Gwyneth Paltrow talks MDMA trip, body image and aging: What we learned about the Goop founder

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Taryn Ryder
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The Goop Lab is out on Netflix, but it's Gwyneth Paltrow who steals the show.
The Goop Lab is out on Netflix, but it's Gwyneth Paltrow who steals the show. (Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage)

The Goop Lab is out today on Netflix, and if you're debating binge-watching all six episodes here is a quick review: The Goop Lab is much like Goop and its fearless leader, Gwyneth Paltrow — you'll either love it or hate it. (Critics and scientists seem to be leaning towards the latter.) After all, Goop is a website that sells a vagina-scented candle for $75... and it’s sold out. Each episode explores a different wellness topic, but there is a show within the show that's the most entertaining part of the whole series: The Gwyneth show.

Paltrow — who is an executive producer on the series — is featured in every 30-minute episode, but it's clear she doesn't want the entire spotlight. (Just some of it.) For the most part, it's Goop employees who are recruited to try out different treatments, although she gets more involved in the back half of the series. But every time the semi-retired actress appears on the screen, she leaves you wanting more. While viewers get to see Paltrow the CEO, one episode gives people a glimpse into her home life with appearances by daughter, Apple, and husband, Brad Falchuk. She talks about drugs, her own issues with body image and aging. Overall, there's great content for fans and her detractors.

Here are 10 things we learned about Gwyneth Paltrow watching The Goop Lab.

1. She’s taken MDMA.

It’s clear that Paltrow has tried most of the alternative health and wellness trends Goop explores. The first episode titled "The Healing Trip" looks at the use of psychedelic drugs — like MDMA, LSD and mushrooms — in guided therapy. The actress shares that she’s taken MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy or molly.

"I did try it once in Mexico. I never thought of MDMA as a psychedelic and when I took it I didn’t hallucinate, like it wasn’t [a] rave," she explains.

Paltrow's husband was along for the trip — literally.

"It was actually very, very emotional and I was with my then-boyfriend who’s now my husband and he’s a very empathetic, very profound, wise person and he was able to sort of help me through it," she shares. "It does make me think there’s so much to unearth if I did it [in a therapeutic setting.]"

2. Yeah. She really did say "being the person that people perceive me to be is inherently traumatic."

Later in the first episode — which sees Goop staffers travel to Jamaica to take magic mushrooms — Paltrow delivers an eye-rolling line. And the conversation started out so promising! Goop’s chief content officer Elise Loehnen discusses how the Goop team is very successful, but that many carry "tremendous pain and loss."

"So many of us are taught, 'You're thriving. You're good. How dare you?'" Loehnen explains, before turning to Paltrow. "You, for example. What could possibly be wrong with you? You have everything! You're beautiful, you're wealthy, you're famous. Like, shut up!"

Paltrow can't help but smile and laugh. It's like she's thinking, true! And just when you're ready to cheer her on for that self-aware look, she delivers a line to her haters on a silver platter.

"If everybody felt connected they would understand that I, as well, have had incredibly painful and traumatic experiences," she begins. "I had a lot of trauma in my childhood and being the person that people perceive me to be is inherently traumatic."

Those last 12 words just gave a lot of blogs its headline.

3. Moses takes ice baths.

It's not just the actress that practices treatments at home. Paltrow casually reveals her 13-year-old son dabbles in cold therapy. During a chat with Wim Hof, aka "The Iceman," the actress shares that Moses started taking two-minute ice baths at age 11. The revelation isn't as random as it seems. Episode 2 "Cold Comfort" featured the Wim Hof Method and how exposing one's body to cold temperatures has numerous health benefits.

Now might be a good time to note Goop's disclaimer that runs at the start of every episode: "The following series is designed to entertain and inform — not provide medical advice. You should always consult your doctor when it comes to your personal health, or before you start any treatment."

Related Video: Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘The Goop Lab’: Fact-Checking the Health Claims

4. Even Gwyneth Paltrow has insecurities.

"The Pleasure Is Ours" is the most buzzed-about episode of the series. Yes, it's the vagina one.

"Our favorite subject," a giddy Paltrow declares. (Let us not forget this is the woman who posed in front of a vulva-shaped wall of flowers this week at a special screening of the Netflix docuseries.)

Episode 3 features sex educator Betsy Dodson, who has an interesting discussion with Paltrow and Loehnen about female anatomy and orgasms. Paltrow even learns something new. ("The vagina is only the birth canal?") Dodson leads sex workshops with groups of women, and this is apparently where the actress draws the line.

"Sign me out," she says. "Like, naked in a room with a bunch of women? I don't know if I have the guts."

She adds later on, "So many of us women are caught in this paradigm that we have to look a certain way and, you know, we're so critical of ourselves. It's funny, because I'm not critical of another woman's body, but I'm so critical of my own body."

5. GP's family makes fun of her cleanses.

The best glimpse into Paltrow's real-life comes in Episode 4. (We demand a Netflix spinoff based solely on "The Health-Span Plan.") It features Paltrow's 15-year-old daughter and Falchuk who both mock some of the ridiculous things she does in the name of health and wellness.

This episode looks at one's biological age and how diet and fancy beauty treatments influence aging and a person's lifespan. Paltrow participates in a 5-day fast-mimicking regimen, which mimics the effects of fasting while giving the body enough nutrients to avoid harm. (Naturally, this can be purchased on Goop for $249.)

"This is all the food? You must be joking," Paltrow says while looking at her kit. "You guys put me through, like, the craziest s***."

"This should be OK," she continues, combing through things like plant-based soup packets, olives and kale crackers. "I'll certainly be a cheap date. My kids are going to bum out. Every time I do a cleanse they're like, 'Ohh no.' They get all grumpy."

But her daughter has some fun with it, too. The episode features a home video of Apple talking with Paltrow... who seems to be starving since she's only eating about 500 calories a day.

"How are you doing?" Apple asks.

"I feel terrible" Paltrow replies.

"I had a burrito for dinner," Apple taunts.

"Believe me, I'm aware. I was salivating," Paltrow admits.

"I mean, you were salivating when I was describing to you my chia pudding that I'm going to eat tomorrow, so," Apple laughs.

"I'm dying for chia pudding," Paltrow says. "Nothing has ever sounded more decadent or delicious to me."

(More Apple content next season, please.)

Falchuk also gives Paltrow some grief. During the actress's video diary on day 3 of the diet, she declares, "I feel oddly weak."

"It's not really oddly," Falchuk replies.

"Usually if I do a real detox — like my liver detoxes, I get really agitated and angry and stuff," Paltrow says.

"I never noticed," Falcuk quips.

"I feel pretty good! Other than the fact I feel terrible," Paltrow says.

Falchuk makes one more cameo in the episode and it's clear she’s very smitten by her husband. The cohabitating thing must be going well.

6. Paltrow refers to her ex-husband Chris Martin as her "baby daddy."

The Coldplay singer is the father of Paltrow's two children, so why not call it like it is? When the Iron Man star talks about the great results from her PRP facial — commonly known as the vampire facial — in Episode 4 she boasts, "My baby daddy was like, 'You look five years younger!'"

7. GP loves her 40s — even though she can't remember how old she is.

Before getting ready to test her biological age, Paltrow has some thoughts about her actual age.

"Whenever someone asks me how old I am, I never think that the answer is going to contain a 4," she tells her colleagues. "Like, I feel like I was so used to being in my 30s and in my mind, I was 28 for a really long time. ... 30s are good, 40s are way better."

She continues, "I think the idea that you're letting go of being identified as a woman of childbearing age. We live in a culture where that's such a critical component, right? I think we're in that game unconsciously and then something happens when you turn 40 you're sort of, 'I don't really give a f***.' For me, it was incredibly liberating."

Paltrow admits she "freaked out" before turning 40, "and then was like, 'This is great.'"

"I basically have been running off no sleep, coffee and alcohol for 2 years," she says. "I think my adrenals are going to explode after this. You'll come to retake my biological age and I'll be deceased."

It seems the actress loves her 40s so much, that sometimes she forgets exactly how old she is.

"How old am I?" Paltrow asks later on in the episode. (She’s 46.)

8. No, Paltrow isn't vegan.

For anyone wondering, she’s "never been vegan."

"People think I've been vegan, people still think I'm vegan," she laments in the fourth episode.

9. The actress had an emergency c-section with Apple.

Paltrow really has experienced some trauma in her life. Although she doesn't go into specifics, she says her delivery with Apple is "not a good story." The topic comes up during a conversation with her energy healer John Amaral in Episode 5. Paltrow talks about how she has spasms in "places where I've had injury."

"Like, I had an emergency cesarean with my daughter after being in labor for three days, it's not a good story. But my cesarean scar is really still — it's more emotionally painful to me, it doesn't feel like physical pain, but I feel it as this wound still," she explains.

Then, comes a very Gwyneth Paltrow thing to say.

"When our bodies are cut into, we don't think about the energetic planes that we're rupturing," she continues. "In my experience, it's more difficult to heal on the energetic level than the skin... for me, those interventions have stayed with me and need care."

"The Energy Experience" will have scientists falling off their couches. It’s also the episode where Julianne Hough essentially has an exorcism.

10. Paltrow has clairvoyant tendencies.

Psychic medium Laura Lynne Jackson is featured in the sixth and final episode, "Are You Intuit?" Apparently, the actress is. During a discussion with Jackson, Paltrow slips that she has visions.

"I get really scared of my intuition sometimes," she explains. "Before I had children I was much more comfortable with it and then my mother psychosis feels sometimes like a premonition. And it's so terrifying to me, I've been like, 'Oh my god, this is a premonition something bad's going to happen.'"

The episode and docuseries culminate with Paltrow asking the psychic medium a question: "My last question is, who is going to be president in 2020?"

For those wondering how the psychic medium responds is, you’ll have to see how this year plays out in real-time. That’s how The Goop Lab ends.

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