I went to the GOOP Health event in New York because I know you wanted me to go. Think if it as repayment for every post of mine you liked or shared.
I was on the fence about it, but my friend Dara Kass (also a doctor) convinced me to check it out. She said she would be my second and dangled a free place to stay in New York, so I volunteered as tribute.
I didn’t advertise I was going and I’ve been a little quieter on social media this week as I didn’t want people to realize I was in New York and put two and two together. The detective work that my Twitter collective can produce is mind-boggling.
I was initially worried they wouldn’t let me register, but some quick homework told me they had offloaded registration to a 3rd party so I thought it highly unlikely there was a no fly list. I did consider that I was just full of myself and they just didn’t care about me attending, however, along the way I received a tip that the GOOPsters hate me more than gluten, cow’s milk, and McChemicals combined so I think they just never thought I would go. Knowing that and managing to get in made it worth every penny.
I registered under my own name and even spoke with lots of people who work at GOOP, some very high up. At one point I was less than 6 feet from Gwyneth herself. No one recognized me with the exception of someone who follows me on Twitter (I’m sorry I forgot your name, it was a long day!) who approached when it was all over to ask if I was Jen Gunter and to tell me she liked my writing. Thank you!
The start of the day was very Hunger Games. I felt as if I was walking up to an arena. They gave us fancy slippers and almost everyone put them on except me. If shit got real cult-wise or they tried to throw me out I wanted to be able to run. Katniss would never give up her shoes.
The event hall was filled with beauty treatments sold as wellness as if a scent or facial cupping could do anything except make you smell or swell. There were B12 injections from an anesthesiologist who looked like an understudy for the show The Doctors. He is apparently both an osteopathic and a medical doctor. Yes, he went to medical school twice. We asked. I watched him give an injection without gloves. Gloves are not required for injections, but it grossed me out although not as much as the long line of women waiting to pull down their yoga pants and receive a vitamin shot without giving a history or having a physical exam. I spoke with one person who said they were not asked to sign a consent. There was no fucking way I was getting an injection. I’ve read The Stepford Wives.
There were non toxic manicures that smelled as bad as regular manicures, some weird facial station that involved a mask that looked like an early prototype from Phantom of the Opera, and Sonic Womb music.
I know. I can’t even.
I circulated around the stations eating tiny and surprisingly bland potions of chia pudding and avocado toast with over cooked eggs. There was a drink that tasted like the inside of a spa. If you actually rinsed down a spa and put the effluent into bottles this is what it would taste like. There was also charcoal lemonade. It tasted like lemonade. The guy handing it out said it was good for “toxins.” I explained that charcoal was an antidote for poisoning and that it did not bind toxins and that I was toxin free. He didn’t care. At “In GOOP Health” the truth is irrelevant and words are meaningless.
The coffee was good. No enemas though.
The actual content started at 10 a.m. GP (her formal name, no one calls her Gwyneth) was the mistress of ceremonies and for such a seasoned actress she said “um” a lot. She looked fine, but up close she looks her age so there is no magic in GOOP skin care products. The glowing twenty-something skin on the magazine covers is just the power of Photoshop.
There was an intensely boring 15 minute meditation session where “binaural” music, which sounds like Dory from Finding Nemo speaking whale but played backwards, helped everyone’s inner self travel to the center of the earth and back. Mine scrolled Twitter. I was thinking of that Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated episode where music turns Velma and the gang into placid teen Zombies, but as dogs hear different frequencies Scooby remained clear-headed and was able to save the day. I wanted to stay alert and be everyone’s Scooby Doo.
Then the fucking carnival rolled into town. There were back to back sessions where we learned that death IS NOT REAL. And it’s great. Laura Lynn Jackson, a “research medium” (see, words don’t matter), told us how she worked with clients to connect them with their loved ones. She strolled the crowd and her spiritual guide, who I assume is named Cash Only, helped her select three random women (the first was related to a GOOP employee, color me shocked).
Here are the questions the “research medium” asked to prove she was making a connection with relatives from the other side:
Do you have a plant?
Did you dad know anyone in the military or have a military connection?
Does your name or the name of someone you know have an L or an M?
Do you have a dog?
Do you have a cat?
Was your dad a bad communicator?
Do you like shoes?
Do you have a website?
Have your recently bought a purse or thought about buying purse?
We were in a room full of women with an average age of 40 who could all afford at least a $650 ticket for a shit show of nothing. Of course these questions will ring true as they are an exact description of the phenotype of GOOP attendees. L and M are also two of the most common letters. This was pure Barnum.
The “research medium” then took the stage with a neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander, who died and came back to sell books about heaven, Dr Jay Lombard, a neurologist who could barely get a word in because Alexander loves the sound of his own voice, and Bryce Dallas Howard.
Dr. Eben Alexander wrote Proof of Heaven and claims he was dead and saw heaven with his dead brain. Shockingly there are some holes in his story. In reality he did not die he had delirium and a medically induced coma, both of which can give vivid dreams and hallucinations. Yes, he was sick and had a great recovery but he did not die and he did not see heaven.
This fascination with death was 50% of the day and not in a productive “lets talk about how we die in America” kind of way, but in death is trip reserved for the privileged, like a cross between the movie Flatliners and cultures that believed in human sacrifice where the class born to be sacrificed were brought up to believe death is a goal and an honor. Monetizing death in this way is clearly profitable. The message seems to be I know you are afraid of dying so read my book or cross my palm with cash and I will share with you secrets about death that no one else can.
Either the neurosurgeon or neurologist told us that science says reincarnation is real as some university (maybe in Tennessee?) has tracked and verified 50 cases! Wow. I missed “Proof of reincarnation, a longitudinal study” when it was in The New England Journal of Medicine. At times I could not distinguish between the words of the neurosurgeon, the neurologist, or the “research medium,” but I guess it doesn’t matter as they all agreed with each other. Some things they said include the following:
The brain is a filter that gets in the way of primordial consciousness.
We don’t need evidence based medicine if we have experiences.
God has pure healing energy.
Consciousness is not a noun it is a verb.
The voice in your head is not your consciousness it is a parlor trick.
We turn into light energy when we die.
Language reduces experience. (I almost fell off my chair, WORDS DON’T MATTER).
We can trust the universe as long as we live in love.
The placebo effect is getting stronger over time, this scares Big Pharma.
Spontaneous healing from cancer and infections can happen with love.
A deep spiritual journey can cure anything.
The person sitting next to you at any time was sent there by the universe so trust that.
Oh, and school shootings happen because the kids who did the shooting were “disconnected from cords of love.” That’s right, if your child commits a terrible crime it is not because they were depressed or had impulse control issues and access to guns it is because they did not receive enough love.
God and nature were used as it suited and twisted to each purpose. God cures. Nature heals. They are different, but the same. I decided to combine God and nature to make Goture. I mean, why not? At one point I actually wrote, WORDS DON’T MATTER.
Next up the diet talk. Dr. Sara Gottfried, an OB/GYN who sells supplements even though ACOG says that is not ethical, Dr. Taz Bjatia, a doctor (originally a pediatrician I think) who says vaccines caused her brilliant child’s reflux to become severe within 24 hours and is a functional medicine expert and is proud of appearing on Dr. Oz, Shira Lenchewski who is a dietician, and Deanna Minich who is a functional nutritionist and has a Ph.D. in Human Nutrition and Metabolism.
Everyone had a book to sell. The session could be summarized as “buy my book.”
Dr. Gottfried’s secret to weight loss is apparently intermittent fasting that she defined for us as GOING FOUR HOURS BETWEEN MEALS, SOMETIMES EIGHT.
At this point I was frantically looking around. Everyone knows this is a cult right?
Gottfried has dinner early at 4 p.m. because despite her natural diet and supplements she is like an old person, but then she is hungry and has to eat again at 8 p.m or 10 p.m. Has no one told Dr. Gottfried this phenomenon is called meals?
WORDS DON’T MATTER.
One of the dietitians wanted us to eat the rainbow (not Skittles though) and if we eat more colorful foods we will shed our black yoga pants and dress more colorfully. It was at 12:12 that the first piece of real health advice appeared. Sleep more. Really. No advice how to do that just, you know, sleep more.
Other weight loss advice was orgasms (ha ha) and to get your chakras tested because you might have a “solar plexus deficiency.” And “we should eat like animals in the wild.” And sitting makes you “fat and dumb.” And God, you need a better relationship with God and nature or both God and nature. Or Goture.
Dr. Gottfried is also alarmingly fragile. Maybe she should be rethinking what she eats and that incredible fasting regimen? Traveling to New York made her 67% stressed. She has a stress meter to test her stress level. No I did not make that up. Apparently she travels with this technical sounding special machine that tests the balance of her sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
People seemed to eat it up. I sprained my neck rolling my eyes.
I. Got. Nothing.
Then we had a two-hour break during which time the people who forked over $2,000 could have lunch with GP and special guests. The lunch for the GOOP proletariat was slightly less disgusting than breakfast, but honestly it all tasted the same. Eating like GP sucks the big one.
After lunch we started with a couples therapy session and the therapist, Terry Real, was quite engaging and provided us with something that had been missing all damn day, common sense. A married couple took to the stage to talk about their communication issues with Terry and GP in front of a room full of strangers and it was the least fucked up thing we heard all day. He never mentioned God or nature or Goture once. Thank you Terry.
During this session GP somehow mentioned blow jobs as a “reward” for your man and there was much giggling. The insinuation I guess that you should offer treats that nice girls don’t normally do to your sexual partner as a reward for good behavior in the same way that you give special kibble to your dog when he doesn’t bark even if it is disgusting that you get slobber on your hands or in this case semen in your mouth.
That is fucked up.
If you don’t like giving blow jobs don’t give them. If you don’t like them but pleasing your partner matters because he does things for you that he may not like that is called a relationship, don’t make him beg (unless of course that is part of your kink).
Then the worst person of the day emerged, Anita Moorjani. She told everyone that she died from lymphoma and her brain was dead, like dead, dead, dead. Rotting, mush dead. And yet she was conscious and decided to heal herself. She was once healthy and even took supplements and yet she got cancer (supplements increase your risk of cancer, by the way). However, Anita Moorjani got cancer because she feared cancer! Then her dead, dead, dead brain figured it out and she came back from that beautiful place to pass on the message that fear kills and love saves. She told us the following:
If you follow your passion life takes care of itself.
Your body is smart, it will heal naturally.
It is easier being dead than alive.
When children pass away it is because they chose to come as a gift and then leave. If they leave sooner that you as a parent would like, well, that was the gift the universe thought was right for you.
You can heal cancer with love.
You get sick because your life is not going in the right direction and you are not living enough and are fearful.
Moorjani wants us to believe that love from her dead brain cured the lymphoma that she had refused to treat for over three years (she didn’t mention the part about turning down conventional therapy). She was admitted to the ICU when she was dead, dead, dead (she wasn’t medically dead, she was in a coma) and funny enough she didn’t tell us about the chemotherapy she received. Small plot point, don’t cha think?
Yes her recovery was remarkable, but some lymphomas are also very chemo sensitive.
Moorjani coughed throughout her chat. Yes, her dead, dead, dead brain could cure her cancer with love yet her alive brain could not cure her cough.
Goture works in mysterious ways.
Next up the psychiatrists. I was so here for this because I wanted to see an AIDS denialist, i.e. Dr. Kelly Brogan, in real life. The other two psychiatrists were fine, minimal woo and yes, they use meds. But Kelly AIDS-is-a-construct-of-big-Pharma Brogan never, ever uses medications. She can cure everyone without drugs. She didn’t tell us that she charges >$4,000 for the first 3 hours and her screening questionnaire is designed to rule out everyone who might actually need medications for anything. It is very easy to treat people who don’t need medications who are very healthy and then claim you have a special skill.
Dr. Brogan doesn’t believe serotonin is involved in depression. It’s like alcohol, she told us. Drinking reduces anxiety but that don’t mean you have an alcohol deficiency. Well of course not, but she also conveniently left out the part where alcohol isn’t a neurotransmitter made by our brain and serotonin is.
Someone, I couldn’t tell if it was Brogan or Elise Loehnen the Chief Content Officer of GOOP who was moderating the session, thought it was cool that they met a woman who almost died in childbirth and that was cool because she was willing to die for her beliefs. You have to respect that, was the implication.
The final lecture was the celebrities. Yeah women! We have to support each other! GP mispronounced Gillian Flynn’s name and still can’t believe Chelsea Handler doesn’t want kids. For all of GP’s wokeness she seems very stuck on a traditional patriarchal view of women and especially of being “feminine.” This was woo free and Drew Barrymore, Elaine Welteroth, and Chelsea Handler were engaging speakers, but it was not revelatory in any way and frankly was boring. It had such potential. I managed 45 minutes of it and then I had to leave and I was not the only one.
GP referenced a passage in Flynn’s book, Gone Girl, about being the “cool girl” and how that spoke to her. After the full day of GP’s vision come to life I was left thinking that GP still wants to be the cool girl. For all her supposed don’t give a fuck bravado she seems desperate to be thought of as edgy and the rebel niche that has spoken to her is being “out there” health wise. It also makes a lot of money. I guess GOOP wellness is GP’s version of sitting on the school steps and smoking and selling cigarettes at one hell of a mark up. Science is the girl who points out that smoking causes cancer and who doesn’t peak in high school.
I’ve never been to such a dull conference. There was nothing constructive. This was not the place or space to find even three things to do or change heath wise. It was a place to come and steep in the cult of GP and to be told that death is cool and that love cures everything. That cool, edgy wellness means a woman should trust her body to cure itself because science doesn’t know shit and experience is all you need. That God/nature/Goture has a plan and even if that includes some creepy dude sitting next to you telling you to smile, it’s all good because the Universe wants him there. And if your kid gets sick or you get cancer, well, I guess you just didn’t love enough.
My son who lived three minutes and my son with heart disease and my son with thyroid disease well, apparently neither they nor I loved enough? How a fetus might love wasn’t discussed. Or God hates us. Or Nature. You can’t say there is a grand Goture plan and love cures all and then not assign a love deficit as a fault for illness. Words might not matter to GOOP and GP and her traveling side-show but they matter to me.
I’ve been to many terrible medical conferences with soul sucking black holes as speakers. If I hadn’t been so enraged at the messages that a child dies because of insufficient love and that loves cures cancer I would have fallen asleep. I also wanted to see it through. Now I know the truth of “In GOOP Health” and it is ugly.
After 10 hours of bad food, uncomfortable chairs, and parlor tricks it was over. The swag bag was filled with tons of face creams and serums that I will never use because what I am doing is apparently working better than what GP does. The sunglasses are nice though. The backpack looks cheap, but Twitter tells me it is expensive so that makes me like it a little more.
On the way out I noticed the vegetables were dying.
They must not have received enough love.