What is an almond mum and why is Gwyneth Paltrow being called one?

The actress and Goop founder has come under fire again for her lifestyle habits

Gwyneth Paltrow says her diet aims to control the high levels of inflammation she's suffering from as a result of long Covid. Photographer: Lauren Justice / Bloomberg
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Gwyneth Paltrow has sparked a lifestyle debate again, this time for her diet.

The Oscar-winning actress and founder of lifestyle site Goop recently made headlines after she shared her wellness routine, including what she ate in a day, leading some to brand her eating habits "restrictive".

Appearing on The Art of Being Well podcast, Paltrow, 50, told host Will Cole, a doctor in natural medicine, that she does intermittent fasting.

"I usually eat something about 12. And in the morning, I’ll have some things that won’t spike my blood sugar. So, I have coffee," she says in a video that was widely shared on TikTok.

For lunch, she says she often eats soup, namely bone broth. This is followed by dinner, which consists of "lots of vegetables" at around 6pm, before she fasts again until midday the next day.

"For dinner, I try to eat according to paleo. So lots of vegetables. It's really important for me to support my detox," she says.

Paltrow also said she tries to incorporate an hour of movement, whether a walk or Pilates followed by time in the sauna for 30 minutes.

The video, which has been viewed more than three million times, sparked heated debate, with some users calling out Paltrow for "promoting starving".


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One user called the mother-of-two "the mother of all almond mums".

While its origin is unclear, an almond mum is a popular term on social media, used to describe a parent whose mindset around wellness is linked to diet culture — specifically, mums who encourage their others to eat a handful of almonds rather than a meal to tide over hunger.

Plus-sized model Tess Holliday, who has openly discussed her battle with anorexia, expressed concern about the implications of the video.

"This isn't normal and it's affecting a whole generation of young folks who think that eating like Gwyneth Paltrow is okay," she says in her own reaction video.

Paltrow's response

At the weekend, Paltrow responded to the backlash with a video posted on her Instagram Stories, reassuring her followers that she eats far more than only bone broth and vegetables.

She said she designed the diet with her doctor to control the high levels of inflammation she's suffering from as a result of long Covid, adding that she also eats cooked vegetables, all types of protein, healthy carbohydrates and occasionally indulges in French fries.

"This was a transparent look at a conversation between me and my doctor. It's not meant to be advice for anybody else," she said. "It's really just what has worked for me, and it's been very powerful and very positive. This is not to say that I eat this way all day every day."

Since she launched Goop in 2008, Paltrow and her company have been the subject of a number of controversies.

In 2018, Goop was fined $145,000 (Dh532,000) for its "unsubstantiated marketing claims" when it said that an egg-shaped jade would improve women's hormonal imbalances.

The site also famously sold "healing" stickers that it claimed were made from the same material as Nasa spacesuits. Mark Shelhamer, a former chief human research scientist at Nasa, called the product "nonsense".

In 2001, Paltrow was criticised by dermatologists when she shared her tips on how to apply sunscreen for Vogue.

“I am not a head-to-toe slatherer of sunscreen," Paltrow says in the video, proceeding to apply sunscreen only on her nose, cheeks, upper lip and chin — or according to her, "the area where the sun really hits."

One dermatologist told USA Today, the actress was sending a "very dangerous message."

Updated: March 20, 2023, 7:13 AM