Let celery work its magic

Well, that was a pretty intense few months! I don’t know how you have been, but things got pretty frantic in Organico for a while. We didn’t close, because we are very aware that we are a source of essential food and medicines, but we did restructure our days and hours. For a while we closed on Mondays but we are back to six days again now. We are opening later in the morning and closing earlier in the evening than before Covid though, to allow us to perform our new cleaning routine while the doors are closed.

Even though it does feel like life is beginning to return to normal, it seems to me that there’s a lot of residual anxiety and uncertainty around. Most of us really want to get back to our lives as they were, but at the same time we are aware that so much has changed, and we can’t help wondering about how it all will work out in the future. 

On the health front, we are so lucky it’s summer and we have an abundance of fresh fruit and veg around, not to mention all the salads we are all growing in our back gardens, so it’s a really good time to nourish yourself and your family with fresh, healthy food. And I don’t know about you, but I have certainly been comfort eating for the last few months! And don’t mention wine. So for me it’s time to take a break from a few things and make a few positive changes. 

This is all a way of explaining why I’ve been drinking freshly juiced organic celery juice every morning for the past month! This might seem a bit strange, but stay with me. 

The #celeryjuice craze is something that started in the US, like so many trends do, and it’s driven primarily by the work of an author called Anthony Williams. Williams is not a GP, and I’m really not sure of the basis of some of the claims he makes in his books (the list of ailments celery juice is meant to cure is very long). However, I didn’t decide to try this because of anything he wrote, in fact I hadn’t even heard of him at all when I started juicing it. What got me started was actually all the customers and some of my friends who were coming in and asking for whole boxes of celery for juicing, week after week. Out of curiosity I asked what they were up to, and the reports of how they were feeling were so positive I thought I would give it a try. 

You will need one head of organic celery per person, a juicer (ideally a masticating juicer, which does not destroy the enzymes, but use whatever you have) and about 20 minutes to make your juice and clean up afterward. First wash and trim the celery (just trip off the bare minimum, you want to juice almost all of it), then break the stalks off and juice them. Sip the juice slowly on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, and then wait 30 minutes before having breakfast. At first I juiced even the green leaves – often our celery in Organico has a lot of green leaves – but they make the juice a little bitter, so more recently I am adding them into meals or making pesto with them, and just juicing the stalks.

Here’s some quotes from Williams on the benefits of drinking celery juice (he is so enthusiastic I had to quote him somewhere):

“Drinking celery juice is the simplest of measures, so simple that people often write it off as too easy to make a difference in how they feel….While green juice blends can be very healing, there is nothing that equals the simple power of pure celery juice. It is as healing, transformational, and life-changing as it gets — and that’s due to its complex nutritional makeup, which needs to be left undisturbed to work its magic.”

“Fresh celery juice is one of the most powerful and healing juices one can drink. Just 16 oz of fresh celery juice a day can transform your health and digestion in as little as one week. Celery juice is an alkalizing, enzyme-rich, electrolyte-enhancing, liver-repairing, blood-sugar-balancing, antiseptic, strongly alkaline and anti-inflammatory drink.” 

Personally, I find it hugely invigorating, I’m feeling lighter, more energetic and have way less sugar cravings during the day. I’ve given up drinking wine, as the lockdown evening glass had become too close to a daily habit for me, and I’ve also drastically reduced sugar in my diet, and I am finding this much easier than I expected to. 

While researching the phenomenon online I found that celery is part of the Apiaceae family, which includes carrots, parsnips, parsley, and celeriac. The fibre in celery can benefit the digestive and cardiovascular systems, and celery contains antioxidants that may play a role in preventing disease. Celery also contains a plant compound called apigenin, which plays a role in traditional Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant agent. 

According to Williams, the benefits of celery juice are in the sodium cluster salts that are naturally present in the juice. He reassures sufferers of high blood sugar that these salts are not harmful to them, and in one of his blog posts he describes how the juice (containing these salts) clean and detoxify their way through you, from the mouth onwards, in effect cleaning as they go. It’s a vivid picture. 

One thing to be aware of, should you wish to try celery juice, is that it is pretty strong on the stomach the first few times you drink it. You might even think you have a dodgy stomach, so perhaps try it first on a day you are working from home! I’m not sure why, but this effect can sometimes occur a few days in – the first day or two can be fine. So perhaps if you have a delicate stomach, start with half a glass or even quarter of a glass first and work up to the large 16oz glass Williams recommends over a week or 10 days.

While Williams is  completely OTT and I’m not sure about the science behind his claims, I think it’s important to not throw the baby out with the bathwater! I like to keep an open mind and all I can say is, I feel better every day I drink this juice, and so do other people I’m talking to. So for now I’m keeping it up, because it seems a very easy way of feeling better! 

Have a great summer everyone. 

Find us online at www.organico.ie and on Instagram and Facebook, and join our mailing list on our homepage for regular recipes, updates and healthy news!

Hannah Dare

Hannah Dare co-runs Organico, the café, bakery and health shop in Bantry, West Cork.

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