Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Wheatgrass: Snake Oil Or Philosopher’s Stone?

By Jamie Koonce @charcuterielove

Wheatgrass: Snake Oil or Philosopher’s Stone?

Over the past several years, I’ve had numerous conversations with many different people on the topic of wheatgrass.  In fact, wheatgrass juice has become so ubiquitous in my life that sometimes I forget that there are still those who have never even heard of it — and many more who have never tried it simply because “grass” is just about the last thing on anyone’s list of favorite foods.

Wheatgrass juice became popular as a cure-all back in the 1960′s, and those who promoted it typically attributed its healing properties to an abundance of chlorophyll.  Others falsely stated that wheatgrass is a rich source of B vitamins, including B12.  Claims that wheatgrass juice helped many people heal from cancer and other illnesses haven’t been taken seriously by conventional medicine because chlorophyll can be found in a variety of other plants and because the claims about certain vitamins in wheatgrass are erroneous.

However, there is some recent solid scientific research that strongly suggests that wheatgrass does indeed have some powerful healing properties.  One study at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center found that regular usage of wheatgrass significantly reduced signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis in study participants.  Another study found that children with thalassemia (a hereditary type of anemia) showed a reduced need for blood transfusions when they drank 100 ml of wheatgrass juice daily.  Breast cancer patients who drank wheatgrass juice showed a decreased need for medications.  In vitro studies have found that wheatgrass kills leukemia cells.

In my conversations with people about wheatgrass, I have found that those who have tried it either love it or hate it.  Nobody is ever on the fence about what they think of wheatgrass!  And honestly, most people say they hate it; the mere smell of the stuff sends chills down their spine and makes them feel like they’re gonna puke!  In my experience with wheatgrass, I’ve definitely gotten nauseated after drinking it a time or two — especially when it’s wheatgrass from Jamba Juice or the Whole Foods juice bar.  I couldn’t help but wonder: “Why is it that sometimes wheatgrass can feel so energizing and taste so smooth and sweet, while other times it tastes bitter and nauseating?”

It turns out that wheatgrass that is grown indoors on trays is highly susceptible to being contaminated with mold.  If you’ve ever tried wheatgrass juice and then felt sick after drinking it, chances are that you got a hefty dose of mold in your grass.  Pretty gross.  The good news is that you don’t have to start growing your own outdoor wheatgrass in order to get the benefits of wheatgrass without the toxic mold.  PaleoGreens has wheatgrass (as well as a bunch of other great stuff) in it, and each batch is tested for mold contamination (as well as gluten contamination from the incidental grain of wheat).  Another great thing about PaleoGreens is that it comes in three great-tasting flavors (lemon-lime, mint, and original) that you can add to a 16 oz. glass bottle of water for a quick and refreshing juice with only 35 calories.

I’ve gotta have my PaleoGreens every day.  It’s the first food that goes into my body when I wake up in the mornings and probably the reason why I never “need” coffee or caffeine to up and at ‘em like the energizer bunny!  (Yes, the one side effect of drinking PaleoGreens as soon as you wake up every day is that it might make you a slight nuisance to friends and co-workers who don’t “do” mornings.  Whatever you do, don’t hide their donuts.)

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