Despite It All, I Still Support Gwyneth PaltrowAndrea Howe
It’s been just over a week since the earth’s rotation was jarred by the conscious uncoupling announcement of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. My own personal views on divorce aside, my thoughts on this announcement were few and succinct, mainly feeling sad for the kids involved. While the world speculated on the who, what, how, and why, I went about my business and cooked up a batch of Gwyneth’s Risotto and Greens, one of my favorite recipes from her book, and also one which closest resembles traditional comfort food.
Then, just days later, came the news that in true Gwyneth fashion, she had stuck her foot in her mouth when comparing the life of working mothers on set to regular old office workers:
“I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set,” Paltrow said.
Within hours an “open letter” was drafted, and the Internet was ablaze with fury over her remarks. My social media stream was one hate-filled rant after another. It wasn’t long before I got a few Facebook messages, an email here and there, asking my thoughts on her remarks. One reader asked if I was going to continue to support her considering her “hateful remarks.” My 84-year-old father-in-law even caught wind of her antics and declared her a moron.
There’s no need for me to write an article trying to explain, understand, or defend her remarks. She seems like a well-equipped woman who’s either confident enough to brush some nasty remarks aside or is so well meaning that she is naive as to how her comments could have been considered pretentious, obnoxious, or even out-of-touch. I will, however, continue to wholeheartedly and proudly write and Instagram under the name of Gwyneth Made Me Do It and recommend her cookbook to anyone interested in trying to eat better.
I’m often too flippant in crediting Gwyneth with “changing my life.” For the record, I changed my life in regards to the food choices I make for myself and my family, however, Gwyneth’s book was the catalyst to my change. Her book is co-authored by a very talented chef, Julia Turshen, and thanks to Gwyneth’s seemingly unlimited resources and influence, it is beautifully photographed, thoroughly researched, and well-edited, making the information contained within easy to understand and follow, and irresistible to admire. For all intents and purposes, the book landed in my hands at the right time when I was most open to change, and it all just clicked.
In many ways since I first browsed her book several months ago, I’ve moved on from Gwyneth. I now feel completely confident coming up with my own ways to make healthy meals for my family, and I have the culinary know-how to adapt traditional recipes to make them a smidge more nutritious. I may no longer open her cookbook on a daily basis, but I have found a whole host of other wonderful books and sites to reference, which offer me ideas and guidance in preparing real food in my home, for myself and my family. When I began being more open to change, I started researching more and delving into a whole other host of food issues and questions. Why is wild caught salmon better than farmed? Why should I be concerned about eating grass-fed, antibiotic-free meat? Do I really need to eat more veggies, and what’s all the hoopla with this green juice craze? For every action there is a reaction, and almost like a row of dominoes, It’s All Good set the scene for a whole sequence of life-changing events, in regards to food, to occur. At the end of the day, Gwyneth didn’t really make me do anything, but she certainly was a positive influence of change.
To date, her influence in my health journey has in turn helped inspire 7,000+ other people in their journey as well. I’m overcome with gratitude at the many emails and comments I have received that tell how my journey has encouraged and inspired others as well. Last week a friend wrote: “I thought of you this morning as we picked up our 1/4 cow straight from the farmer. Our freezer is stocked with hormone-free, grass-fed steaks, roasts, and burger. I might have to start a thread called ‘Andrea Made Me Do It’!”
The development that makes me the most proud and overwhelmed though, is that in part to my harassment and my mother’s diligent healthy cooking, my dad is now off his cholesterol medication for the first time in nine years, and he is no longer considered pre-diabetic. For the record, my mom and dad did all the heavy lifting when it comes to this remarkable health change, but because of what I’ve learned along this journey, I was able to provide my dad with a lot of well-researched, convincing information to help him believe that he could make huge strides with diet and exercise alone, and that he could live a life free of his meds. The day he called me to share the news of his most recent, and very positive, blood work results, I cried tears of joy and gratitude, and I could hear how proud — and shocked — he was.
For every action, there is a reaction.
What began as a very tongue-in-cheek, almost mocking documentation of a wayward health journey (in one of my earlier posts I wrote, “that crazy bitch actually got me to buy an organic chicken!”), has turned into a full-fledged lifestyle overhaul that has endeared me to Gwynnie in a way I never thought possible. So yes, I got a little defensive when the Internet came out in full force last week to hang her out to dry over one quote.
Did she say something stupid? Yes, but don’t we all at times?
Do we give other people, especially celebrities, too much power in determining how we view our lives and circumstances in comparison to theirs? Sadly, I think the answer is yes, again.
So she thinks her life is harder than someone else’s, but what does it really matter? Does Gwyneth’s views on working mothers and the pros and cons of set life really change your life at all? Do her comments change the important value you inherently have as a mother, provider, and caretaker? If we all convinced Gwyneth that she truly has it loads easier than the rest of us, does it in the end change our lives by any tiny measure? Absolutely not! And yet, we still find time to stew in our anger and write “open letters.”
In all honesty, last week was a good reminder to myself that I need to just keep my head focused on my own life and the lives’ of those I care about most. Pay no attention to whether Kim and Kanye are on the cover of Vogue, or if her sister is into attachment parenting. Give the Internet less power, give celebrities less power, and break away from the negativity and grumpiness we allow ourselves to so easily get wrapped up in, and make more ways for positive light to shine in, because goodness, don’t we need more positivity?
Gwyneth, sometimes girlfriend, you need to think before you speak. But I still like you and would swill green juice alongside you anytime, from the comfort of my teeny tiny home office.