Beth Schatz Kaylor


(Associated Press)

You know GOOP. The Gwyneth Paltrow version of digital trail mix at I saw Ms. Paltrow's new cookbook, "It's All Good," at the library. I knew it was all about clean eating, which is fine by me, and I checked it out to browse through it. I flipped to the back of the book where there were suggested week-long menu plans and decided to GOOP for one day.

This is my story of survival.

I love cookbooks like other women love clothes. For me, browsing through a cookbook and trying a few recipes is like trying on a new dress -- perhaps a simple sundress, perhaps the perfect little black dress for an evening out, but slipping into a mood, even a persona, and seeing what it feels like. Much like music lovers advocate for the entire album experience instead of individual tracks, I prefer a cookbook over Pinterest recipes, simply because I want the feel and experience what the author brings to the table. I read the cookbook intros. 'Nuff said.

But Gwyneth's book didn't do much for me. It's a good concept, all no-cow-dairy, no-gluten, no-white-flour, no-white-sugar, no-processed-anything recipes for those times you want to rebalance. But it's all very meh, perhaps because there are just as many photos of Gwyneth's legs as there are of food.

Hey look, it's Gwyn's legs making avocado toast.

Hey look, it's Gwyn's legs holding free-range farm eggs.

Hey look, it's Gwyn's legs with the cookbook co-author, who are of course best of friends.

Setting the idea of Gwyn's ever-present legs aside, I started my GOOP day with breakfast, 7 a.m.: Green juice, avocado toast with mayo.

I dig green juices, so this wasn't a big deal for me. Apple, kale, ginger, lemon -- tart but still sippable. However, Strike 1: I used real mayo on my toast. According to the book, I was supposed to use Veganaise, but the only jar at my local grocery store was set to expire in two weeks, and I wasn't about to spend $7 on a jar of vegan mayo without a reasonable shelf life. I'm not a natural avocado lover, though, so although I love the idea of avocado toast, it was all a bit gaggy for me.

Morning snack, 10 a.m.: Oh sorry, you don't get one.

I love my second breakfasts. LOVE. I usually have a cup of coffee and a sweet carby something like a small cookie, but this time I settled for a cup of fennel tea and carby nothing. Not having something to sustain me between breakfast and lunch did not put Gwyn in my good graces.

Lunch, noon: Turkey burger (bunless) with cucumber yogurt sauce, beet salad with (more) avocado

With a hunter in the house, I almost never purchase meat at a grocery store, so it was weird buying a pound of turkey burger with its Styrofoam and plastic container and oddly geometric, perfect-rectangle meat shape. The turkey burgers turned out decent, although the pomegranate seeds were my own addition (Shh, don't tell). The beet and avocado salad, however, was screaming for goat cheese. In fact, the day after I had leftover beet salad and covered it in goat cheese and called it dinner. Avocado, as lovely as it is, is not goat cheese.

Snack, 3 p.m.: Carrots and green goddess dip. The dip was too watery. And at this point, I was getting cranky.

Dinner, 6 p.m.: Asian-sauced partridge with Korean slaw and some corn stuff "Mom, why do you look so grumpy?"

Officially, my partridge was supposed to be free-range chicken, but I had fresh partridge from the weekend's bird hunt, putting my own Midwest spin on California clean cuisine. Also, the corn was supposed to be corn on the cob, but it was out of season. The flavors for dinner were good -- I'd actually use the Asian sauce for birds again -- but I didn't follow any of the instructions correctly. The bird was supposed to marinate overnight and then I was supposed to do some complicated cooking method that involved two pans, the stovetop and the oven. I just cooked it in a pot on the stovetop -- very un-GOOP-like. I was supposed to spread Veganaise over corn on the cob, so I substituted by putting a spoonful of mayo in the corn kernels, which wasn't super tasty.

The next day I was starving, of course, and ended up eating twice what I usually would. Something I'm sure Gwyn's legs would never do.

Beth Schatz Kaylor is a communications professional and freelance writer. She blogs about her North Dakota kitchen at