The American chain Pressed Juicery also added bottled celery juice to its menu a few months ago. When I recently asked the cashier at one of its New York locations if it had been popular, her eyes widened. “Yes. Extremely,” she said. I was there to try celery juice for myself. It cost $6.50 and tasted like celery. I don’t know what I was expecting.
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Sloan, for her part, wasn’t expecting much, but was also hoping she was wrong. “It could help rebuild my immune system, which is terrible right now,” she says. “At the very least, I’ll be more hydrated.” After an accident last winter, she has had five surgeries and been on months of antibiotics, and although skeptical about the promised benefits, she felt open-minded about trying something that seemed, at worst, totally innocuous.
And that’s just the mix of emotions and circumstances that can make nutritional trends so tempting—and that medical-adjacent gurus might capitalize on. As strange as “Celery juice is a miraculous health elixir” sounds, the way it’s become a burgeoning trend might be even stranger.
Anthony William calls himself the “Medical Medium.” He has 1 million Instagram followers and the affection of the kingmaking wellness website Goop, which has published him expounding at length on the topic of celery juice. By his description, the upsides of drinking the juice daily (always by itself, always first thing in the morning, always before eating or drinking anything else) border on the magical. William lacks any sort of medical or scientific training or certification, according to the legal disclaimers on his website and his Goop contributions, but he claims a spirit he’s been in contact with since childhood has given him knowledge of health and wellness beyond what science can confirm.
No matter whose interest in celery juice I try to trace back to its source, it always ends up with William, and in his writings, he also claims to be the trend’s originator.
William did not return my requests for comment, and he seems not to engage frequently with traditional press. He’s written three books and has built a considerable following across social-media platforms and his own website, where he offers paid phone consultations to sick followers for hundreds of dollars apiece, according to the journalist Rae Paoletta. In addition to that, he uses revenue-generating Amazon affiliate links extensively, including to 177 nutritional supplements and additives he recommends.
The Medical Medium website also features testimonials from A-list celebrities such as Robert De Niro and Naomi Campbell. I wasn’t able to independently confirm these specific endorsements, but there’s no question William has his admirers in Hollywood. Goop, which has significantly raised William’s profile, is owned by the actor Gwyneth Paltrow. A reporter for InStyle heard the actors Debra Messing and Allison Janney discussing their adherence to William’s celery-juice regimen at a party in August. They also follow him on Instagram.