So, do you want to know whether my 30-day celery juice challenge lived up to all the hype? Find out how it went and what a nutrition expert has to say.
I’m fully aware that I’m late to the celery juice party. A guy called Anthony William, aka the Medical Medium, started the craze years ago, claiming that drinking pure celery juice on an empty stomach every morning could cure everything from diabetes and Lyme disease, to depression and Hashimoto’s disease.
Things really reached fever pitch a year or two ago, when A-listers started swearing by the vegetable juice’s healing powers. Celebrities like Miranda Kerr, Pharrell, Robert De Niro, and tennis champ Novak Djokovic have posted glowing reviews on William’s website.
The secret is in the absence of pulp
According to the Medical Medium, you can only get celery’s unique healing benefits by drinking the juice without the pulp. William says that the juice contains “concentrated undiscovered cluster salts”, which allow your body to break down protein, strengthen your bile to break down fats and kill pathogens, restore your central nervous system and remove built-up toxins from your liver.
Despite the word “medical” in William’s job title, these health claims aren’t based on any scientific evidence and William has no medical qualifications, which is why I thought it was just another fad and didn’t pay much attention at first.
But then a close friend with a science background told me about her friend who swears his health improved dramatically because of celery juice. I admit that I’m a sucker for trying new health trends, so of course, this story piqued my interest.
Let the juicing begin: 30 days to a healthier me?
Fortunately, I don’t have any acute chronic medical conditions, but being post-menopausal, I’m always looking for an energy boost and improved mental clarity, which are on the list of celery juice benefits, along with clearer skin, improved digestion, less bloating, weight loss and stable moods.
I did a little reading and it seemed easy enough: Juice 473 ml (16 oz) of celery, preferably organic, every morning and drink it on an empty stomach. Wait 15 minutes before eating. Done.
As I’d barely left the house in months because of the pandemic, the timing was right. I doubted that trying celery juice would cause any harm, so I thought, “Why not?” I already had a juicer, so all I needed was A LOT of celery and some motivation.
I decided to give it 30 days.
Every week, I eagerly waited to wake up feeling like a new person, with boundless stores of energy or… something. But as the days passed, I pretty much felt the same. After about two weeks, I noticed that I was perhaps slightly less bloated, but I can’t say for sure whether that was because of the celery juice.
At the end of the 30 days, I hadn’t noticed any significant changes. A couple of friends commented that my skin looked good but that’s not a very scientific assessment, right?
What does the nutrition expert have to say?
I decided to get a more scientific perspective from Registered Nutritional Therapist Patricia Alexander-Bird, owner of Anam Cara Nutrition in Wales. Here’s what she had to say:
“As a naturopathic nutritionist I endorse balance in life and that includes what we eat and drink. Personally, I am not a fan of juicing anyway as unlike eating the whole fruit and vegetable, the fibre gets left behind in the pulp and we need the fibre for our gut bacteria. Furthermore, many of the important nutrients are found in the flesh and these get left behind in the pulp too. I think the celery juice craze is just that – a craze.”
She pointed out, however, that celery does have some amazing health benefits: “It’s high in the electrolytes sodium and potassium. It has an impressive range of plant chemicals known in the business as phytochemicals or phytonutrients, which deliver to us anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protection.
These serve to prevent all manner of today’s chronic diseases such as depression, cancers, cardiovascular and so on. Take for example the flavones apigenin and luteolin, just two of the phytonutrients found in celery, which have been shown in the lab to inhibit cancer cells and have also shown potential in preventing atherosclerosis.
The humble herb parsley also has the same compounds. In one study, it was found that a substantial portion of the flavones was left behind in the pulp after juice extraction. So, eating a wide variety of whole fruits and vegetables will confer all the same benefits and none of the misery that comes with such a restrictive juicing protocol.”
Can celery juice alone lead to significant health improvements?
As for whether celery juice alone can dramatically improve a person’s health, Patricia is sceptical:
“The celery juice craze has been accredited with ‘curing’ a vast array of conditions from restoring gut health, improving digestion, reducing inflammation, improving autoimmune disease, to balancing the body’s pH (total nonsense), depression and anxiety. For any nutrient to be beneficial, the host, that is the person consuming it, must have good gut health to ensure proper assimilation, absorption and metabolism.
If baseline health is not optimal, say the person has a poor diet of ultra-processed foods, and they embark on a celery juice regime then, yes they may well start to see improvements, after an initial period of what seem like detox symptoms, low energy, headaches, hunger followed by a spell of feeling more energised. So, basically, my opinion, based on my scientific and nutritional knowledge, is that it is just hype.”
Finally, I asked Patricia whether someone can drink too much celery juice. Her answer:
“Our body has a beautifully complex inbuilt system called homeostasis, which maintains the balance of electrolytes, pH, blood pressure, body temperature and many other internal functions. If the body takes in too much of anything it will try to self-regulate.
The kidneys will be working overtime to process the excess sodium so this will have a diuretic effect. Potassium, for example, is needed in blood pressure regulation and too much in the blood, hyperkalaemia, can be fatal to the heart, if not excreted efficiently, so people who have poorly functioning kidneys for example may want to steer clear of too much celery juice.
However, if you like juicing, or better still making smoothies, I think it is a very beneficial addition to an already balanced and diverse way of eating, just not a week’s worth of celery and nothing else!”
The practicalities of juicing every. single. day.
The first thing I noticed was that celery takes up a ton of space in your fridge. Anthony William is American, where fridges are often the size of tankers. My small London fridge was nearing capacity with seven bunches of celery stuffed into it – one for each day of the week.
The second thing I observed was that an entire bunch of organic celery only makes around 250-300 ml of juice. I wasn’t willing to juice more than one bunch at a time, so I stuck with a bunch per juicing session. Maybe that’s why I didn’t reap the full benefits?
In any case, William says it’s best to build up gradually. If you start with 473 ml on Day 1, you’ll most likely be running for the loo for the next couple of hours. Your body needs to adjust.
Third, I felt that the cost was pretty reasonable – less than the price of a latte from my local coffee shop at £1.70 per bunch of celery – considering some juice shops charge you nearly £5 for the same exact drink.
Finally, after 30 days of cleaning the various juicing machine components, I’d had enough. It’s not a hard task, but it does get tedious. I was almost relieved that I didn’t see any amazing benefits, because I had the perfect excuse to stop doing it every day.
Will I ever drink celery juice again?
Probably, but not every day. I did feel like it was refreshing and it’s always good to get some extra vegetables into your diet. I prefer smoothies with both fruit and veggies, not least because my blender is much easier to clean than my juicer. And I agree with Patricia that it’s important to keep the fibre in.
So, there we are. Sorry I’m unable to report on the miraculous cure-all that celery juice is supposed to be.
I’d love to hear if anybody has had a more notable experience.
I’m so grateful that you did the trial, and cleaning associated with it, so that we could benefit from the resolution! What do you think of dark chocolate every day?
Thanks Stephanie! I took one for the team, lol. I LOVE the idea of dark chocolate every day! Maybe I’ll start today… 🙂
What a trooper you were to take this challenge on! No way would I be able to deal with it. Dark chocolate or any (little bit only that is of) chocolate over this any day of the week hands down. Same goes for Fibre (a generous dose of it every day of the week – that is my new friend – broccoli with cheddar / sautéed mushrooms with onions / Fibre 1 cereal w milk and Saigon Cinnamon sprinkled on top). And forget celery…. try Fennel/Anise .. whole … chopped in salads.. or carved up for dipping into a full fat blue cheese dip. Way better tasting (and equally or more so in
some respects nutritious) than boring old celery or carrots! :+)
Ha ha, thanks! It really wasn’t too bad, but I don’t think I’ll do it again. I’m all for the blue cheese dip! 🙂