I went to the medical center recently for my physical. The doctor made a comment that an annual exam doesn’t mean every three years, but I feel healthy and didn’t see the need to rush.

The good news is that my blood work is excellent and my blood pressure is fantastic. The bad news is that I’m shrinking! When did this happen? I was always one of the tallest kids in my class. I was a normal-sized adult. Now I am more than two inches shorter! At this rate, I’ll be lucky if I can see over the steering wheel next year.

I am a healthy, active vegetarian. I eat chocolate every day, consume eggs and dairy products during the week and mostly drink water. I never jumped on the kale bandwagon and usually don’t pay attention to food fads or youthful potions. But this shrinking business got my attention.

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At least four times this week, I read articles about the wonderous benefits of celery juice. Celery almost seems like a non-vegetable. A celery stalk is offered to keep the kids quiet before Thanksgiving dinner. I remember making “ants on a log” with my kindergarten class—a celery stick filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins. But, like everything else in this world, celery is making a comeback.

On the radio this morning, I heard another report on the soaring popularity of celery juice. In trendy juice bars and health food stores, a glass of freshly made celery juice is now selling for up to $8 each! Celery contains vitamins C and K, as well as folate, potassium and magnesium. Celery juice promotes gut-health, liver detoxifying and anti-inflammatory benefits. Celery contains minerals and mineral salts to help boost digestion, absorption and utilization of the foods you eat.

According to my celery research, drinking 8 to 16 ounces of fresh celery juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach can improve digestion issues as well as support heart health and the nervous system. 

Years ago, Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda was a popular soft drink sold in delis around the NYC metropolitan area. This kosher beverage contains carbonated water, citric acid, high fructose corn syrup and extract of celery seed. Lots of people thought it was a healthy tonic.

As a small child, I remember seeing TV commercials for Geritol. This product was promoted for older folks to boost energy and good health. I Googled the actual ingredients in this health tonic and was surprised to learn that Geritol is a multi-vitamin liquid supplement containing 12 percent alcohol!

In the 1930s, a popular health tonic for children was cod liver oil. I remember watching old movies where children would line up in the morning for their teaspoon of cod liver oil. Extracted from the livers of Atlantic cod, cod liver oil contains vitamins A and D and is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Cod liver oil was given to children to prevent rickets, a consequence of vitamin D deficiency.

In more modern times, V8 Juice was promoted as a healthy beverage for consumers. A good source of vitamins A and C and potassium, V8 Juice contains water, tomato concentrate and a blend of beets, celery, parsley, carrots, lettuce, watercress, and spinach.

This past winter, I discovered my own magical elixir using fresh ginger root. Ginger is slightly spicy and has lots of medicinal properties. Considered a superfood, fresh ginger can improve digestion, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and reduce nausea (for morning sickness or motion sickness).

Instead of drinking a cup of coffee or hot chocolate on a cold winter afternoon at home, I placed a peeled chunk of fresh ginger in my ceramic mug and steeped it in hot water to make ginger tea.  My afternoon cup of ginger tea warmed me up and allowed me the extra calories to eat a few cookies or pieces of chocolate during my afternoon break. I stayed healthy the entire winter, too!

But which health tonic can make me taller?

Kim Kovach credits her healthy outlook to avocados, dark chocolate, good genes and fresh ginger. kimkovachwrites.com.