Jennifer Hanway

Enliven Your Lightest, Brightest You.

Jennifer Hanway is a Holistic Nutritionist, Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer, originally from London but now living in Newton Centre and working in Back Bay, Boston.

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Ask Jenny: What's The Deal With Celery Juice?

I’m not using celery juice as a meal replacement or a cleanse but just to start my mornings and then continue normal eating throughout the day. Is this an okay thing to consume on an empty stomach? And do you think that drinking juices (opposed to blended and keeping the fiber) is beneficial? I do make smoothies most days to get closer to my 7-9 servings and the juicing would just be on top of that. Would love to hear your thoughts!
— Rachel, Boston

Celery juice - the wellness trend that just won’t quit! Just like its predecessors coconut oil and apple cider vinegar, celery juice is the wellness trend du jour, and just like these former wellness heavyweights its benefits are being touted as boosting detoxification, lowering inflammation, increasing weight loss, benefiting gut health, and even curing disease.

And just like most fads on the health and wellness scene, there is no scientific evidence for these claims. But, this doesn’t mean it does not have benefits for health, and the thousands of fans professing their love for the green stuff via the medium of social media certainly think it has its merits.

As a nutritionist the first question I ask when weighing up the validity of a wellness trend is ‘what do we know’? As I mentioned, there have been no clinical studies on the benefits of celery juice, but we do know that celery is rich in Vitamins A, C and K and minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, it can have alkalising properties for the body. and it has a high water content. This combination of natural electrolytes plus hydration is probably why people feel so great after drinking it!

But I know the question you really want answered is ‘should I drink it?’, and my answer is ‘why not!’ In this case there are no know negative effects of starting your day with celery juice, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence for its benefits, and as we know, if we start our day with a healthy habit, we are more likely to make positive choices for the rest of the day.

The two challenges I do have with this trend are as follows:

1) the unproven claims from its champion Anthony Williams (aka The Medical Medium) who does not have any nutrition or medical training, but instead receives spiritual visions that he translates into health recommendations that he says can cure anything from IBS to cancer.

2) the lack of fiber - a study  by the Institute of Medicine reports that the average American eats only 15 grams of fiber a day, which is ridiculously low and can lead to unstable blood sugar, weight gain and digestive issues. My first PRIME Principle is to eat 7-9 servings of vegetables and low GI fruit a day, so I would rather see people getting all the benefits of celery by eating it whole, or by adding it to a green smoothie.

To answer Rachel’s specific question, if she is getting her 7-9 servings a day, then is no reason why she shouldn’t see if the celery juice trend works for her. My personal recommendation is that the first thing that you should consume in the morning is a large glass of water (room temperature or warmer - I keep a mason jar on my bedside table and drink it before I even get out of bed), so start with that, then drink your celery juice should you wish!

Ask Jenny: How Do I Tell If I Have Poor Gut Health?

Hi Jenny, I’m wondering if the symptoms I have experiencing are due to my gut health: I get some gas and bloating when eating certain foods, feel like I can’t think clearly sometimes, and have some breakouts on my forehead that won’t clear. Are they related to each other, and to gut health? - A, Dubai

I’m going to say yes, and yes! Poor gut health has a myriad of symptoms that can sometimes feel unconnected, but all of the issues you mentioned can be related back to poor gut health.

When we talk about an ‘unhealthy gut’ we are really talking about the whole of the GI tract, mainly focussing on the small and large intestines. It is unhealthy when one or more of the following conditions occur:

  • Compromised intestinal permeability, aka Leaky Gut: this is when the walls of our (just one cell thick) GI Tract are damaged and inflamed, meaning food particles and toxins that would usually be filtered out get into the bloodstream, creating systemic inflammation and setting off an immune response

  • Microbiome Imbalance: our microbiome is the population of good and bad bacteria, mold and fungi that live within the mucus membrane that covers the wall of our GI tract. When these become imbalanced - i.e you have more bad than good bacteria, or when you have an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, this can cause health issues ranging from GI distress to brain fog, fatigue, nutrient malabsorption and food cravings.

The range of symptoms that can be attributed to poor gut health are numerous and varied, but the most common include: gas, bloating, stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea, brain fog, fatigue, weight gain or weight loss, acne, eczema, rosacea, thinning hair, weak nails, irregular periods and food cravings.

These symptoms can also be indicative of thyroid and/or hormonal imbalances, but as poor gut health can often be a cause/ contributor of these imbalances I am always recommend a protocol that heals the the gut first before moving on to other treatments.

My 28 Day Guided Gut Healing Program is designed for those experiencing these symptoms, or for those who want to reboot their health from its foundation. This program is now available to start anytime! For more information visit the link below:

Ask Jenny: How Do I Stop Overeating in the Evening?

I’m very good at staying on track with my diet during the day, but when it comes to my evening meal I tend to really overeat, often eating more than my husband, who is twice the size of me! I know this is really affecting my weight loss goals - can you help?
— A, New York

This question actually came to me via one of my Comprehensive Wellness Analysis patients at Russak Dermatology in NYC - she was incredible successful at sticking to her nutrition plan during the day, but was sabotaging her progress at by overeating at night. Below are the six strategies I recommended to help her stay on track:

1) Make sure you are eating enough during the day: evening hunger can often be due to not eating enough during the day, resulting in low blood sugar. This will mean that your body will want to restore the balance as quickly and as easily as possible, making you crave high carb, high sugar and high fat food. To prevent this try upping your portion sizes during the day, with the hierarchy of first adding more veggies, then more protein, then more fat, then more low GI carbs.

2) Have a mini meal in the afternoon: I recommend a minimum of 3 hours and a maximum of 4-5 hours between meals and snacks. This gives enough time for effective digestion, and for our bodies to utilize any carbohydrates within the meal so we switch over to fat burning mode, but not too much time that our blood sugar drops too low, which results in high cortisol (our stress hormone) and cravings for high carb foods (aka getting ‘hangry’). Quite often I find my clients going 7-8 hours between lunch and dinner, making them understandably ravenous at dinner time!

To prevent this add in a healthy snack (or as I prefer to call them a ‘mini meal’ - snacking has connotations of chips, cookies, candy, etc), such as hummus and veggie sticks, an apple and nut butter, a small smoothie, some jerky, or a real protein bar such as those from Epic, Bulletproof or Primal Kitchen Foods.

3) Enjoy Fibre Based Appetizers: I often do this whilst I am cooking or before a meal, and not only does it help up nutrient and fibre intake, but helps control my portion sizes during the meal too. Cut up some carrots, celery, peppers, jicama, tomatoes, etc, and have these on hand to snack on either whilst cooking, or before the meal, and I also love to add some Flackers, a flaxseed cracker that tastes great and helps to fill you up whilst still being low in calories. Having a big glass of water with these appetizers will help the fibre expand in the stomach, reducing appetite and benefiting your digestion. A light vegetable based soup will also have the same effect.

4) Add a daily Green Veggie Smoothie: this has been one of my tools for my weight loss and detox clients for years, and is something I implement if I find I am nowhere near my PRIME Principle of 8-9 servings of veggies and low GI fruit a day. Simply blend together 2 handfuls of spinach or kale, 1/2 zucchini, a little avocado, 1/2 peeled lemon or lime and 1/2 an apple if you need some sweetness, with 2 cups of chilled water. This will boost your nutrient and fibre intake for the day, and help to balance hunger hormones and curb your appetite.

5) Serve in the kitchen, take to the table: this is one of those practical solutions that is so easy, but that we never think of! If food is in front of us, we are wired to eat - its a biological response for survival. Simply by serving yourself in the kitchen with one plate of food and then taking that to your dinner table you will automatically reduce the amount that you are eating, remove temptation, and make it easier to monitor portion sizes.

6) Wait at least 20 minutes before having more: it can take at least 20 minutes for the brain to register that you have eaten, so don’t rush back to the kitchen for more the second you finishing your first serving! We can also disrupt the satiety signals to the brain if we do not chew our food properly, or if we are distracted whilst eating (put down your phones whilst eating please), so practice only eating whilst sitting down (ideally not at your desk), not using your phone whilst eating, and putting your knife and fork down between bites.

Do you have a question for me that you would like answered on the blog? Simply email to be featured - and you can totally stay anonymous if you wish!

All products mentioned in this post are available from Thrive Market - use the link below to save 25% on your first order:

Ask Jenny: Collagen for Vegans?

Olivia asks: 

My question for you was in reference to collagen powders. I've looked into them briefly but it doesn't seem like vegan options are easy to come by. Are you aware of any companies making vegan collagen, or what I should be using as an alternative? Especially following your recipes, I'm wondering if an extra scoop of protein powder is sufficient or is collagen is altogether different?

Such a great question Olivia!

Let's start by qualifying what collagen powder is made from - collagen is actually the most abundant protein in the body, and is found throughout all connective tissues in humans and animals. Collagen protein is typically made from the connective tissues of cows, therefore making it totally unsuitable for vegans! Vital Proteins does make a Marine Collagen made from fish scales for those of you who follow a pescatarian diet.

However, all is not lost for those of you wanting the gut healing and skin beautifying benefits of collagen whilst following a vegan diet. Collagen is considered a 'complete' protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids, but we have to remember that all types of protein (plant and animal) break down into amino acids in the body. So as long as vegans are having a variety of plant-based proteins in their diet, they will be ensuring they get all the building blocks to manufacture collagen within the body. 

Plant-based protein powders (pea, hemp, rice) can help vegans up their protein intake, especially if they find their diet on the lower side, or if they are doing a lot of exercise. Vegan diets can typically be pretty carbohydrate heavy, so my tip here would be to increase the amount of plant protein you are consuming, eat more low carb vegetables such as leafy greens (yes, even vegans can eat more veggies), and be aware of the amount of 'deliberate carbs' (carbs you add to a meal) they are consuming. 

Vegans and non-vegans alike can also up their intake of foods that help promote natural collagen production in the body such as avocados, walnuts, flaxseed and strawberries - all super delicious options!

My Collagen Crusader Smoothie is designed to promote natural collagen production in the body and is packed with gut and skin loving protein and great fats! 

Collagen Crusader Smoothie

  • 1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder

  • 1 tablespoon walnut butter

  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed

  • ¼ ripe avocado

  • ½ cup strawberries (keep the tops on)

  • 1.5 cups hemp seed milk

Blend until smooth.