By Hans Wieland
Wheatgrass juice is fast becoming the most popular “new” health drink. We have been using wheatgrass at home for the past 10 years and were amazed, when we visited Australia a few years back, that ‘down under’ people consume wheatgrass shots like the Italians drink espressos or Irish people have their cuppa tea. Over the last 2 to 3 years, wheatgrass has become more readily available, with Irish companies producing for farmers markets and supplying Health food stores and coffee shops.
Ann Wigmore, founder of the Hippocrates Health Institute, first applied Wheatgrass to human health over 50 years ago, for “Fresh wheatgrass juice is an ideal food for anyone who wishes to prevent illness and improve his or her health,” as she pointed out in “The Wheatgrass Book”.
The Health Benefits of Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass is highly alkaline and gluten free and the fresh juice of young wheat plants is a storehouse of natural vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, enzymes and life energy. You can grow your own wheatgrass or buy dried wheatgrass or wheatgrass juice in powder and tablet form and, as I just discovered at the Rude Health Show, in the form of readymade liquid shots.
Wheatgrass can help you restore a high energy level in two ways: “First, by fulfilling nutritional deficiencies, and second, by removing wastes that clog your cells, blood, tissues and organs.” (Ann Wigmore).
Wheatgrass contains up to 70% chlorophyll, the “blood” of plants, which is related to human blood. Studies have shown that chlorophyll can increase our red blood cell count, which means better circulation and oxygenation to the cells, and rapid body cleansing.
What is in an ounce ‘shot’ of Wheatgrass?
· 103 vitamins, minerals and amino acids, including the anti aging Lysine and the brain stimulating Serine.
· High amounts of Vitamin A, C, E, K and B-complex.
· High amounts of chlorophyll: The greener the plant, the greater the amount of chlorophyll.
· As much nutritional value as in approximately a kilo of fresh green vegetables.
· Digestive enzymes in high concentration and the antioxidant enzyme SOD which protects healthy cells from destructive “free radicals”.
· In addition, it has exceptional anti-inflammatory properties and helps with arthritis and inflammatory conditions in general with no side effects or toxicity.
The 7 steps of how to grow your own Wheatgrass
1. Soak wheat grain overnight in purified water, then rinse and drain.
2. Sprout the grain for 1-2 days (rinsing and draining twice a day) until the tails on the sprouts are about a quarter inch long.
3. Spread 5-6 cups of seed compost in an 11 by 17 inch plastic tray and distribute the sprouted wheat grain evenly over the soil. Moisten the seeds and the compost evenly (do not over water!).
4. Place another tray inverted on top of the first tray and set aside for 2-3 days. When the grass has pushed up the covering tray, remove it.
5. Put the grass in indirect sunlight and water daily.
6. Your grass will mature in 8-10 days, when it has grown to about 6 inches and the blades begin to split near the bottom. To harvest, cut the grass close to the roots with a scissors.
7. Ideally, juice soon after harvesting. The cut wheatgrass can also be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge for a few days.
Top Tip: Good air circulation will prevent 90% of mould problems. You can use a small fan to provide additional ventilation.
You do need a Juicer!
The basic equipment to produce your own wheatgrass shots is a sprouting jar, a supply of hard plastic trays available from garden centres, seed compost as planting medium and a juicer which separates the juice from the pulp.
You can buy a hand operated juicer or an electrical juicer.
You get 7 to 8 ounces of wheatgrass juice (depending on the length of the grass and its moisture content) from one tray.
Fresh juice – one to two ounces at any one time.
Powder from dehydrated juice – one rounded teaspoon in a half glass of water.
Powder from whole wheatgrass – one heaped tablespoon in water.