I drank celery juice first thing in the morning for two weeks straight to explore its impact on gut health. Here’s what happened.
In my last post on celery juice, we took a look at celery juice. The hype, health myths and actual research behind its measurable benefits.
Now I’m spilling the beans on my experience and conclusions of undergoing “The Celery Challenge”. Where for two weeks straight, I started each and every morning with a big glass of pure celery juice to see what happened.
We’re also going to take a look at the link between celery juice and gut health, the nutritional significance of when you consume celery juice and whether or not you should consider undergoing the celery challenge.
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What is the Celery Challenge?
Earlier this year, I was invited by Clean Juice Lexington Square to participate in a local Celery Juice Challenge after Clean Juice launched its new line of cold-pressed celery juice.
If you’re not familiar with The Celery Challenge, it’s pretty straight forward. For a set number of days, you drink fresh celery juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
The benefits are supposed to include a variety of nutritional boosts and perks. And, like we discovered in my post Celery Juice: Worth It or Overhyped?, celery and celery juice do indeed have some very measurable nutritional benefits have to offer.
One of my greatest interests in celery juice revolves around some of the testimonials about it that I’ve read online from individuals with GI issues. They reported personal improvements in gut health or healing and better daily quality of life after incorporating celery juice.
After I published my last blog post on celery juice, I received some similar comments from readers on the post and Instagram; people with sensitive guts seemed to love the results they were experiencing from celery juice!
I was more than intrigued at this point. If celery juice was safe, practical and might have some positive digestive perks, I was up for giving The Celery Challenge a go.
The Type of Juice I Used
The celery challenge I was asked to take part in was a one-week challenge to drink 8-16oz of celery juice each morning for seven days in a row. I opted for an attainable goal of 8oz per day.
I swung by my local Clean Juice and picked up my cold pressed celery juices.
We covered the calorie and macro count for plain celery juice in my previous post on celery juice, but just for the sake of clarification, I wanted to double check the nutritional info on Clean Juice’s celery juice blend.
One 8oz serving of their cold-pressed celery juice contains 31 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein.
Along with that considerably low calorie, fat and carb count, that also packs a solid boost of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from the fresh lemon and celery.
Knowing that, I felt quite confident in adding it into my weekly meal plan, without any concern that it would hinder my macro-nutrient goals for each day.
My Celery Challenge Experience
I was very excited to get started. I woke up, cracked open my first bottle of celery juice and poured myself an 8oz glass.
I’ve had celery juice on its own in the past. Not everyone loves it. To be honest, I really don’t mind it plain. But I did enjoy the extra zing of flavor from the added pop of lemon juice in Clean Juice’s blend.
You could also totally do this challenge with plain celery juice. If you’re wondering what it tastes like, go grab a piece of celery and take a bite. Then imagine that in liquid form. Exactly the same.
Since my goal was to consume 8oz of celery juice each day, I was able to split each of my 16oz bottles into a two-day supply of juicy goodness.
So on day two, I slunk into my kitchen in my bathrobe and fuzzy slippers (because I’m glamorous like that) and poured myself another tall glass of the green stuff. So far I hadn’t noticed any radical differences in my body from my two-day streak of celery juicing.
It definitely helped fill me up faster, and I found myself only having one cup of morning coffee with breakfast rather than my usual two. I also felt good knowing I was starting my day with an extra boost of nutrients-dense hydration.
I’ll be honest. I did not remember to drink my celery juice first time in the morning on an empty stomach.
I definitely drank it second thing. When I remembered that I had completely forgotten about it halfway through my breakfast. Deep inside, I could hear my conscience waving a stick of celery, chanting “shame, shame, shame”.
Although it did bring up a valid question: Did it really make a huge difference when I drank it in the day so long as I actually drank it each day?
Keep reading, because I’m actually going to discuss a deeper dive on the link between celery juice and digestive health (and the relevancy of when you consume it) further down in this post. It’s very relevant to the overall validity of these types of challenges.
In light of the previous day’s blunder, I put a sticky note on my refrigerator the night before. It read very clear instructions of “DRINK THE JUICE”, which my early morning self was able to do this time prior to eggs or coffee.
Why a sticky note and not a magnet?
Because, after we bought our house, it turned out our refrigerator doors weren’t magnetized. So most days, sadly, my refrigerator door is an abstract art gallery of random finger prints and smudges instead of pictures and alphabet magnets.
But I digress.
I was feeling good about getting into a rhythm with working celery juice into my morning routine. Four days down and three more to go!
The sticky note was still there, but I didn’t even need it this time. I knew straight where I was headed when I woke up that day.
I had my mind on my juice and my juice on my mind.
Also the valid question of how I should answer people in the gym that week if the question should arise of “what I on the juice?”
Why yes, Carol. Yes, I was on the juice. The celery juice. And I was liking it.
On day six, I was in a bit of a hurry to get out the door and on the way to work.
Since I was a little pressed for time, I grabbed my juice, my purse and lunch bag and was out the door in a jiffy. I enjoyed my juice on my morning drive to work.
Which helped answer some of my earlier pondering on how realistic it would be to regularly incorporate celery juice into my routine. Even on a busy day, it wasn’t hard to squeeze in.
I was out of Clean Juice celery juice! I had meant to swing by the shop day before and pick up another bottle but had completely forgotten. Would this be the end of my celery streak?
No, Carol. It would not.
Because I remembered, I actually had some fresh celery in my refrigerator! It was leftover from my celery experimentation the week before!
Quickly as I could, I whipped out my juicer, jammed some celery into it and squeezed out an even 16 ounces. Down the hatch it went on an empty stomach. And just like that, complete was my celery week steak.
Two Weeks Later
Although my initial challenge goal was to drink celery juice every morning for one week straight, I decided to double down and try it again the following week.
Part of the original one-week challenge (and what some other bloggers and celebrities seem to swear by) was the magical formula of drinking it “first thing on an empty stomach” every morning.
Since I’d missed one morning getting it in “on an empty stomach”, the following week I did another round. This time, I made by own celery juice at home using my own juicer. It was easier to remember each day after having established the habit into my routine the week before.
So how did I feel when all was said and done?
Well, to be honest, it’s hard (if not nearly impossible) to see much of any significant transformation from incorporating one nutritional component in only a week. Even two is a bit of a stretch.
For more accurate trial and comparison, you would probably need to go for at least a month, paying attention and documenting any changes in your digestive symptoms as you went.
But I did thoroughly enjoy my experience.
I helped my get in an extra boost of nutrients and hydration first thing in the morning. It also gave me a sense of accomplishment and drive in my eating habits the rest of the day when I started out on the right foot.
But what about these different celebrities and bloggers singing the praises of religiously drinking celery juice on an empty stomach for gut health? Is there anything to support those claims from a research standpoint? Or whether or not the timing of drinking it first thing in the morning is relevant to the absorption of nutrients?
Celery Juice & Digestive Health
In my article Celery Juice: Worth It or Overhyped?, we took a deep-dive look into nutritional research behind celery.
In that article, we learned there are no reputable medical studies or scientific findings to support claims that celery juice alone can cure serious ailments or medical conditions.
But this experience actually inspired me to begin investigating the potential perks of celery juice on digestive health when consumed on a more regular basis. While celery (and celery juice) isn’t a miracle cure to gut health, it turns out that celery juice possesses (in addition to some great vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) a range of natural enzymes.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember the IGTV video I posted talking about digestive enzymes and their very important role in our digestive health.
Here’s why that matters in terms of your digestive health.
Digestive enzymes are part of what helps us breakdown, digest and absorb our food. Our body naturally produces enzymes throughout the digestive tract, but there are factors that can reduce or inhibit the amount of enzymes our bodies produce (which could possibly hinder healthy digestion).
Many Americans suffer from low stomach acidity and poor digestive health (two things that actually go hand-in-hand). Low stomach acidity means that your body isn’t able to efficiently breakdown and digest food. This can lead to symptoms of digestive distress (gas, bloating, constipation, poor absorption of nutrients, etc.).
Certain kinds of fruits and vegetables posses enzymes. Consuming these foods can aid in naturally boosting low stomach acidity, which can be extremely helpful to our digestive tract. Celery is one of them.
You can actually buy concentrated enzyme supplements (celery enzymes, pineapple, papaya, etc.) and consume them with meals to help aid digestion. Or you could simply try incorporating more of those types of foods into your diet (and also benefit from all the additional nutrients in those whole foods).
Gut health in the average American diet leaves a lot to be desired. The overall lack of fruits and vegetables in the average American diet could very likely be a contributing factor (the USDA food consumption surveys have found that the average American falls short in consuming the minimal recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables).
So for an average American struggling with digestive health, a better question might be what did their dietary intake of foods rich in digestive enzymes look like before they started guzzling a glass of celery juice every morning?
Were they making a conscious effort to include a variety of enzyme-rich foods in their diet on a daily basis? For many individuals out there struggling with gut health, I’d be willing to wager the answer is no.
Does that discredit the valid experiences of improved gut health people have experienced by incorporating a daily glass of celery juice? Of course not. Improvements in digestive health are always a wonderful thing. And if celery juice was the thing that helped get them there, that’s great!
But could they have reaped similar results and benefits by making a conscious effort to consume celery and other enzyme-rich foods on a regular basis? More than likely, yes.
Do You have to Drink Celery Juice on an Empty Stomach?
Like I mentioned earlier, although the challenge involved drinking the juice first thing on an empty stomach, is there a greater nutritional benefit to drinking celery then as opposed to another time of day, like the afternoon or evening?
There is no substantial research to support that drinking celery juice on an empty stomach in the morning is better for you than consuming it any other time of day.
In fact, many of the research studies on the benefits of celery that have been conducted haven’t been on celery juice. They’re based on the nutrients extracted from celery seeds or celery leaves.
It would be difficult (if not impossible) to measure exactly how much nutrients your body will absorb from that juice vs how much will be excreted from the body. Absorption can differ from person to person and vary based on individual gut health.
Would your body still be able to absorb and utilize the nutrients from that celery juice if you drank it in the afternoon or evening? Yes. It will absorb what it’s able to absorb and excrete what is doesn’t.
Should You Drink Celery Juice?
Now believe it or not, I’m not against incorporating celery juice into a balanced nutrition routine. It’s a low-sugar, low-calorie juice that provides a positive boost of vitamins, minerals, anti oxidants and natural enzymes.
If you enjoy incorporating it into your diet (I do, especially in smoothies), go for it!
What I want is for you to be informed about your nutritional choices. To know why you are incorporating something and the realistic benefits it has to offer your body.
Because that knowledge is an extremely empowering tool and will aid you in making more informed choices in your health journey (and avoid feeling confined to nutritional superstitions like “it only works if you drink it on an empty stomach”).
Final Thoughts on The Celery Challenge
After having undergone the celery challenge, would I recommend it to other people? Sure.
The celery challenge might just be for you if you’re looking to:
- Incorporate more enzyme-rich foods into your nutrition routine
- Shake things up to break through a rut in your current health and fitness routine
- Just looking to try out a new habit to help add some extra nutrients into their day
Since trying out the celery challenge, I’ve enjoyed incorporating celery (both in whole and juice form) more regularly into my diet than I had before. I don’t stress about what time of day I incorporate it and just enjoy it as an additional boost of wholesome nutrients in my day.
Have you ever done the celery challenge? Or discovered something that really helped make a positive improvement in your own digestive health? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below!
Related Juice and Nutritional Articles:
- I Tried Taking Collagen for a Month
- I Tried Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day
- I Tried a 1-Day Juice Cleanse with Clean Juice
- 8 Ways to Eliminate Bloating
- Fruit-Infused Water: The Benefits, Myths and 20 Fruit Water Recipes
All writing copyright © 2019 Rachel Elise Woods. All images taken by Rachel Elise Woods copyright © 2019 Rachel Elise Woods. Images from Clean Juice shared with permission by Clean Juice Lexington Square.
Originally published 08-08-2019. Updated 10-21-2020.