I may not be imbibing the Guinness or Irish whiskey to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today, but I do have a fair substitute – and that’s a few shots of wheatgrass juice to honor the occasion and my Irish roots.

Wheatgrass juice tastes pretty gross. To this day, no matter how many shots I’ve done in my lifetime, I have never acquired a taste for it and every time I knock back a shot, I still go into mild convulsions.

Then pray tell, why the hell do I drink it, you might ask.

I drink it because it makes me feel like doing an Irish jig.

Seriously, on the days I drink my wheatgrass juice, I feel better and have a zing in my step!

Believers in wheatgrass juice claim it has super powers that other green vegetables do not. However, according to Wikipedia, ounce for ounce, wheatgrass is pretty close to other green vegetables in terms of vitamin and mineral content.

The truth is, not enough studies have been done to prove to the medical establishment that wheatgrass is any more special than other green vegetables. However, if all of us waited for the medical establishment to catch up before making food choices, we’d all still be eating at McDonald’s.

The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that lots of vegetables in your diet is a good thing. I think one of the keys to the power of wheatgrass juice, in addition to being super healthy, is that it’s very easy to juice, consume, and digest. Yes, in our quick fix culture, it’s a quick fix shot of something that is really good for you, and you can’t OD on it.

Be sure to get your double shot of wheatgrass juice daily. Guaranteed to make you do a jig!

Health Benefits of Wheatgrass Juice

Here’s why wheatgrass juice is so good for you:

  • Contains vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, l, and K
  • Contains protein with 17 amino acids
  • Contains over 90 minerals, including calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus
  • Serves as an anti-inflammatory
  • Contains beneficial enzymes that help protect against carcinogens
  • Serves as a powerful antioxidant and lessens the effects of radiation
  • Is 70% chlorophyll. The chlorophyll in wheatgrass increases the production of hemoglobin in the body – the chemical in red blood cells that carries oxygen. This helps improve blood sugar disorders like diabetes.
  • In addition, the chlorophyll in wheatgrass juice helps prevent tooth decay, improves wound healing, prevents bacterial infections, reverses aging, stabilizes appetite, and suppresses hunger.
  • Helps cleanse the body of heavy metals, pollutants, and other toxins
  • Helps restore the balance between acidity and alkalinity in the body. Restored pH balance gives you more energy.

Sources: Hippocrates Institute, WebMD, The Chalkboard

My Journey on the Wheatgrass Juice Bandwagon

Since I’ve drastically cut down my caffeine consumption (now drinking just enough to maintain a heartbeat…), I have sought out other, more body-friendly stimulants.

I first got into wheatgrass juice at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) in San Diego, CA (Lemon Grove to be exact.) My experiences at OHI are worthy of many other blog posts, which I have vowed to write at some point for you, my gentle readers, but for now, here is a short summary of what OHI is all about:

OHI is a place where people go to mentally, emotionally, and physically detox. It’s not a drug or alcohol rehab per se, though many people who go there are working on getting over those types of addictions. Others go to lose weight, quit smoking, kick coffee or sugar, or just get over a bad relationship. And still others are grappling with serious health challenges, such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

As my dear friend Bret, who first introduced me to OHI many years ago, said, “Kristen, everyone who goes to OHI is trying to make their life better. No matter what their situation is, they go because they want to live a healthier life.”

While it sounded a bit weird to me at the time, it was that statement by Bret that got me to go, and it was a gift. (Thank you, Bret!) Going to OHI changed my life for the better.

The OHI philosophy centers around raw, organic, vegan foods; education; prayer and meditation; self-acceptance; and, of course, lots of wheatgrass juice. If OHI were a church, wheatgrass juice would be the holy sacrament. You do a 2 oz. shot in the morning and then a 2 oz. shot in the afternoon. It’s always on an empty stomach, and you don’t drink it at night because of its energizing effects. You can also use wheatgrass juice for a host of other purposes, such as restoring your electrolytes after a colonic (yes, that means putting it up your butt) or making a poultice to put up your nose to clear your sinuses or to put on your skin to heal a sunburn or rash.

After I first went to OHI, I tried growing my own wheatgrass for a while, but found it to be a little more work than I had patience for, plus it would get moldy if I didn’t harvest it in time. I love plants and manage to take pretty good care of my plants, but somehow my cooking deficiencies come into play when it comes to growing wheatgrass. It’s really not that difficult to grow, and I encourage anyone who has an interest to try it. I think one of my problems was that I lived in an old Victorian flat that was a little moldy to begin with.

Aside from a shot here or there at a juice bar or farmer’s market, I got out of the habit of drinking wheatgrass juice regularly. What got me back into it is this process I’ve been going through of slowly detoxing my diet. When you’re trying to eat more healthily, lose weight, or detox, it’s easy to focus on the things you’re trying to eliminate: sugar, alcohol, processed foods, preservatives, meat, dairy, caffeine, simple carbs, etc. This hyper focus on these things can make it harder to ignore them! And simply eliminating those things is not enough. What’s equally important it making sure you’re giving your body a ton of nutrients to help overcome those addictions and feel as good and energized as possible as you’re going through the withdrawal. I made the mistake of focusing a little too much on the things I was trying to kick and not getting enough healthy foods and juices into my diet. I was feeling better, but still not great. Then I remembered the focus OHI puts on wheatgrass juice (along with other fresh juices and plant foods) so I decided to give it a try again.

Where to Get Wheatgrass

A fresh bag of cut wheatgrass from Grateful Greens. This bag yields about 10-12 oz. of juice. See more delivery sources at the end of this post.

If you don’t want to grow your own wheatgrass, the good news is, it’s easier than ever to get it – if not fresh cut, then in a powdered form. Luckily (it’s St. Patty’s Day after all!) – I found a number of places that deliver fresh wheatgrass, which I’ve listed below. Sometimes you’ll find a farmer at a local farmer’s market who sells it, and I was blown away recently to see that my local Safeway actually sells small containers of organic wheatgrass in the produce section. I bought a few cartons, which my kitties quickly demolished once I got them home. While it’s always preferable to get your wheatgrass as fresh as possible, if you’re traveling or live in an area where fresh wheatgrass is not available, a powdered version mixed in water, juice, or a smoothie is a good substitute. I have some I like below and in the sidebar.

Wheatgrass Juicers

Masticating juicers can juice wheatgrass as well as leafy greens, fruits, and other vegetables.

Juicing wheatgrass requires a special juicer called a “masticating” juicer, which turns or twists the grass to extract the juice vs. shredding or tearing it as a centrifugal juicer does.

I bought a Miracle wheatgrass juicer after my first visit to OHI. I’ve had mine for well over a decade, and it’s still cranking way. They no longer make the model I have, but I found a number of other top rated wheatgrass juicers (both manual and electric) on Amazon.

Right now, I’m drinking about 10 oz. of wheatgrass juice per week, which is far below the ~28 oz. they drink weekly at OHI, but that’s mainly due to my own laziness. But I will say, I’m starting to feel so many benefits from it that I’ll be upping my intake, and I now have the spring in my step to do it!

Places that Deliver or Ship Fresh Wheatgrass

I’ll be adding to this list as I do more reseach!

Eastern US

Eastern PA, NY, CT, NJ, DE, MD, and DC

The Wheatgrass Grower (ships)

Florida:

Green Garden Organics (ships)

Midwest

Chicago’s Indoor Garden (ships)

Western US

Albuquerque, NM:

The Wheatgrass People

National

Local Harvest has a directory of over 30,000 small and family owned farms as well as farmers markets that feature local food, and some of which deliver or ship fresh wheatgrass.

More coming soon!

You didn’t think I was going to let you get away without a little Riverdance, did ya??

Top Rated Masticating Juicers on Amazon

Top Rated Organic Powdered Wheatgrass (and Other Greens)


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