Battle of the Celebrity Advice Books: Jessica Alba vs. Gwyneth Paltrow

Dueling gurus. (Photo: Rodale/Grand Central)

Watch out, Gwyneth. You have some new competition when it comes to the whole life-coach thing. On Tuesday, actress Jessica Alba has released her own book, called “The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You,” and it already has five stars on Amazon and is a “best-seller in sustainable living.”

When asked about the inevitable comparison to Paltrow’s healthy living newsletter GOOP, Alba told the Daily News, “Gwyneth Paltrow probably lives a very similar lifestyle, but I didn’t grow up with a bunch of money, so my tips are much more grounded: Repurposing things and making things at home.” Uh oh. It’s on.

So who wins in the battle of green-living smugness? You tell us.

Ridiculous Advice
Both Paltrow and Alba have been accused of offering impractical advice for the average woman. For instance, on Alba’s suggestion to make your own baby food: “Who, especially in New York, has time for something like that?” Queens resident Samantha Willner, 22, asks. “I don’t think anyone who’s an average person has any of the resources: Time, money or, quite frankly, the patience.”

Similarly, when Paltrow sent out a newsletter recommending a cleanse that cost $425, regular women everywhere responded with a resounding, “WTF.”

Level of Insanity
Paltrow’s schtick is all about eating cleaner. In her new cookbook, “It’s All Good,” she writes, “sometimes when my family is not eating pasta, bread or processed grains like white rice, we’re left with that specific hunger that comes with avoiding carbs,” a confession that has been met with criticism. As if that weren't enough, Paltrow writes she initially went on this "miracle diet" because she thought she was having a stroke. "I thought — without sounding overly dramatic — that I was going to die. I had a vague feeling that I was going to faint, and I wasn’t forming thoughts correctly . . . I got a searing pain in my head, I couldn’t speak, and I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was having a stroke.” In the end, it was just a migraine and a panic attack, but that didn't stop her from eliminating coffee, eggs, sugar, shellfish, deepwater fish, potatoes, tomatoes, bell pepper, eggplant, corn, wheat and meat.

Alba, on the other hand, is more concerned with toxic chemicals, especially in plastics. In her book she admits to banning a baby-shower gift from her home because it was made of plastic. She recommends letting plastics sit outside to “off-gas,” whatever that means, but environmental experts say this is “not something people need to worry about.”

Paltrow's book doesn't even come out until April 2, but it's already a source of ridicule. "The book reads like the manifesto to some sort of creepy healthy-girl sorority with members who use beet juice rather than permanent marker to circle the “problem areas” on each other’s bodies," the NY Post writes. Quoting Paltrow, they continue, "'Mealtimes should always feel happy. Not like a punishment,' leaving us to wonder just what dinnertime torture she’s previously endured."

The Smug Effect
It remains to be seen whether or not Alba will suffer the same backlash that Paltrow has—after all, Paltrow’s been at it longer—it’s nearly impossible for “advice from a wealthy celebrity for not-wealthy non-celebrities on how to live a fulfilling life,” not to seem totally smug. But Alba makes sure to mention there are exceptions to every rule. For instance: forgoing natural deodorant for the toxic kind that will kill you but actually works. “"When I'm on a talk show or on set for a 17-hour day and I'm not trying to be funky,” she told Racked. “You gotta do what you gotta do.”

Related on Shine:
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Cleanse Recipes
Jessica Alba’s Eco-Friendly Tips for Living an Honest Life
Gluten Free Diet or Veiled Eating Disorder?