Juice Master Jason Vale sings the praises of nature’s most health-enhancing elixir.
One of the most popular new super drinks of the 21st century is wheatgrass. I say ‘new’, but what I mean of course is new to most. Wheatgrass shots have in fact been around for centuries. The famous Swiss doctor Bircher-Benner was using powerful green juices as far back as the 1800’s and it is reported that as far back as the 16th century green juices were used to help treat all kinds of disease. And of all the green juices on earth, none is more nutritionally powerful than wheatgrass. In fact, it has been said that just one little shot of wheatgrass has the same nutritional value as 1kg of other leafy green vegetables. Whether that stat is actually true or not (after all how can one ever really know?) one thing is for sure: a tiny amount of this super green liquid can have a tremendous impact on every aspect of your health.
Dr Ann Wigmore was perhaps the most famous pioneer of wheatgrass juice. Her amazing work in nourishing terminally ill patients back to health with the king of green juices at her Hippocrates Health Institute is well documented. Just a single 1 ounce shot of wheatgrass contains 20 amino acids (the building blocks for protein). It has all the B group vitamins including B12 and even the often elusive vitamin B17 – a vitamin which has been reported to help prevent and fight cancer. Wheatgrass also contains vitamins C, E, K, folic acid and beta carotene as well as being packed with a multitude of vital minerals including calcium, zinc, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulphur. On top of all this, wheatgrass juice is one of the richest sources of chlorophyll on earth.
Chlorophyll has been described by many as ‘concentrated sunshine’ or ‘liquid sunshine’ and this is about as accurate a description as you can get. Chlorophyll is literally just that – the natural sunlight energy trapped within the fibres of the plant. When you separate the juice from the fibres you effectively release that liquid sunlight energy: liquid energy which improves the functioning of the heart, the vascular system, the intestines, the uterus and the lungs. The same liquid energy which can help assist the body to clean the blood and liver, strengthen the immune system and reduce high blood pressure.
Chlorophyll has strong antioxidant properties and it can act as a natural defense against free radicals, which are a damaging by-product of metabolism. Free radicals encourage an acidic cell environment and contribute to all diseases and the aging process. The chlorophyll molecule itself is structurally very similar to the iron-carrying component of haemoglobin.
Enzyme rich and gluten free
You are never truly rich unless you are enzyme rich. Enzymes are life and wheatgrass juice is highly active chemically and contains over 80 enzymes. These are used for digestion, but also to detoxify harmful substances, and are involved in the many chemical changes in the body necessary for the maintenance of good health.
Because it is called ‘wheat’ grass many people believe that it must contain gluten, a compound found in certain grains. Many people have difficulty with it on the digestion front, which is why we have seen an explosion in ‘gluten free’ foods over the past few years. Wheatgrass juice is from the sprouted grain and therefore, as well as all the other nutritional advantages of this super drink, it is also completely gluten free.
But it’s grass – that just can’t be natural!
Clearly it is completely unnatural for humans to eat grass – the strong cellulose makes it too woody and fibrous for our intestinal tract to deal with efficiently. However, one of our most instinctive acts as children is to pick blades of grass and suck on them – a practice which I have since found out is incredibly good for ulcers, teeth and gums. The grass in a field is very different to that sprouted in organic soil in a tray and although it could be argued that normal grass is for cows, it can easily be argued that wheatgrass juice is just as natural for humans.
The taste of a new generation
Last year I opened a Juice Master Juice ‘n’ Smoothie bar in Leeds University. I realised of course that a shot of wheatgrass would be about as appealing to the students as a night out in Baghdad so something was needed to make it attractive. Then I thought teenager and thought the best way to attract them would be to have the word GRASS quite large!
So we had the strap line:
GRASS Cow’s Eat It – Dopes Smoke It – But Only The Enlightened Slam It!
The concept is the same as a tequila slammer, but with wheatgrass. Students have a little rock salt on their wrist, slam the wheatgrass slammer and eat a slice of orange straight after. Who would have thought you could ever make wheatgrass trendy? We also help to promote with the strap line of…
Say ‘high’ to nature!
One of the unexpected benefits of a little shot of wheatgrass is the almost instant ‘wheatgrass high’ that is experienced by many people just after they take the shot. It has been described as a similar hit to caffeine, but without any of the negative side effects. Even if you don’t experience the immediate natural high, you can be sure that a little dose of this liquid sunshine will be the finest health insurance you will ever invest in. The saying that health is the most important thing in the world is so overused it has become a clich, but few do anything to protect their health until it is too late. Wheatgrass juice isn’t just a ‘fad’. There is something truly wonderful about this wonder drink whose benefits are being felt by more and more on a daily basis as people start to take the prevention of disease as seriously as the treatment.
Join the wheatgrass revolution and try a fresh shot today at your nearest juice bar, make your own at home or add a good quality wheatgrass powder to your juice or smoothie.
This article was written by Juice Master's Jason Vale and published in the Winter 2007 issue of Get Fresh!