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First up is avocado toast, which Gwyneth compares to "a favorite pair of jeans." (I’m guessing those are $450 jeans.) The star ingredient, besides the avocado, is Vegenaise, which she says she "can't live without." What is this miracle product? For lack of a better word, it's goop. Made of oil, apple cider vinegar, brown rice syrup, soy protein, salt, lemon juice and mustard, it has almost the same nutritional value (calories and saturated fat) as real mayo, along with a similar consistency. She claims to avoid processed foods, but Vegenaise seems kinda like Frankenfood to me. On the plus side, the Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free bread I bought (I couldn't find any of the GP-recommended gluten-free bread brands) didn't taste like cardboard.
Apparently, Gwyneth's kids are allergic to everything, including gluten and dairy. (Like being named Apple and Moses isn't bad enough.) So she includes a family-friendly menu in the book, which features her Best Gluten-Free Fish Fingers. Since battered and deep-fried fish is "a no-no for this book on many levels," these are dipped in Vegenaise and mustard, coated with gluten-free cornmeal bread crumbs and baked. I definitely missed the crunch of traditional fish sticks (mine looked more like blobs), but they weren't lacking in flavor.
Only Gwyneth could make a salad stressful. Am I really going to cook and peel beets? No. I don't want to stain my striped Breton top. As for her Power Chopped Salad recipe, it proves to be pretty standard fare (romaine, arugula, chickpeas, beets, hard-boiled eggs) with a homemade creamy parsley dressing that includes Vegenaise (is it possible to overdose on this stuff?) and the sugar substitute Xylitol (good luck finding it; I used Stevia). But if I'm using Vegenaise because it's vegan, then why am I adding a hard-boiled egg to my salad? Riddle me that, Gwyneth.
Let me tell you, these buckwheat and banana pancakes ain't nothing like your good ol' diner variety. The murky brown color of the batter (thanks to the buckwheat flour) is a little disconcerting. I kept thinking, "Is that what it should look like?" There aren't any photos of the in-progress and/or finished pancakes in the cookbook, just shots of Gwynnie looking wistful in a field. Super helpful. The verdict: They taste like healthy pancakes -- that's the only way I can describe 'em. But maple syrup makes everything better. We don't have to tell her that, though.
Okay, Gwyneth's not a total sadist. You are allowed to eat pasta -- brown rice pasta (wah wah). It's less hearty than regular pasta, and should be paired with lighter sauces, she explains. You definitely couldn't put a meatball on top of these noodles, that's for sure. Her recipe with tuna, olives and fried capers comes courtesy of Gwyneth's buddy and Gwen Stefani's hubby Gavin Rossdale. Seriously, he could cook me a pig's snout and I would say yum.
I tried my hardest to avoid cheese, cow's milk, butter, refined flour and rice. But of course, I cheated a little. I mean, those Frosted Flakes weren't going to eat themselves. Plus, it's impractical and pricey (the groceries cost more than I'm getting paid to write this!) to follow this diet 24/7. I may trade in my Greek yogurt for goat's milk yogurt and whole wheat bread for gluten-free, but Gwyneth can keep her Vegenaise.