Eat Like Gwyneth, Beyonce, and Madonna at Your Own Peril

Author Rebecca Harrington discovers that celebrity diets are as ridiculous as you think

Beyonce, Gwyneth, Madonna. How do they always look so fabulous? What exactly do they eat to maintain their trim figures? Author Rebecca Harrington delves into the gritty details in I’ll Have What She’s Having, a humorous look into celebrity dieting.

With an eye toward investigative and experiential journalism, Harrington mimics these obscure and even obscene meal plans in an attempt to understand and empathize with the pressures of the extremely famous.

Just how absurd are these diets? Let’s break it down.

Gwyneth Paltrow
Diet: Eliminate bread, deep-water fish, red meat, cow’s milk, and eggplant.
Result: Harrington’s time on the Goop founder’s plan goes surprisingly well: 10 days, four pounds lost. The hardest part is the expense–triple what the author usually pays, with items like an $11 jar of honey.

Elizabeth Taylor
Diet: Steak with peanut butter, dry toast, and a mix of cottage cheese and sour cream to be poured over fruit.
Result: Our intrepid reporter struggles mightily with both hunger and revulsion on the La Liz diet. She manages to lose six pounds, mostly by choosing not to eat at all.

Karl Lagerfeld
Diet: Up to 10 Diet Cokes a day, quail flambé (“mostly talons”), veal with plums, boiled egg, and toast.
Result: Sheer frustration arises from the limited options and the manic jitters that come with drinking so much soda. Abandoned after four days.

Marilyn Monroe
Diet: Two raw eggs whipped in warm milk, broiled liver, five carrots, hot fudge sundae.
Result: Harrington takes to the milk concoction but can’t bear the liver. Of course, the sundae part of the diet, while unorthodox, goes down quite easily.

Diet: Punishingly vegan with an emphasis on macrobiotic. Sea vegetables, tofu tartar sauce, and sauerkraut are encouraged.
Result: The author lasts 10 whole days and celebrates with some fried chicken.

Diet: Master cleanse. This extreme plan eliminates food. The drink consists of a sort of lemonade made up of cayenne pepper, lemon, and grade-B maple syrup mixed with water. Also, a salt water flush–a drink of salted water. That’s it.
Result: Four pounds lost after four days. Harrington celebrates with a cheat day of pizza and wine.

In the end, veteran dieter Harrington keeps her wits and, as it turns out, her pounds: “I weigh exactly the same as I did when I first started dieting. Every time I would diet I usually lost weight, but I almost immediately gained the weight back after eating one slice of pizza.”