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Ex-Goop exec decries “toxic” wellness culture—while promoting a cleanse

Screenshot from Netflix series the goop lab with Gwyneth Paltrow.
Enlarge / Paltrow and Loehnen sit in Goop’s headquarters for an interview.


A former high-profile executive at Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle and wellness brand, Goop, has publicly denounced the brand’s “wellness culture” as “toxic”—but only for the purpose of promoting a different wellness brands’ products.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Goop’s former chief content officer, Elise Loehnen, said that when she left the company in October of 2020 she vowed to never again do another cleanse. “I needed to break a tendency to be critical and punishing. To chastise myself. All of it. I stopped weighing myself completely,” she wrote alongside a brief video.

Generally, cleanses are gimmicky, short-term diets that require adherents to follow restrictive regimens in a misguided effort to “reset” their body and/or clear out toxic material that has allegedly accumulated in the recesses of their innards somehow. All of this is necessary, of course, to rectify a person’s current diet and lifestyle choices, which are most certainly noxious and deplorable.

As Ars has noted previously, cleanses and “detoxes” are unnecessary as long as your kidney and liver are functioning properly—and you haven’t been heavily poisoned recently.

For nearly 7 years, Loehnen bought into Goop’s cleanse-happy wellness exploits. As CCO, she was the second-in-command at Goop, often appearing at Gwyneth Paltrow’s side and co-hosting the brand’s Netflix series the goop lab. When she stepped down from the role in 2020 to write a book, Paltrow said in a statement that she is “like a sister to me, and I plan to watch proudly as she enters this monumental stage in her professional life.”

But, in her Instagram post this week, Loehnen now tells her followers that her time at Goop left her feeling like she was “not in a healthy relationship with my body” and had a “distorted” take on her health. Since leaving the company, he has been eating “like a teenager… and enjoying it.”  She recounted a recent conversation with a friend, who reminded her “that wellness culture can be toxic.”

But, according to that friend, eating like a teenager is also toxic. Therefore, Loehnen underwent  a five-day cleanse involving “broths, smoothies, and lattes” from a different wellness brand, which she reports was “actually really excellent.” Though she broke her post-Goop vow, she still asserted: “I refuse to punish myself with food.”

It’s unclear how Paltrow feels about her former side-kick speaking ill of Goop’s wellness culture. However, an anonymous source with “knowledge of the situation” told BuzzFeed News that when Loehnen departed Goop back in 2020, it wasn’t actually because she resigned to work on her book. According to the source, Goop executives had become aware of complaints that Loehnen was a “toxic manager,” suggesting that her departure itself was a type of punishing cleanse.

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