What Does Goop’s Challah Brain Instagram Post Actually Mean?

Breaking down this confusing challah brain.

I was scrolling through my Instagram explore page last night when I came across an illustration of a person with a loaf of challah where their brain should be. Ha ha, I thought. It’s me: challah on the brain, always. 

When I shared the image with my colleague Molly Tolsky, editor of Alma, she asked if it meant that “your brain has many braids and folds, just like the challah.”

A good guess, but no.

I finally clicked to read whatever funny caption I assumed would be linked to this post, so you can imagine my surprise when I discovered it was *not* a funny challah-on-the-brain meme, but rather, a Goop post about guts?

Yes, really. Goop — Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle empire and pseudoscience peddler extraordinaire — was posting a picture of brain-challah to link to a story about “How Gut Affects Our Mood.”

Here’s the Instagram:


I’ve read the 56-word caption countless times now, and I’m still confused.

“The gut is not the second brain. It’s the first,” it begins. Wait: my stomach is my first brain? That makes legitimately no sense. If anything is your “first brain” besides your actual brain, it should be your heart, right? But I can’t believe I’m even indulging in an idea that there are “first and second brains” so let’s move right along.

“Our gut-based nervous system…” Stop right there. Is a gut-based nervous system a REAL THING? I typed the phrase into Google and came across the “Enteric nervous system,” along with the phrase “second brain,” so maybe it’s a thing. I don’t know. I studied history in college and I’m writing for a Jewish food site, so I am no expert in obscure bodily systems.

“…developed hundreds of millions of years before the human brain.” Okay, sure, whatever, this means literally nothing to me.

“We’d be wise to pay attention to it.” Goop is clearly referring to the concept of “gut brain” or whatever, but we’re going to choose to think it means pay attention to challah whenever it’s on your mind. Because you should!

The last line is just a plug for their story, which I read and still don’t understand at all, so I won’t get into it.

Lastly, I asked my colleagues for some alternative captions of this drawing that would make more sense than gut brain and they delivered:

“I got my mind on the challah and the challah on my mind.”

“TFW the hamotzi is stuck in your head.”

“Schnitzles on my thighs and challah on my mind.”

“Can’t stop thinking about my one true love.”

“Who drew this self portrait of me?”

We could keep going.

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