Anyone who is anyone is juicing celery at the moment – and it’s all down to one man’s enthusiasm
The year had barely begun when I started seeing celery juice everywhere. On social media, in articles, at small, bouji cafes. Obviously I ignored it. It was 2019 and the wellness industry had long called a moratorium on “green juice” and moved on to solids. No one was juicing any more.
Except they were, at least in the US, where celery juice has been selling at four times the rate of kale juice since October. And now it’s coming here.
It will come as no surprise that the man behind this trend is a friend of Goop. Anthony Williams, the “Medical Medium” and the self-described originator of the Global Celery Juice Movement, is a wellness empire unto himself. He has sold millions of books and counts Robert De Niro as both friend and client. Because of Williams, Pharrell drinks celery juice, and so does Elle Macpherson.
Williams didn’t discover celery juice, but he has rebranded it as something of a potent health tonic, or “a healing tool for every symptom and condition imaginable”, he says. If you’re unsure about Williams’s qualifications, he was, according to his biography, born with the ability to converse with the “Spirit of Compassion” and successfully diagnosed his grandmother with lung cancer when he was four years old. So there you go.
By email, he lists some of the ailments celery juice can treat, in what I presume is in order of sexiness: “Autoimmune conditions, acne, eczema, psoriasis, migraines, acid reflux, addictions, anxiety, depression, fatigue, weight issues, bloating, constipation.” (Though he does not offer any evidence to back this up.) The juice is also very “hydrating” – unsurprising, given celery is 95% water. Sadly, “sore back” is not listed, but I figure there’s no harm trying.
For a panacea that has recently seen a 454% increase in sales in the US, celery juice is surprisingly hard to find in the UK. I eventually track some down at Wild By Tart, a concept restaurant in central London, which sells 200ml of pure celery juice in neat reusable glass bottles for £2.75.
Williams suggests drinking it in the morning on an empty stomach, and waiting 15 minutes before eating anything else. Mixing it with other items of wellness – apple cider vinegar, collagen, activated charcoal – are vetoed. Nothing, he says, brings the “same benefits as 16oz [1 bunch, about 450ml] of pure, straight celery juice consumed on an empty stomach”. Hardier drinkers can go up to a litre a day. I stick to my 200ml and wait, for an absolution, or at least my back to stop hurting.
This is a food column so all benefits are meaningless if it tastes bad. The funny thing about celery is that it’s tricky to describe. Celery is a texture, a soup base, and a vehicle for peanut butter or cream cheese. Juiced, it mostly tastes of health and grass. It’s very pleasant. But, alas, my back still hurts.