Friday, April 5, 2013

Consumption of Wheatgrass 101

I am sure you have heard of wheatgrass, but have you tried it? If you read our last article about the health benefits of wheatgrass, you may be looking for answers to questions such as, where can I get wheatgrass, and how should I take wheatgrass? In what form?  Read on for answers!

Where can I get me some wheatgrass?

Let’s go over the main options available when choosing to imbibe in nature’s miracle grass:
Option 1 ‑ Buy freshly juiced wheatgrass
Find your nearest juice bar or health food store and ask for a shot or two of wheatgrass. If they offer it, you'll get an ounce of wheatgrass juice in a small cup, freshly juiced while you watch. While a fresh shot of wheatgrass is best, there are a few issues with this choice:
Shot of wheatgrass
  • This is only a good option if you live or work close to a store that offers it.
  • Be ready to fork out the cash, because an average one-ounce shot can cost $1.50 to $5.00, depending on where you live. This can add up quickly if your goal is to take it on a regular basis.
  • Be sure to ask if they are using organically grown wheatgrass. This is very important, because wheatgrass absorbs its nutritional value from the soil as it grows. It can also absorb fertilization and pest control chemicals from non-organic farming techniques.
Option 2 ‑ Juice it yourself
If you can get a tray of fresh wheatgrass still in its soil, you can juice it at home with a wheatgrass juicer. There are essentially two ways to get wheatgrass in its original grass form, rather than buying it juiced:
  • Grow your own wheatgrass. This is easily the cheapest way to get wheatgrass: buying it from seed and growing it yourself. Books are written on the subject, which tells you something: a lot goes into being a successful wheatgrass gardener. Growing enough to keep you supplied takes very little time, once you know what you're doing, but you do want to consider all that is involved. Consequently, this option is definitely not for everyone.
  • Buy wheatgrass from a store. Buying grown wheatgrass from a store is convenient, and is much cheaper than buying it juiced by the shot, but can still get expensive. The stores that sell squares (about 4" x 4") or palettes (about the size of a cafeteria tray) of wheatgrass vary from five dollars to as much as 15 dollars. I have found that a store will sometimes offer a price break if you buy more of it, or buy it regularly, so don’t forget to ask.
Sprouting wheatgrass
Growing your own wheatgrass is more cost-effective
Option 3 ‑ Buy powdered wheatgrass or wheatgrass tablets
Powdered wheatgrass or tableted wheatgrass is a convenient option for a busy lifestyle. Things to remember when buying powdered wheatgrass or tableted wheatgrass:
  • It’s worth getting if you are somewhere that you can’t get fresh, or are traveling. Freshly juiced wheatgrass is always your best option, but powdered is good to have in a pinch, and does offer the vitamin benefit even if it won't have the phytonutrient content of fresh wheatgrass.
  • Make certain the powdered wheatgrass or tablet wheatgrass was grown organically and in nutrient-rich soil, as opposed to just water (hydroponically grown wheatgrass). A nutrient-rich wheatgrass is dependent on nutrient-rich soil.
  • With the powdered wheatgrass or wheatgrass tablets, it is not only important to consider how it was grown, but also how it is processed. Low temperature drying or freeze dried are the only options that ensure you get the nutrient density a health conscious individual would want. Make sure it is not just chopped grass; unless you have four stomachs, you won’t be able to get the nutrients from it.
You can find lots of varieties and brands of powdered wheatgrass or wheatgrass tablets at a health food store or online.
Powdered wheatgrass
You can mix organic powdered freeze-dried wheatgrass into your favorite smoothie

What should I know about taking wheatgrass?

There are a few other things you should know in order to get the most bang for your buck, health-wise, when adding wheatgrass to your diet:
  • Wheatgrass juice has a very short shelf life; always drink wheatgrass juice as soon as possible after it's juiced, preferably within a few hours.
  • How much wheatgrass you should take, or can take, varies from person to person. There is a reason it is often served in shot-sized portions - wheatgrass juice is potent stuff! Start slow and discover your own tolerance. The healthier you are, the more you should be able to tolerate.
  • Taking it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is ideal. This is especially true if you are drinking your wheatgrass freshly juiced. It is best for absorption and ideal if you are using it for detoxifying.
  • If you want to mix your wheatgrass juice into a smoothie, do it in small amounts. Wheatgrass has a strong flavor, and can affect the taste of the whole smoothie.
  • Chewing wheatgrass is not the best route to go. As humans, our bodies are unable to digest the fiber in the grass. If you do choose to chew the grass, it is highly recommended that, after you've extracted all the juice possible, you dispose of the leftover fiber by spitting it out rather than swallowing.
Wheatgrass and gluten allergies?
Good news: because wheatgrass is harvested before it becomes a grain, wheat allergies and gluten allergies are not an issue when taking wheatgrass juice. Allergies to wheatgrass are rare, but if you suspect you are having a reaction of any kind, you should cease from taking any more until you see your doctor.

You should now have enough information to start your own wheatgrass adventure. Enjoy the journey, and post your questions if you'd like to know more.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

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