Celery Juice: Elixir of Life or Watery Wellness Lie?

The way people are talking about celery juice on the internet, you’d think it was the elixir of life. Or at least, you’d think it was more than just the liquidized form of a lone vegetable whose greatest contribution to society prior to this wellness trend was providing a vehicle for peanut butter and raisins to children at snack time.

According to best-selling author and self-proclaimed “medical medium” Anthony Williams (who, in addition to being widely credited with the rise of celery juice, boasts A-list fans such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Pharrell Williams and Naomi Campbell), there’s more to these tasteless green stalks than meets the eye — and the tastebud, for that matter: “If people knew all the potent healing properties of celery juice, it would be widely hailed as a miraculous superfood,” he writes on his website. “Celery has an incredible ability to create sweeping improvements for all kinds of health issues.”


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Thanks to the plethora of celery juice-related missives dispatched to his hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, it’s safe to say people are no longer ignorant to celery juice’s purported effects, which range from healing chronic illness to calming inflammation to balancing your body’s pH. Kim Kardashian started drinking celery juice to help her psoriasis. Debra Messing stipulated that her #1 New Year’s resolution was upping her daily celery juice intake from 8 ounces to 20 ounces (“I feel so much better”). Busy Philipps documented her celery juice journey on Instagram Stories, citing the goal of “finding the best path to [her] best life” as the impetus for hopping on the bandwagon.

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I get so many questions about my journey with celery juice so here it is! I’ve seen a huge improvement in my digestion when I consume celery juice on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. When I first started with celery juice I saw lots of impurities come to the surface of my skin, meaning a lot of the toxins were being purged from the inside out. It was very hard not to pick at my skin(can anyone relate?) but after 2 weeks of my celery juice routine my skin was glowing! I also have seen an increase in my energy – so much so that I don’t have any cravings for coffee which is almost a little annoying because I love making my lattes now I move my latte ritual to the afternoon. There are a few ways to make it but what I do is take 5 stalks, chop them, toss in a blender (I use my @vitamix) and cover with filtered water – blend and strain. I love when you guys tag me on your celery hive journeys and someone who has help when I have questions is @medicalmedium I don’t love New Years resolutions but this might be something worth trying in the new year if you’re looking for an upgrade from the inside out 😘 #dowhatfeelsgood #hbfit

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Celebrities aren’t the only ones hopping aboard the celery juice train, though. An Instagram @manrepeller posted last week regarding a story I wrote about testing different products to help my rosacea garnered dozens of comments from people touting the benefits of celery juice for reducing skin redness. I re-shared the post on my own account and received numerous additional messages to this effect. Two people used the words “actually magic” to describe the impact drinking celery juice has had on their skin (allegedly soothing everything from skin bumps to acne to inflammation). Another who struggles with perioral dermatitis told me that celery juice “wipes it away in no time.”

Their collective exuberance was highly convincing — so much so that when I started digging into the actual science behind celery juice’s purported benefits, I felt a stubborn reluctance to believe in the hype instead of the facts, which were largely disappointing: “Experts Are Rolling Their Eyes at the Celery Juice Diet Craze,” one New York Post article proclaims, citing registered dietician Abby Langer’s no-nonsense declaration that attributing major health properties to celery juice is “the epitome of bullshit pseudoscience.”

“Actually, You Can Just Drink Some Water,” The Atlantic announced dryly, denouncing Anthony Williams’ philosophies as “health information of questionable veracity.” The Coveteur put celery juice at the top of its list of “Wellness Trends to Leave Behind in 2018,” saying it’s “been proven to be a bit more of a reach than the real deal.”

Real deal or not, I couldn’t resist sampling it myself. In order to achieve the most authentic celery juice consumption experience, I figured I should probably try making it instead of attempting to buy it; so, I acquired some celery from Whole Foods (fortunately they had some in stock given the rumors I’ve heard about celery juice craze-induced shortages), blended it up in my blender, strained it with a strainer, cursed myself for the amount of time I’d sunk into manufacturing this likely bogus liquid and poured it into a glass from my kitchen cabinet.

It tasted exactly how I thought it would taste (like a pond) and made me feel exactly how I thought it would make me feel (the same); however, the reality that it skyrocketed into popular consciousness despite zero evidence to back its alleged powers is fascinating in its own right. In that sense, it is one of the most ironic manifestations of the wellness-industrial complex to date, replete with all the shiny trappings of an act of self-care that seems important to partake in (celebrity endorsements, Instagram fame, time-consuming steps, the color green) but no conceivable scientific evidence to back it up. I never want to be in the business of knocking something that makes other people feel good, but! You know what else makes people feel good, with loads of scientific logic behind it? Water. And water, as The Atlantic astutely pointed out, is essentially what celery juice is.

Feature image by Edith Young. 

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