth’s lat­est cu­ra­tion, a book on how to live and eat clean.

BY the end of Fe­bru­ary this year, I emerged from the other side of the hol­i­day sea­son feel­ing like a potato. I had been lost in a limbo of missed ex­er­cises; all sorts of sea­sonal fes­tive food and the hol­i­day mood had pretty much left me on my couch do­ing noth­ing. One night, I found my­self watch­ing the Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret Run­way Show in my old py­ja­mas while eat­ing a pint of ice­cream. I sup­pose de­feat re­veals it­self in many forms. The mod­els looked fab while I looked, well, flab.

To con­tra­dict this down­ward spi­ral, I de­cided to go on a cleanse. Yes, a cleanse.

If you’re a per­son liv­ing in the 21st cen­tury of fads, di­ets and ba­si­cally con­vinc­ing one­self that phys­i­cal man­i­fes­ta­tion is the key to hap­pi­ness, you must have come across this con­cept once or twice in your life.

There are so many types of new-rev­o­lu­tion di­ets.Atkins, Bun-less Burger, Pa­leo Lifestyle, juice cleanse, or even the cayenne pep­per-with-lemon wa­ter diet. I mea­sured my ex­pec­ta­tions against my re­al­ism and even­tu­ally de­cided to em­bark on a Gwyneth Pal­trow detox.

So what is a Gwyneth detox? Pal­trow, an ac­tress known as much for her ex­tremely home­o­pathic lifestyle as her Hol­ly­wood ca­reer, seems to have a uni­ver­sal group of faith­ful fol­low­ers who swear by the ef­fec­tive­ness of her detox pro­grammes. For a 40-some­thing she looks like she may have dis­cov­ered the elixir of youth, and I wanted in on some of that. I too, de­sired an iri­des­cent glow and wash­board abs.

So off I went, plan­ning my meals ac­cord­ing to her pro­gramme which could be found on­line. It re­quired full days of clean, medic­i­nal eat­ing. The main rules are no caf­feine, booze, white carbs, re­fined sugar, red meat, dairy, pro­cessed food in any form and night-

Some of the food on the detox menu that I made.

shades. Watch out Gwyneth, here I come.

THE EX­PER­I­MENT BE­GINS

Day 1 started with a spring in my step. I was on my way to look like I be­long on mag­a­zine cov­ers! I be­gan the day with a smoothie with al­mond milk. Al­mond milk tastes noth­ing like the usual more awe­some milk. For lunch I was al­lowed to have some raw veg­etable sticks with some hum­mus, and my op­ti­mism con­vinced me that soon I would glow with the iri­des­cence that Gwyneth promised.

Din­ner was grilled salmon and some blanched greens, which was a great com­fort from all the raw stuff I had been eat­ing all day.

Day 2 was un­pleas­ant. Maybe it was the sugar with­drawal, but I found my­self feel­ing highly strung by ev­ery­thing. I saw my neigh­bour’s cute pet cat pranc­ing around and I felt like punch­ing it.

Ev­ery­one at my of­fice an­gered me, in­clud­ing the guy who of­fered to help me carry some files. Oh, so you think you’re all high and mighty that you get to eat rice? God, peo­ple were so an­noy­ing.

That night I had a raw soup made of blended cu­cum­ber and av­o­cado. The cold soup and my sor­rows had one thing in com­mon — I wanted to drown in both of them.

The next few days were a roller coaster of emo­tions. Some­times I felt great from all the nat­u­ral good­ness I was con­sum­ing, but some­times I would dream of desserts and carbs. I was yet to feel ra­di­ant, and for a mo­ment I be­gan to won­der if this was all a scam. Get­ting to eat brown rice felt like win­ning the lot­tery. Rice! Glo­ri­ous rice! I be­gan to see some light at the end of the dark, carb-less tun­nel I was in.

On the last day, I man­aged to psy­che my­self up for a fi­nal day of clean, bland eat­ing. And maybe it was all psy­chol­ogy, maybe I was hal­lu­ci­nat­ing from low sugar, but I swore it seemed that my skin was much clearer than it had been for months. My body felt lighter too, and my en­ergy level seemed con­sis­tently up­beat all day long.

As I fin­ished off my fi­nal plate of detox salad that night, I went to bed so happy with the thought of eat­ing a large cookie for break­fast tomorrow morn­ing. With a glass of milk that came from a cow in­stead of a nut.

SO WAS DE­TOX­ING WORTH IT?

It seemed that I had un­der­mined how much it takes to look good in show busi­ness. I read some­where that Gwyneth would do this for ev­ery act­ing job that re­quired her to look a cer­tain way, and I must say that it takes a lot of willpower to live like this.

Sure, I looked and felt much bet­ter by the end of it amid my near-miss re­lapses, but it made me won­der if it was worth de­priv­ing our­selves from not even mod­er­ately en­joy­ing any treats to look a cer­tain, ide­alised way.

Per­haps for an in­fre­quent rare oc­ca­sion, but as a lifestyle? It seemed a lit­tle too much to pay for the price of look­ing per­fect.

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