Celery Juice Isn’t Just a Fad; It’s a Statement About Our Need to Belong.
Trend alert! Celery juice!
As if celery wasn’t the most hated vegetable ever – most of you celery juice drinkers probably haven’t eaten a stick of celery in years – we are now punishing ourselves by drinking its juice. Kale is out, juice of celery, in. Oh, pursuit of peak wellness. You’re so fickle!
What is Celery Juice?
The celery juice trend originated with Anthony William, who calls himself ‘The Medical Medium’. Despite having zero medical or nutritional credentials whatsoever, William has an absolutely massive following and a brand new book about how to cleanse your liver. Livers cleanse themselves according to basic physiology, but Williams i$ laughing all the way to the bank.
In the case of celery juice, Instagram influencers (not including me, natch) and celebrities such as Gwyneth, Pharrell, Robert DeNiro and Debra Messing, among others – have created such a bluster that it’s exploding with popularity. The funny thing is that even though there’s no downside to drinking celery juice (except for the taste and the cost), there’s also no proof that it does anything except hydrate us. That doesn’t stop The Medical Medium from promoting it a$ a miracle beverage to rid us of all of our demons…er….toxins! He states, “I’ve seen thousands of people who suffer from chronic and mystery illnesses restore their health by drinking sixteen ounces of celery juice daily on an empty stomach.”
Curing ‘mystery illnesses’ is only the beginning of Williams’ strangeness, trust me.
As my favorite (I jest, of course) website Goop puts it, William works “well outside the bounds of conventional science and medicine. He’s become known for, as he explains it, being guided by “Spirit” to help people claim their health.” What?
I mean, I confess that I believe in the afterlife. I’ve actually seen and felt spirits and I’ve been to several psychic mediums, but there is no way in hell I’m entrusting my health to someone from the Fifth Dimension. Sorry!
Most spirits I’ve encountered have been nice and all, but I’m really thinking they’re not well-versed in nutrition.
As if his spirit-guided divination of the ultimate secret to health isn’t enough to make you roll your eyes until they fall out of your head, Williams claims that (and my comments are in bold):
Celery juice has undiscovered ‘cluster salts’, which aren’t as bioavailable when they’re consumed in whole celery.
But guess what? Cluster salts don’t exist! He made them up!! A+ for imagination!
What are Cluster Salts?
Cluster salts, which again – nobody but Williams and his non-biochemistry non-degree – has ever discovered – ‘rebuild’ the hydrochloric acid in our stomach. He claims that most of us have low hydrochloric acid which is the cause of our chronic diseases.
Seriously, cluster salts don’t exist, but chronic diseases still do…exploding his theory about stomach acid. If he was correct, we could easily fix the pH of stomach acid (not with imaginary cluster salts, though) and end chronic disease. But we haven’t, because….he’s wrong!
Cluster salts bind to ‘toxins’ and flush them from the liver.
Except, this guy literally made up the concept of cluster salts to $ell people things, and now he’s an expert in the physiology of said cluster salts. That is like me saying that I have a unicorn in my backyard shed, and therefore I know more about unicorns than you do.
This is not okay.
Williams also claims that celery juice increases and strengthens bile, which is needed for digestion and to kill off pathogens he calls ‘liver troublemakers’ – but to read more about them, you’ll have to buy his book…which sadly, far too many people will end up doing.
There is zero connection between the ingestion of celery juice and bile production – both quality and quantity. Bile is made by the liver and is mainly comprised of bile salts (not to be confused with the mythical ‘cluster salts’), cholesterol, and water.
Celery juice is mainly water and very, very small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
No connection. None.
It’s funny (not funny ha-ha, but funny weird) because this entire celery juice trend is the epitome of bullshit pseudoscience:
Anthony William has invented a problem, and he has invented his own ‘solution’ for which there is no legitimate test for efficacy. What he says may sound all science-y to the untrained ear, but there really isn’t a test that people are going to take to see if his diet recommendations actually work.
They’re all based on anecdotes and personal stories, which appeal to peoples’ emotions but gloss over the actual facts – a common trait of fad diets. Another trait that William uses? Fear. YOU HAVE TOXINS!!! YOU NEED TO GET RID OF THEM!
Is Celery Juice More Than Just a Fad?
Also common to fads is the hard-sell. William pushes his books and products at every turn. Trends like these are elitist and precious – who can afford to buy an $8 bottle of cold-pressed celery juice every single day, and do you really need a book on cleansing your liver when the entire concept is actually a fallacy (and, again, the product of a man-spirit interaction). In a short Goop article by William describing how incredible celery juice is, there are no fewer than four affiliate links to buy his book. Red flag, anyone?
William’s role as a mystical nutrition clairvoyant of sorts seems to add to his allure. He’s so non-mainstream it’s almost laughable, except it’s not actually funny because people are falling for his nonsense.
He has no education that would lead him to a greater understanding of human anatomy, physiology, or biochemistry – the three basic subjects that someone making nutrition claims and dispensing advice (and taking money for it) should be well-versed in. Yet people clamour to hear what he’s going to pontificate on next.
What is wrong with our culture that we put so much stock in something that very obviously isn’t evidence-based?
That we don’t allow ourselves to think reasonably about the fact that if celery juice was so magical, we would have already discovered that a long time ago?
That we take health advice from spirits (or from charlatans, via spirit) and allow our emotions to be played by anecdotes and testimonials from people who have been ‘cured’ by such trends?
That intellectually we know – and come on, you all know this – that celery juice will eventually fall out of favour once the Next Best Thing comes along?
Celery juice is a statement about what’s happening to society, and we should listen up.
Trends like these say more about distrust of mainstream medicine and our need to belong, than our desire to be healthier. We are all about ‘wellness’, and jump on every new ‘hot’ food trend as though it’s going to be the one that makes or breaks our health. Kale cookies, charcoal lemonade, celery juice: intellectually, we know that no one food has ever made anyone healthier, but it sure feels good to belong.
We are more connected than ever, but so lonely in a world of virtual connections and frantic busy-ness. We don’t feel as though we are enough the way we are, and we so badly to fix that by feeling like we’re a part of something special. We want a tribe, so we’ve created the religion of diet and ‘wellness’. It’s health-focused and virtuous, and at the same time expensive and punitive, giving it the cache of being available only to those who have the time for its demands, the ‘willpower’ and ‘discipline’ for its rules, and the money to afford it. Perfectly elitist and special, but based on nothing but false science and empty promises, delivered by your very own ‘nutrition guru’ who listens to spirits. Woo woo!!
I want to caution you all about running after trends like these. Celery juice might look pretty on Instagram, but it’s not going to nourish you better than any whole vegetable. Same with kale, or blue algae smoothies, or expensive supplements. What matters is your overall dietary pattern, and good nutrition never needs to be expensive. You should never feel as though you must buy costly, trendy ingredients to improve your health, but sadly, many people do because trendy diets talk them into doing it. Not okay.
Perhaps most importantly, we need to spend more time on adjusting our attitudes towards food to be more positive, and finding the joy – not punishment – in eating. There’s a fine line between being healthy – physically AND emotionally – and going overboard, so let’s walk that line together.
Listen to your brain, not your heart, where food and nutrition claims are concerned, and understand that you are enough right now. Buying into food trends might feel good for the short-term, but it’s the same as spending $1000 on that trendy bag: you’re the same person, you’re just carrying an expensive purse.
It’s always better to nurture real relationships with yourself and others and know that your value doesn’t depend on what you have or what you eat; rather, it’s about who you are and how you treat others…and yourself.
Want to read more? Here Are The Actual Lies That Juice Cleanse Companies Are Telling.