Gwyneth Paltrow is unashamed about it. “I’m a foodie, one hundred percent,” says the Oscar winning actress, relishing a mouthful of wholemeal bread in a Los Angeles restaurant. “I’ve always cooked and I’ve always loved it. And I’ve always made notes about what I cook and shared recipes with friends.”
With four best-selling cookbooks under her belt, Paltrow’s career as a food writer has long since passed the time when it might have been described as a vanity project. Her focus on health, food quality and recipes to make people feel good about themselves has earned her recognition in food circles beyond anything that perhaps even she might have expected.
It helps perhaps that at 47 years old, with her wrinkle-free skin and slender girlish figure, she looks like a walking advertisement for her own recipes. But there is no doubting her passion for her subject.
“There’s no reason why healthy doesn’t have to be delicious. Mealtimes should always feel happy. Not a punishment.”
Paltrow got her love of food from her father, Bruce Paltrow, the producer who died in 2002 from cancer. “The excitement he had around food and going to a restaurant was very palpable, very contagious. It was always about the food. He’d try to track down the perfect chocolate cake, collect wine. When someone loves food to that degree, it’s contagious.”
She pauses. She has often said how much she misses her father. She describes her first cook book, My Father’s Daughter, which came out in 2011, as a love letter to him. “I’d always thought, one day, I’ll do a busy mother’s cook book, and then my father died. I had learned to cook with him. We were so into food together, so My Father’s Daughter came about very naturally.”
Two years later, her second book, It’s All Good, came out following a health scare – a migraine that she mistook for a stroke. “I felt really imbalanced, exhausted, stressed out. And I was told the best way to heal most problems is to eat better.”
Doctors suggested an elimination diet – no dairy, alcohol, caffeine, eggs, sugar, corn, wheat, gluten or red meat. She tried it. “And that’s what convinced me.”
The recipes in It’s All Good are not as strict as an elimination diet. But they follow what has become her trademark – good, clean food that is not processed, and organic, where possible. Shifting away from processed food is the theme that she has carried in all her books since.“There are better and worse versions of everything,” she says. “There’s grass fed beef, and there’s ground up horsemeat. There’s cheese from France that’s unpasteurized, and gorgeous and gooey, and there’s Kraft American cheese singles that taste like plastic.”
Paltrow’s most recent book The Clean Plate – Eat, Reset, Heal contains several cleanses. “Everyone’s toolbox for optimal wellness looks different,” she explains. “For me, the most powerful reset button is food. I don’t know any magic bullet, but eating clean comes close.” She says she typically does a cleanse only once a year, but a cleanse shouldn’t feel like an act of deprivation. Hence the delicious recipes in her book.
Paltrow has long since pulled back from major to minor acting roles, devoting her time to her children, Apple, 16, and Moses, 14, from her first marriage with Coldplay front-man Chris Martin. “Movie hours are long. If you do them, you just don’t see your kids,” she explains.
She met her second husband, the producer Brad Falchuck on the set of Glee in 2014. It was he who created the part of Georgina Hobart in the Netflix smash hit The Politician for her, her most recent role.
Paltrow has been spending a lot of the US quarantine period at her property in the Hamptons. But she remains hands on with her lifestyle company Goop, which started as a newsletter in 2008, sharing Gwyneth’s wellness tips, and is today valued at over $250 million with a huge following. “I feel very grateful,” she says simply.
Oscar-winning actress and founder of the Goop lifestyle brand, Gwyneth Paltrow says her fourth cookery book is her ‘cleanest’ yet. Here is an extract from THE CLEAN PLATE: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Everyday Glow by Gwyneth Paltrow, published by Sphere.
Crunchy Spring Veggie Grain Bowl
1 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice
3 asparagus spears, shaved
½ cup grated carrot
½ small watermelon radish, thinly sliced with a mandoline
⅔ cup shredded poached chicken (optional)
⅔ cup thinly sliced bok choy
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
About 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
About 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Divide the quinoa between two bowls. Top each with half the asparagus, carrot, radish, chicken, and bok choy. Garnish with the cilantro and pour over the miso dressing. Drizzle with the coconut aminos and sesame oil and serve.
Ingredients for the miso-ginger dressing:
2 teaspoons chickpea miso paste
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
Zest and juice of 2 limes
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Whisk together the miso, ginger, lime zest, and lime juice. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil, until emulsified. Taste and season with salt. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.