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Wheatgrass Diet

Not just for cows anymore

by Michael Braunstein


wheat grass juice

Ann Wigmore -
the "Say..., hay!" Kid

Wheatgrass is the green, growing and processing plant that will eventually become a shaft of wheat, produce grain, die, and be harvested. It is a completely different animal when it is still in the grass stage. At only seven days, the wheatgrass is 6 to 9 inches tall and can be cut and juiced. The deep green juice is abundant with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, chlorophyll and vital life energy. It is intensely concentrated and benefits are seen with as little as one ounce a day.

Using grass poultices to heal wounds has been common in folk medicine for recorded centuries. And there is much anecdotal evidence. But many applications of "old wives' tales" have had little support from modern science. (No problem. We're all grown ups here.) That's not the case with wheatgrass. Its healthy properties have been the subject of much research.

In the 1950s, a lady named Ann Wigmore began to look at the healing properties of grasses. She remembered her mother using grasses to heal wounded soldiers in World War I. Wigmore contacted Dr. G.H. Earp-Thomas, an expert in grasses, plants and chlorophyll. Research and lab analysis showed wheatgrass to be the most vital and possessing a number of elements beneficial to human health. Wigmore founded the Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston to further the work. Research by Dr. C. Schnabel found that wheatgrass was a valuable source of important nutrients. Schnabel wrote that 15 pounds of wheatgrass had more nutritional value than 350 pounds of fresh, whole vegetables.

Wigmore found her own experience was typical. Drinking fresh wheatgrass juice alleviated chronic gastro-intestinal problems for her and as a bonus, left her more energetic than ever. Proponents surmise that the mucopolysaccharides in wheatgrass help break up impacted intestinal debris and improve food absorption.

The main component in wheatgrass is chlorophyll. That alone would be enough to bring benefit. Presented in its holistic state, with appropriate enzymes and minerals, it is a powerful nutrient. Researcher Dr. Hans Fischer and his associates won the Nobel prize for their work investigating the properties of red blood cells. One of the key points of the research found that chlorophyll and hemoglobin, the oxygen-binding substance in red blood cells, (RBC) were nearly identical molecules.

Other researchers found that injections of chlorophyll caused an increase in hemoglobin levels and regeneration over 50% higher. When erythropoiesis, (the forming of red blood cells) is higher, oxygenation is higher and the system in general benefits in many ways.

Supporters of wheatgrass believe this research confirms what they already knew: drinking wheatgrass juice is good for you. In addition to the research that shows the increase in RBC, the high levels of enzymes in wheatgrass juice make it a powerful blood purifier. It clears and regenerates the liver, fights anemia and detoxifies the body. It stimulates body function and increases energy.

Because of its concentrated life force, most users suggest that one start with as little as an ounce and slowly increase from there. In addition to being available at juice bars and whole food restaurants, it is also available in tablet or powdered form. Wigmore, for one, suggests the whole food approach of grow it and "mow" it fresh. One shot (glass) and you'll know it.

Wigmore has published at least 2 books on the subject, The Wheatgrass Book, describing how to grow and juice it and The Hippocrates Diet and Health Plan. In addition, the Ann Wigmore Foundation in Boston shares information about wheatgrass use.

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Come to think of it, it would be nice if our cows did get to eat grass. One of the fondest memories of my first trip to the English countryside was my initial morning walk in Glastonbury. I stopped at a small shop and purchased a glass bottle of whole, raw, ( Un-pasteurized! gasp!, ) room temperature, milk. It had no need of refrigeration: it was only a couple of hours removed from the cow. It had no need of pasteurization: the cow that gave it was healthy and well-cared for. It had no need for homogenization: you shook the bottle to blend in the heavy cream at the top. But the biggest surprise to me was the delicious, sweet flavor that met my mouth when I popped off the little paper top and brought the bottle to my lips. Nectar. Ambrosia. As sweet as honey. The cow that had given this milk had fed on the sweet grass of the Devon County hillsides and what goes in very definitely effects what goes out! Most of the cows we slaughter here in the States, or use for milk, eat things that are horribly adulterated substitutes for natural foods. Grass would be far healthier for them. And, as it turns out, grass is one of the healthiest things we can eat.

wheat grass juiceThere are Biblical references that suggest that all we need eat is grass, the bounty of the Earth. Advocates of the Wheatgrass Diet don't go quite that far, but the benefits of wheatgrass are profound. And before you decide that grass for health is a far-fetched, California-nuts-and-berries hippie notion, better consider this: it's as based on Nobel-prize-winning laboratory work as on anything else. More on the lab work later.

What is generally known as the Wheatgrass Diet is not really the structure of a dietary regimen like the Pritikin Diet or the Ornish Diet. Rather, it is the use or addition of wheatgrass juice as a dietary supplement.

One of our most common grains, (though 1.8 billion Chinese nationals prefer rice,) is wheat. Wheat is nutritious, wholesome and packed with vitamins and enzymes. The only problem is, by the time it makes it to the consumer, it too has been adulterated and is generally missing the real thing that we need in our diet: vital life energy.

I remember what I learned from my friend Chris Blobaum, head chef at the toney Beverly Hills eatery, La Poubelle. I had done him a favor once and as a thank you, he wished to cook dinner for my lady friend and me at my home. I asked him if I could at least help him shop, so we went to the store together. We divvied up the shopping list and I returned to the cart location with my items, one of which was a cello bag of carrots. He was aghast.

"Sorry, Michael," he said, "but those things are virtually useless. They've been dead for who knows how long. We call them 'horse carrots' and using them for horses may be cruel."

Chris explained that no proper chef would use them. They have little taste. They have little nutrition. And they are devoid of life force. He said that is what makes a truly epicurean adventure: the life force and the intention in the cooking. He sent me back for real carrots, as he called them. Real carrots have tops on them, and though they are no longer in the ground, they are still alive. They are still processing oxygen with chlorophyll. They have their leaves on still and can do that. They have life force. He's right you know.

Be well.

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Michael Braunstein is Executive Director of Heartland Healing and certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners in clinical hypnotherapy. He graduated from the Los Angeles Hypnotism Training Institute and was an instructor at the UCLA Extension University for 11 years.

Heartland Healing is devoted to the examination of various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information and not as medical advice. It is not meant as an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or by Heartland Healing Center, Inc.

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