Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.
GOOP happens. And now I’m searching for the nearest GOOP-er scooper, because I think it’s time to say GOOP-Riddance. To GOOP. And in case I wasn’t clear enough, I’m referring to the lifestyle brand that’s gaining in its popularity, also known as GOOP. Allow me to elaborate.
I clicked on my Facebook feed just a few days ago to find a friend’s enigmatic post:
“We’re in,” she wrote.
I didn’t know what ER physician Dr. Dara Kass meant by it, but I scrolled leisurely past. If I had a Bitcoin for every mysterious social media post I couldn’t decipher, I’d be a virtual millionaire.
Fast forward to later that same afternoon, when I found my friend back at it, this time grinning under a photo. I knew what she was up to the second I saw it — her and a friend, arm in arm against the backdrop of a veggie wall. (I happen to love that, FYI . Yours truly is pro-veggies, big time.)
If the words hadn’t given it away (“In Goop Health” was written across the background in bold white lettering ) then their ear-to-ear grins and visible excitement, palpable through the static screen, did the trick. They were at the GOOP convention, AKA, the star-studded lineup of Hollywood greats who, in following with the growing trend of using fame to promote products that have no scientific backing, were doing exactly that.
Seeing It ‘Once or Twice’ On My Newsfeed
I, like many of you, knew exactly what GOOP was, because I had seen the words appear on my newsfeed not once, not twice, but more like each and every day — shared by friends, liked by many. With a name like Gwyneth Paltrow behind it, it could only be destined to make a splash. And clearly it had. Because people not only bought tickets this past weekend; they paid premium prices for those sold-out seats.
My real laugh came at the caption to my friend’s photo, in which it stated, in powerful succinctness, “There is so much to digest. Am sure much will be written.” I held my breath upon reading this, as I feared she had actually ingested something of toxic nature from this convention of uber-important medical reasoning. But then I snapped out of it, reminding myself that it was THE Gwyneth Paltrow herself who had curated the afternoon, so I felt confident that all material had been delivered on good scientific standing.
Indeed, following their undercover mission, much was written. Dr. Jen Gunter — a board-certified OB/Gyn and long-standing villain to GOOP — wrote her usual hilarious take on the afternoon and gave a chillingly lengthy account of the day she spent there, wide-eyed and confused . I surely hope that her inclusion in this highly-regarded event (worthy of, at the minimum, a $650 entrance fee) allows her to earn points towards physicians’ required CME credit . I’m positive ‘Dr. Paltrow’ can pull some strings and give that a go, if she wanted to— especially given her inherent fame.
Back to ‘seriousness’, I do have an idea that would quite possibly restore just a bit of semblance and logic back into our hands, and it’s actually quite simple. I’ve titled my newly minted idea: Time to Say GOOP-Bye (to Pseudoscience).
But we need more than just telling it goodbye. We need to clean up the mess it’s created. To re-wire people’s thinking and, again, explain why science wins. The goop has gotten everywhere. What’s left of our good ol’ evidence-based medicine is one big slimy mess. Gunk. Goop.
My Vision: The Clean-Up Effort
How would I accomplish the arduous task of cleaning up this mess?
With star power, that’s how! (That’s how we sell science these days, don’cha know?)
I’d showcase other “similarly-qualified” individuals like Paltrow, who wouldn’t be worried about speaking out against her word. I’d cleverly couple name-recognition with ailments, possibly using the likes of:
Tom Hanks, lecturing on diabetes. But I’d have him give a talk with real substance, like dietary changes resulting from cutting out carbs and refined sugars, and that lowering hemoglobin A1C is the ultimate goal.
Angelina Jolie, speaking on the BRCA mutation and how prophylactically getting a mastectomy helped cut down her own breast cancer risk. No, that diet alone would likely not cure anyone of their cancerous growths, but it may increase their chances of fighting by decreasing inflammation in their bodies.
Gigi Hadid, touching on Hashimoto’s and how treating with meds actually makes one feel better. And that it’s usually tracked by one simple test, not ten.
The Best Part
Here’s the best part, I would only use Hollywood’s finest — I mean the absolute best A-listers money…er, I could find. Because these days, that’s who everyone listens to. I’d try for Steven Spielberg. You think he’d take my call? Or Adam Sandler. He could do an impression or a song. Jerry Seinfeld and I could grab a coffee while riding cars, and maybe Larry David could join along, too. We’d laugh and laugh. And — ooh, ooh — Ellen DeGeneres. The mere mention of her name makes me weak at the knees! My list would be so, so long and, I know — so, so unrealistic.
I promise, we’d still offer facials. I’d concoct a new one, like with seaweed and pebbles — grind it up, tell everyone it has the power to exfoliate the soul. And smoothie creations with gold dust sprinkled on top, for an extra small (ish) charge. Maybe even enemas! Yes, enemas — except we’d give them out to the truly constipated — the ones who failed the first line treatments. (No? Too close to evidence-based comfort?)
But do you know what the twist would be? And this is where things get real, so brace yourselves, because it’s going to shock. I’d have real physicians there, the ones who practice every day and make a difference in patients’ lives. The ones who dedicate their lives to healing and continue learning years into careers. We’d have them give lectures, and the audience may even cheer them on and take notes, heeding science-based advice, and…
Ok, ok. We’ll take it one step at a time. Let’s give doctors a voice, because the more we speak up on social media, the more we’ll be heard.
Help me say it, loud and clear: GOOP-bye, Felicia!
(Opinions expressed above are exactly that — my opinion, and mine only. I do not represent any larger organization. I also am extremely open minded, especially when it comes to meditative health and natural remedies which can help achieve better health. But I also believe in science, and in scientific-based claims. So take this with a grain of GOOP.. er, salt.)