First The New York Daily News, and then Slashfood, unfairly blasted Gwyneth Paltrow for reportedly showing disgust and sneering, "Who eats this stuff?" when spotting a box of Lipton’s Cup-a-Soup on the set of "Dealbreakers," a short film she just finished directing.
This is entertainment news? Talk about a ridiculous, uncalled-for non-story! Simply stupid gossip.
Wait, there’s more.
Lloyd Grove of the Daily News dished more unnecessary dirt and jumped to an outrageous conclusion, "…it sounds like she can’t resist trying to control the food intake of perfect strangers."
Oh, give me a break.
The columnist then writes that when a production staffer admitted that his kids love the processed, additives-filled soup, Paltrow — who follows a macrobiotic diet — reportedly retorted, "I would rather die than let my kid eat Cup-a-Soup."
Can’t say I blame Gwyneth for trying to set the guy straight.
Interestingly, while we read these quotes from the actress, we never learn the source of these alleged comments. So we’re talking silly hearsay.
But let’s just say that the media account was true. Let’s assume that the Academy Award-winning actress wasn’t exactly empathetic to the junk-food-reliant folks around her, but to say the actress that gets "irrationally dramatic around convenience foods," as Slashfood put it, is simply overstating it.
The remark also reveals a supreme ignorance on the part of the reporter.
OK, now let’s take a look at the object of Paltrow’s aversion:
The list of ingredients gets even more scary. Among others, it contains maltodextrin, modified corn starch, enriched egg noodles, sugar, monosodium glutamate and yeast extract.
Can you blame Paltrow for her "eeww, not-for-my-child" reaction?
So we’re talking about a processed, sodium-packed, simple carb soup, complete with all sorts of chemicals, including the much-maligned and feared MSG. Can you really call this food?
Wait, if you meander around the the Cup-a-Soup website — which invites readers’ comments — you’ll see that it basically tells you that this processed, MSG-containing food is the perfect antidote to the 3 p.m. slump.
Here’s the website’s sales copy:
"Beating the 3PM Slump never tasted so good! From exotic Spicy Thai Chicken to classic tomato with Croutons,Lipton® Cup-a-Soup® has 7 great varieties designed to help you bump the 3PM Slump and help you sail through your busy afternoon. Which will be your favorite? Try them all!"
Experts, I’m sure, would argue that the company has no right to call the website "A step-by-step guide to diagnosing, treating and preventing the 3PM Slump."
Sure, if you eat it, you could get a blood sugar rise, but as nutritionists and doctors tell us, this spurt will probably be swiftly followed by another slump.
But let’s get back to Paltrow. Sure, she was a little heated in her reaction, but she made sense. I completely agree with her sentiments.
Perhaps one could call Paltrow a little fanatical about her desire for quality foods. Big deal. (Hey, others might use the same word to describe me, too.)
But these silly scribblings from the columnists make them sound like they’re even more fanatical in their defense of junk food such as Cup-a-Soup! (It sounds like she hit a sore spot with them.)
Besides, Paltrow’s annoyed comments really do make sense. I’ve been around movie sets (covering stories), and I’m telling you, they are simply teeming with junk food — it’s rough to find nutritious foods there.
But what’s with these junk-food-obsessed columnists?
A few months ago, Paltrow was quoted by another reporter, from London’s Evening Standard as saying that she would understand if her baby Apple (with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin) "doesn’t want to be vegetarian or …wants to eat hydrogenated oils and fairy cakes [cupcakes] at birthday parties, that’s fine. I’m not going to be a controlling, overprotective hippie."
The Paltrow-Cup-a-Soup incident illustrates that those of us who are nutrition savvy like Paltrow need to tread very lightly when we spurn simple carbs and sweets in front of junk-food hooked, non-believers, even if we have legitimate reasons to avoid these foods such as being hypoglycemic or diabetic.
We need to be sensitive to the fact that inevitably, many, if not most, people around us are "sugar addicts" or "junk food addicts," who might even feel enslaved to their habit.
The best way to educate and get through to people, I’ve found, is through compassion and sensitivity — it generally won’t work to take a diehard, I’m-right-you’re-wrong, take-no-prisoners approach — which seems to be the tactic Paltrow used (if the media report is accurate).
Simply put, folks addicted to sugar or other quickie carbs usually do not want to hear their treasured foods badmouthed. (I can attest to this!)
What’s more, we must to be careful about who we approach with this anti-junk food stance.
Finally, we should graciously, carefully educate our kids so they can make informed food decisions that enhance their health instead of harm it.
But ultimately, it’s up to folks to educate themselves about the dangers of junk food. Hey, kicking these quickie-carb concoctions isn’t easy. But it can be done. (For help, join my free, online KickSugar support group.
All said and done, I think Paltrow should be praised, not criticized for her (alleged) comments. Good for you for standing up for your very right beliefs and for trying to get through to these thick-headed folks around us. Perhaps, next time, you could bring some of your macrobiotic goodies to the movie set and share them with your film crew — that might be a way to sway them over to your point of view.