To put it lightly, sh*t’s been weird these past eight months. If you think back to a year or two ago, we would leave our houses with a terrible cold without a second thought. (TBH, we’d even go out to the bar on antibiotics because “alcohol kills the germs”.) Now, you probably look back at your past self and wonder how you ever went through the day without washing your hands after every surface you touched, or ever stood less than six feet apart from a stranger.
Wellness has had a big year, to say the least. A lot of the changes we’ve seen have been good (i.e. hand washing, virtual workouts—more of that, please!), but some have been just plain bizarre. Let’s take a look at some of the weirder wellness trends that have popped up while we ask ourselves, “Who is actually doing this?!”
1. Bee-Venom Therapy
One of the weirdest things to gain popularity in 2020 is bee-venom therapy, which claims that being stung by bees heals old or current injuries. Interesting; if I knew that, I wouldn’t have spent so much time running away from bees, screaming. BTER Foundation says that, “Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) is the therapeutic use of honey bee venom, either injected by stings from live bees or injected by needles.” It’s a practice that has been used for ages, but has recently become a topic of conversation and up for consideration for some since watching Netflix’s (Un)Well. Getting stung by bees sounds more like a form of torture than therapy to me, but sure, let’s go with it. Beyond this form of therapy, bee venom itself can be found in the ingredients in skin care and other topical products. IDK, I thought the point was to save the bees, not to slather their venom on our skin.
2. CBD Everywhere
There is literally CBD everywhere now. You can find CBD in drinks, snacks, lotions, bath bombs… the list goes on and on. Although CBD has been around for a while, we’re seeing it in more random sh*t than ever before as of late, and I gotta be honest, some of this stuff feels like a reach.
Like, there are activewear brands that sell CBD-infused leggings and sports bras. The infused fabrics are strategically placed throughout the garments to align with your major muscle groups. As you workout, the micro-capsules open to release CBD. Yes, CBD does help with muscle pain, but are you really going to feel it from your leggings? No studies have been done on the effectiveness of CBD clothing, so we can’t say for sure. Worst-case scenario, you get some cute leggings, I guess.
But it doesn’t stop at leggings; CBD has even made its way into our toilet paper. And you thought the wildest 2020 toilet paper craze would be about the hoarding. I see your toilet paper hoarding of 2020, and I raise you: CBD-infused toilet paper. This TP says it “may relieve feelings of anxiety or improve quality of sleep.” I’ll stick with my gummies, thanks.
3. Ice Baths
Voluntarily freezing oneself in a body of water or shower is a wellness trend that’s having a resurgence we haven’t seen since the Ice Bucket Challenge. Although ice baths have been used in many different forms for years, they have grown in popularity during a time where most of us are concerned about their immune systems, thanks to Wim Hof, aka “The Iceman.” Gwyneth Paltrow featured Wim Hof’s methods on her Netflix series, The Goop Lab With Gwyneth Paltrow.
The ice baths have been credited with everything from optimizing athletic performance, to improving immunity, to managing symptoms of chronic disease and more.
“Your vessels constrict because of the cold and open back up when your body warms up after the ice bath. This process helps to flush metabolic waste from your body, while also getting oxygen and nutrients to your muscles,” Hof’s website says. If you can’t give up your hot showers, the good news is that there hasn’t been a ton of research done on this particular method, and there are many other ways to improve immunity.
4. Ear Seeds
If your eyes are the window to your soul, your ears are apparently the gateway to wellness. They have pressure points that can help with issues such as chronic pain, migraines, and anxiety. (Anyone who’s gotten acupuncture in their ears can relate.) There are also pressure points that assist in quitting smoking and weight loss. Since 2020 has been the year of bettering ourselves in the health and wellness aspects, ear seeds are a godsend.
I know what you’re thinking: WTF are ear seeds? They’re not just a tiny addition of sparkle you add to your ear. They’re literally small seeds used to stimulate pressure points in your ear. It’s like a type of acupuncture, but without the needles. Basically, you stick them on your ears, wear them for a few days, and, depending on the location you place them, they can help with all sorts of physical and mental issues. Whether for actual wellness needs or for a trendy accessory, wellness gurus and influencers alike have been sporting this cute accessory all throughout this past year.
5. Celery Juice
Celery juice is quite simple to understand. It’s literally just juiced celery, though some people add lemon or other fruit to get the dirt and grass taste out of it. This juice cleanse is supposed to help improve the function of the digestive tract, working as a natural laxative (sounds like a nightmare, yet intriguing ). It’s a cleanse many use daily, but according to Parsley Health, although there’s no harm in downing celery juice daily, it does not have much scientific backing yet—just a sh*t load of praise from celery juice addicts.
Image: rukxstockphoto / Shutterstock.com
You’ve definitely been there: scrolling through your Instagram feed, seeing more people than you can count talking (or posting) about celery juice. The green concoction has had quite the moment over the past two years, and there are no signs of the trend slowing down anytime soon. But why?
There’s a lot of skepticism surrounding both the celery juice trend and juicing in general—and rightfully so. You might be asking yourself, is it worth it? Why should I even consider drinking this? Granted, if you don’t love celery, then it might be difficult for you to get on board with this from the start. Celery juice has been credited with helping everything from bloating to psoriasis, which is a lot for a first-time juicer to take in and trust. I bet you’re wondering whether any of this is true, what the benefits are, and if making this an addition to your lifestyle is actually worth it.
Well, don’t worry. I’m here to break it down for you from A to Z. Before sipping on a glass of celery juice, read this.
Consuming any kind of green juice—not just celery juice—is great for your overall health. If you feel like you’re struggling to get the right nutrients with your meals, then it’s time to consider regular juicing. Rather than replacing your go-to meals with a glass of green juice or celery juice, add juices to your regular meal plan instead. Greens are loaded with vitamins and minerals, and can only be beneficial to your diet. One of the biggest benefits gained from juicing is the ability to slow down the aging process by preventing free radical cell damage to the skin. For example, Vitamin A, found in kale and spinach, promotes healthy and glowing skin, hair, and nails.
I will add, though, that juicing your fruits and vegetables means that you’re losing out on some of the benefits you get from eating them. Fiber, for example, is not as strongly present in juices as it is in whole veggies. With that being said, juicing is a great way to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, but that doesn’t mean it’s a replacement for eating them.
What does this green liquid even do? The truth is, celery is loaded with a ton of benefits to begin with. These include digestion support, anti-inflammatory effects, a ton of antioxidants, and even hormone balance. If you’re looking to de-bloat, trying celery juice wouldn’t hurt. If you’re aware that you have a hormonal imbalance, I’d suggest trying it out and seeing how it affects you.
One thing that people like to note is that celery contains the cancer-fighting chemical compound luteolin, but I wouldn’t call it a “miracle food” myself. A 2017 study found that luteolin has anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties. And a 2019 study found that luteolin also has anti-diabetic properties, working to maintain blood glucose levels and improve the sensitivity of our cells to insulin so that they’re encouraged to work properly. The thing is, though, that there’s not enough research to officially declare that celery has these healing effects.
Making Your Juice
Since celery juice is only made with a single ingredient, it’s super easy for you to make at home. Making it at home rather than stocking up at your local juice bar is also a great way to save some cash. If you have a juicer at home, great—but you don’t need one to do this in the comfort of your own kitchen. A high-speed blender works just as well and will give you that refreshing, crisp taste everyone loves.
If you don’t shop organic, you absolutely must wash your celery before juicing it, because it’s one of the vegetables with the highest amount of pesticides if non-organic. When making your juice, throw in an entire celery bunch (with the stalks included) to get the most benefits out of it. You’ll just need to strain it afterward (a nut milk strainer bag works great) to remove the pulp.
To wrap this all up, I’ll say that I think any green veggie juice is amazing. You can’t go wrong with it. But do I think it solves everything when it comes to health? Not really. It actually seems unlikely at all, to be 100 percent honest!
We don’t want to get carried away. We should be eating these foods regularly to have a balance of all nutrients in our diets, but juice is just an added boost that won’t hurt us. If you do decide to take on juicing, but have a poor diet and aren’t active, then it’s not going to do as much as you hope. Your overall lifestyle and nutrition habits will always be the number one thing to affect your health, and you’ll have to put in the work to see the results.
Image: Sophie Mikat / Unsplash
Nicole Nam has a Bachelors of Science in Public Health Nutrition Specialization and a Masters of Science in Kinesiology. She has a personal training certification from the American Council of Exercise, and has trained a variety of clients, including a contestant in this year’s Miss Nevada competition. Follow her on Instagram here.
Before we even get into the nitty gritty of this article, I want to really quickly touch on something that recently happened in the fitness influencer world. This past week, a huge IG fitness influencer, Brittany Dawn, made headlines for scamming her followers out of hundreds of dollars by selling them what was supposed to be “personalized” workout and meal plans but instead were just basically the standard fitness ebooks. A word of warning: please do your research on the person you’re “hiring” to become your trainer! Even if they’re online. Choose quality over appearance—some people look good and don’t have the certification or training themselves to be able to spot correct form or even guide you on proper movement.
That being said, I would love to tell you that every fitness product being promoted and sold on IG is legitimate. I get it, there are so many products that look so damn good, but they just don’t make any sense. Trust me, I’ve tried quite a few products myself out of curiosity. I’m here to give you the full review on some trendy fitness products that I’ve tried over the years and whether they work (spoiler: most don’t) and the “science” behind the products (or, more accurately, lack thereof).
1. Weight Loss Protein Powder
I’ll start with this: there was this one particular protein powder that was DELICIOUS. For fear of legal repercussions I can’t really, like, name-name them…but it was a UK-based company and every IG influencer was at one point promoting the living crap out of it. Good marketing, as we will come to learn, does not a good product make. I did further research on said product, and found out that their whole nutrition label was a potentially (most likely?) a lie. As in, their shakes allegedly contained wayyy more carbs, and less protein, than were disclosed on the label.
That said, I used the protein powder as a post-workout supplement and NOT as a meal replacement, and it provided a better alternative for a sweet tooth craving (because this powder did taste really, REALLY good). I do not suggest ever using protein powder as a meal replacement if the powder is considered to be a low-calorie, fat burning powder with a high caffeine content. Also, the FDA does not regulate these supplement claims, so whatever you see on the nutrition labels and the miracle working promises are all up to the discretion of the company…meaning they could easily bullsh*t the whole thing. This applies for ALL supplements for sale in the USA, like in your GNC stores and stuff, not just the products you see on Instagram. The more you know.
2. Waist Trainer
I truly blame the Kardashians for this trend. A waist trainer basically makes you sweat more in your midsection, which is great… but SWEAT IS NOT FAT. Sweat is water mixed with tiny amounts of ammonia, salt and sugar molecules. So just because you sweat more does not mean you’re losing fat. If sweating more motivates you to work harder (it happens), then by all means. Just know that that’s not fat that’s seeping out from your pores.
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Now, I won’t lie…I do use a waist trainer, but not for the same reasons it’s being marketed for. I use a waist trainer as a back support for certain exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and certain abdominal exercises. If you want to use one, for whatever reason, I suggest using ones that do not have hard boning as that can restrict your movement and breathing.
3. Detox Tea
Good ol’ poop tea. That’s all that it is, and you could literally get it at an Asian supermarket for a fraction of the price. It’s called like, the Ballerina Dieter’s Tea or something like that, but I swear it’s been in Asian culture—or at least in MY Asian family’s culture—for ages. We whip it out whenever someone can’t, ya know, go.
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So, yes, I use detox tea and I grew up around it (although the packaging was way less sexy)…BUT there’s something inherently very dangerous about people using laxative products to lose weight, because that’s actually a form of purging, so I advise caution. I think these teas are great for when you need them (aka when you are constipated), but do you REALLY need to detox everyday for 14 days as per most detox tea “instructions”? No, you don’t. I wouldn’t use them for 3 days straight, let alone 14. Using even a mild form of laxative for that long just cannot be good for your digestive system. At the end of the day, you want to still be able to go without any help, right? Don’t do it.
4. Appetite Suppressant Coffee Creamer
What a novel f*cking concept. So novel, in fact, I bought one at my local Gelson’s and I don’t even normally use creamer in my coffee (guess I was feeling spend-y that day). Remember when I talked about products that don’t make sense? This is one of them. So the creamer has ingredients such as hoodia and green tea extract that are in a lot of popular fat burner pills. The main ingredient is coconut oil, which is arguably better than your Coffee-Mate bullsh*t.
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I stuck to the serving size which is a measly 2 teaspoons and the only difference it made was turn my coffee from black to a dark milky brown. I prefer my coffee black anyway, but there was literally no noticeable change in the taste of my coffee. I tried it three times and threw the bottle out, because it was useless. I mean, it barely made a change in my coffee so it’s definitely not doing anything for my body. Save your money, and learn to like your coffee without all the cream and sugar. All the caffeine without any of the crap.
5. Celery Juice
I swear, people are always trying to find a way to juice something. I can’t throw a bigger eye roll at this trend. This sh*t blew up on IG, and now EVERYONE is drinking neon green juice in the morning that is completely FIBERLESS and actually just like 90% water anyway. The dude who started off this trend is a health “guru” who is neither certified nor trained, btw, but claims to hear a voice that tells him about other people’s health status. He literally just started drinking the sh*t one day when he was 8 years old because he said a “voice” told him to. Is that who you want to take health advice from? Like, really?
There is absolutely no science backing celery juice as anything else but mostly water, because duh, celery is made up of mostly water. Unless you’re drinking this because you enjoy the taste (and let’s face it, you don’t), I suggest you stop juicing celery and start eating it whole because the fiber is the most valuable part of the celery. And PLEASE PEOPLE, stop trying to juice everything like you don’t have time to eat the actual fruit or vegetable. You’re not that busy, sweetie.