Shifting gears a tiny bit here. Let's talk celery. Celery juice.
I, like many of you perhaps, am susceptible to the Gwyneth effect. While I don't necessarily find her to be the most relatable human being around (not that she advertises herself as such), I still get lured into her web of organic farm to table cooking, her beauty secrets (75% of which I think comes down to her genetics) and her ability to make an all neutral wardrobe look so damn enviable. Love her or hate her, you have to admit, we're all more than a little curious how she lives and curates her life -- looking like that.
So when I initially read about this celery juice business on goop, which further propelled me down the rabbit hole of Medical Medium's Instagram account, I was admittedly, intrigued, but not sold. For starters, I'm not one for fad diets. Or fad cleanses. Or fad detoxes. They always seem to really overpromise and in the end, under deliver. Call me a pessimist (I prefer realist, thank you), but anything that brands itself as a "cure-all" is most definitely too good to be true. Or even half true. And much like our friend Gwyneth, Anthony Williams (the man responsible for bringing about the celery juice craze), is somewhat of an enigma himself. Part guru, part spiritual medium (apparently he can diagnose diseases by communicating with spirits?), part health food nut -- I gotta say, the man certainly deserves some credit at least in the sense, most of what he's advocating involves REAL food and REAL vitamins that aren't part of some pre-packaged, expensive service. Spirits be damned.
You may be wondering: so what pushed you over the line?
A reader sent in the question: why would you subject yourself to celery juice every morning? And I gotta say, good question!
You all may recall, early in March, I shared my struggles with perioral dermatitis in this post, where I detailed out my plan to eat really cleanly for a month, to see if it would help get rid of the damn rash. Amongst it's long list of benefits and miracles, celery juice has been said to help with a lot of different skin conditions, including rashes, eczema and acne so if I was already going to be spending a lot of time at Whole Foods anyway, I might as well throw these stalks into the already overfilled cart. If nothing else, having a full glass of vegetable juice couldn't hurt me in the long run, right? Right.
I'll be sharing an update for my perioral dermatitis down below in the results section, but in the meantime, let's dive into how the past month or so has been, drinking celery juice first thing in the morning. For calendar sake, we picked up our brand new juicer on March 9th and I've been making juices every morning since then.
For a full briefing on celery juice, its benefits and the Medical Medium way of doing things, read his 101 write up here.
What juicer are you using?
I wish I could sit here and say I did a ton of research about this guys, but here's how it went down when I went to Bed Bath & Beyond. I was standing there in their juicer aisle, overwhelmed by all the different capabilities of each "revolutionary juicer", until I saw this one by Breville labeled as "compact" (because the struggle is real when you live in New York -- there's little to no countertop space in kitchens) and I called it a day. Bonus points: it was a bit cheaper than what else was on the shelf. While he's by no means a little guy still, he's certainly smaller than his juicer peers and he's been super easy to clean and manage since (all the parts are dishwasher safe). I do have quite a few friends who have used their blenders to make their juice -- you simply need to strain the blend afterward to filter out the fiber/pulp. My friend Noelle shared a video here how she does it.
What's the routine like?
Essentially, to really reap the full benefits of celery juice, you're supposed to have 16 ounces or more first thing in the morning when you wake up, so it can work its magic on an empty stomach. It's not meant to be a meal replacement, so make sure to have a balanced breakfast afterward, simply wait 15-30 minutes after drinking your juice. While I'll be the first to admit, I wasn't crazy about the taste at first, I don't mix anything in with my juice -- just straight celery juice. A few days in and the taste honestly just grew on me -- it's sweet enough for me that I kind of love the taste now (crazy, I know -- considering the only way I really eat celery in it's full form is with loads of peanut butter, but that's another story for another day). I do have friends who add half an apple or some lemon to break up the taste, but again, this isn't necessarily recommended by MM (Medical Medium not to be confused with Meghan Markle, although something tells me she might be a celery juicer too).
I also pair my juice with a glass of warm lemon water that I drink right before having my juice -- not sure what the Medical Medium might say about that, but I kinda love my little routine at this point, so I'm not changing. I will say alternating between sipping these two drinks might make it easier for you to stomach the celery taste if it's really not your thing. Just an idea?
You can pre-juice for the week or perhaps the night before, but it's recommended you drink it when it's freshest, so that's my approach. From washing, trimming the leaves and cutting off the ends, to actual juicing, it takes me about 15 minutes max in the morning.
How much celery are we talking here?
One full stalk generally speaking will get you around 16 ounces, which brings us to the next question...
So how pricey is this?
I order all my celery from Fresh Direct (god bless grocery delivery) who offers an organic option at $4.99 per stalk. Simple math time: $4.99 per 1 stalk of celery X 30 days = $149.70 per month. Seems steep I suppose, but it's technically less than my almost $6 iced matcha latte with oat milk, so c'est la vie.
Is there a detox phase?
Personally, I don't think I had any "detox" symptoms -- I did experience a headache for a few days initially when starting, but I don't think it was related to this.
Any initial effects to report?
A lot of you warned me before hand -- and I'm so glad you did! Here's what I experienced right off the bat:
- Let's just say celery juice really regulates things -- you will definitely have regular bowel movements after starting this. This might be TMI, but personally, it's almost immediately after drinking, like clockwork, for me.
- It gives me a great natural boost of energy in the morning and it makes me quite hungry afterward. I'm not usually someone who craves breakfast but now I look forward to it each morning. I did eventually give up coffee and swapped it with matcha lattes (perhaps a post for another day?) but I definitely don't see myself giving up my matchas anytime soon. Simply put: I will not be replacing my caffeine sources anytime soon for celery juice.
- Before starting this, I read a lot about how celery juice is supposed to help with "brain fog." As someone who never thought she necessarily suffered from "brain fog" I do think since starting this regimen, I feel like my mental clarity is on another level lately. It takes me a lot less time to "turn on" so to speak in the morning and start my day and I just feel very clear. Does that make sense?
- I experience far less bloat. Granted, I don't get bloated often, but after certain big or rich meals/snacks, I know it's coming. Thankfully, this little routine has left me feeling very svelte, even after meals.
- On a related note: I have no weight loss to report, but I want to emphasize, that wasn't the intention with this.
- While I can't say this is 100% related to the celery juice (because I think it's more about my wholistic diet at this point), I do sleep REALLY well these days. Solid 8 hours with no stirring around 5:30 or 6am (which is common for me to do).
So worth the hype? Yay or nay?
Verdict: Jury is out still. But that doesn't mean things aren't looking promising.
Let's back up. My main goal for starting this regimen (aside from the fact I should probably eat more vegetables anyway), was to see if it would have any impact on my skin. Longtime followers know my skin and I have had a long and bumpy relationship with each other. Since my late 20s, I've suffered from cystic hormonal acne (I shared this saga several times here, here and most exhaustively here). And, as I mentioned earlier in this post, I was smacked in the face with a bout of perioral dermatitis back in February, likely brought on by heavy makeup from photoshoots and even heavier moisturizers (I had to give up my beloved Tata Harper because of this!). Add in the fact, despite my current birth control having somewhat minimized my breakouts the past 6 or 7 months, I had another round of really tough breakouts that just left me reeling. And quite simply, frustrated and sad.
In this post, I outlined how I was going to commit myself to a clean eating routine, practically cutting out all gluten, refined sugars, dairy and processed foods, focusing on adding a ton of fruits, vegetables, fish, beans, legumes, probiotic rich foods and yes, my daily celery juice. I'm happy to report I've stayed the course with my diet. But I caved in mid-March in terms of my approach to the perioral dermatitis treatment. I had reached a point where the rash (more so the texture of my skin) became really difficult to cover up with makeup and it really took a heavy toll on my confidence -- one that was hard to shake. A lot of you had sent me DMs with your personal experience with perioral dermatitis and recommended I look into antibiotics to kick it. So that's exactly what I did. I've been taking doxycycline 100mg for the past few weeks and within 1 week, I already noticed a significant difference in my skin -- the rash started to dissipate. Thank God. But if we're keeping score here, I can't say the celery did much here (it might have had I let it work longer in my system solo, but I just didn't have the patience sadly).
As far as the acne goes, it hasn't done much. But I'm also not surprised. I've done my fair share of hoping and praying for an immediate game changer when it comes to my skin, but generally, things need at least 2 to 3 months to really impact my skin for better or for worse. I've been breaking out pretty consistently this past month but every testimonial I've read from someone who claimed skin miracles thanks to celery juice, also mentioned it took months of a consistent routine with it to see the full benefits.
On a related note: I also ordered this food allergy test to see if I could get to the bottom of a possible sensitivity I may have. Stay tuned for those results.
You may be thinking at this point: sooooo why are you still juicing if it doesn't seem to have helped with any of your skin issues? To which I would say: good question.
I think at this point, my relationship with celery is more about the ritual of it -- perhaps the placebo effect, if you will? Since starting it, I've loved the tone it sets for my day. There's something about waking up and drinking something so green and just darn healthy that makes you approach the rest of your meal/snack decisions differently. It's been easy to cut out foods that I normally would be "missing" (ahem, cheese, I'm looking at you) and while of course, I'd love a slice of pizza right about now, I don't feel like I'm depriving myself either. I feel full, satiated and satisfied.
It's also made me a full-blown crazy juice lady. I make a second juice every day around lunch time -- usually a combo of green apples, spinach, cucumber, ginger, lemon and kale. And it's delicious!
Will you stay on the celery juice train?
For the foreseeable future, or until the price of celery gets so high that I need to start selling my shoes to afford it, I'll stay on the celery train. Who knows, maybe a year from now, I'll have miracles to report. Until then, I'm happy with little victories.
How about you guys? Are you guys on the celery juice train? Thoughts?